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5/10/2020 讓神居首位 (Put God first)

Updated: May 10, 2020

by 鍾卓權牧師 (Rev. Bernie Chung)


哈該是猶大被擄回歸之後的先知, 他也是第一位回歸之後發表預言的先知,時期大約是在主前520 年,也就是中國春秋末期。哈該書 1:5-7 的三節經文,中間一節帶有諷刺性的意味,其前後兩節經文幾乎相同隻字不改,耶和華神重複了兩次說:「你們要省察自己的行為」,這兩節經文使聽者與讀者不易忽略,包括我們在內。我們該省察什麼行為呢?

神借著先知哈該向當時代表君王的猶大省長所羅巴伯和大祭司約書亞說話,神表達祂要重建聖殿的心意。並且以責備的口吻稱祂自己的百姓為「這」百姓,而不是稱他們為「我的」百姓。哈該書 1:2 節這樣說:「萬軍之耶和華如此說:『這百姓說,建造耶和華殿的時候尚未來到。』」。那時、第一批回歸的百姓已將聖殿的器皿帶回耶路撒冷有十八、九年之久,但仍未認真地動工建造聖殿。百姓的藉口是「建造耶和華殿的時候尚未來到」,但其真正原因是他們未將神居首位。(參看歌羅西書1:18)

第六節、也就是上述經文中間的那一節、很有意思,不難看出他們是要先解決自己生活上的需求,結果並未如願;不管他們如何殷勤工作,耶和華卻說出他們未能預料的話語:「你們撒的種多、收的卻少.你們吃、卻不得飽、喝、卻不得足、穿衣服、卻不得暖.得工錢的、將工錢裝在破漏的囊中」。他們徒勞無功的原因,其實早在北國還沒有滅亡之前,先知阿摩司已經說過:「人饑餓非因無餅,乾渴非因無水,乃因不聽耶和華的話」(阿摩司書8:11)。

在目前新冠狀病毒防疫期間,我們需要聽從政府所規定的居家抗疫指示,我們該如何安排生活優先次序呢?重要的是提升自身的免疫能力,生活起居要有規律,遵行保護自身和保護他人的必要措施,防止相互感染。感謝神、我們主日的敬拜並沒有停止,藉著科技及同工們的參與能繼續在網上一同敬拜,禱告會和團契也能藉著視頻在網上舉行,弟兄姊妹相互關懷,活出美好 的見證。

先知哈該書這一段經文勸勉猶大被擄回歸的百姓,要優先考慮他們與上帝的關係,從省察自己的行為開始,遵循上帝的優先次序。弟兄姊妹們,我們藉著先知哈該的警語學習省察自己的行為,慎思在何處我們遠離了神?是我們自我隱藏與神隔離嗎?在聆聽思考神的話語上能更進一步嗎?如何能與上帝的關係更加緊密呢?我們是否將神居首位呢?求主幫助和憐憫。阿們!


Translation:


Haggai was the prophet at the time after the Southern Kingdom of Judah's return from captivity. He was also the first prophet to make a prophecy during that time. Historically it was about 520 BC, the end of the Spring and Autumn Period in China. Among the three verses in Haggai 1:5-7, the middle one (verse 6) is ironic. The verses, one before and after it, are almost identical without changing the words. The Lord God repeated these words twice: "Give careful thoughts to your ways". These verses are hard for the listeners and readers of the Scripture including us to ignore. What kind of behavior do we need to observe?

God spoke through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah who represented the king; and also to the high priest Joshua. God expressed his intention to rebuild the temple, and He called his own people "these" people instead of "my" people in reproach. Haggai 1:2 records: “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘These people say, “The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.”’” At that time, the first group of people returning had brought the temple utensils back to Jerusalem for eighteen or nineteen years already, but they still did not seriously start the construction of the temple. The people came up with an excuse by saying: "The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house" (Haggai 1:2). The real reason was that they did not put God first.

Let's go back to Haggai 1:6, the interesting verse sandwiched in between. The people tried to satisfy their needs of livelihood over God's need and came up with unexpected results. No matter how hard they tried, their effort was in vain. “You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it”. The reason for their failure and futility was what the Prophet Amos had already said: “The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “when I will send a famine through the land— not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11).


During the current pandemic, we need to follow the government’s guidelines to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. What are the priorities? We should improve our immune system through diet and exercise, prevent cross-infections, and take precautions to protect ourselves and others. Thank God that our Sunday worships are uninterrupted by using online technology. Our prayer and fellowship meetings can continue likewise with video conferencing. Brothers and sisters can care for one another, share burdens, and tell wonderful testimonies. During this unusual time, we can still hear and share the words of God.

Prophet Haggai exhorted the people of Judah who returned from exile to give top priority to their relationship with God. They must "give careful thought to their ways.” Brothers and Sisters, we must also heed prophet Haggai's advice to examine our actions. Does our concern over our livelihood keep us away from God? Are we neglecting God's words and hiding from him as we shelter-in-place? How deeply are we listening and thinking about God's Words? How can we get closer to God? Do we put God first? Let’s ask the Lord for help and mercy. Amen!

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