on Haggai

chapter 1
Great ambitions, expectations –
disappointments, and frustrations:
how we use our time and money
shows what matters to us, plainly;
tears and words don’t mean repentance
unless welded to obedience.

Luxuries and games and leisure
can become our life and treasure,
clogging up our days and stifling
worship, and God’s will neglecting;
weigh our souls down, cloud our vision,
God’s Words heard without perception.

Spending much but with no gain
of real value, to sustain,
and enrich, invigorate:
true discipleship can’t wait –
‘not yet’ whispers good intention –
truth demands our prompt attention;
blessing flows from faithful action.

chapter 2 vv.1–9
Strong in the work commanded,
almighty God is with them,
just as he’d covenanted,
His Spirit’s power will aid them.
And this is what’s important
– though less this temple’s state,
he here will be triumphant,
his glory will be great.

He’ll shake the nations, –
their need, their aspirations
he here will meet,
the hope desired will come,

and peace will be accomplished
for those who had been banished.

vv.10–19
Chemical contamination
angers many in our nation,
but concern for heart pollution
gets much less consideration.

Ceremonial defilement
is contagious, and containment
difficult, but it is harder
to pass goodness to each other.

Remember the years that were lost,
how great in the end was the cost,
and the danger to them and to others,
God’s Word not displayed to their neighbours.

vv.20–23
As at the exodus he will
shake powers, the obstinate will fall.

A signet ring sets seal to show
the will of him who owns it, – so
it guarantees what he will do.

This task no man can all fulfil,
only the Christ, Messiah will:

now Zerubbabel’s line will bring
King David’s greater Son and King.

Perfect Sacrifice

Hebrews 10:1-18
His body broken in my stead,
obedient body’s blood was shed:
his righteousness and blood could pay
my debt – in death and sin I lay.

So thank the Father, for he spared
incarnate perfect Son – prepared
and punished, thus he could forgive,
– make dead and foolish sinners live.

And now my mind accepts his laws,
my heart rejoices and adores.
My lawless acts he’s put away
far from his mind and heart, to stay.

The Son sat down, he’s paid the price.
I’m perfect by his sacrifice.
He sanctifies me on the way
by pruning, teaching day by day.

on Zephaniah

chapter 1 vv.2,3
The Lord here declares
he must bring great destruction
over the face of this earth.

vv.4–13
Now, through Zephanaiah, gives warning to Judah:
soon they will suffer his day.
It won’t be a day of great blessing and pleasure, but
punishment, wailing, dismay:
idolatrous worship removed, –
complacency, compromise, shame,
swept away, and hypocrisy vain.
How many refused to believe it would come?

vv.14–18
The great day of the Lord is so near,
of bitterness, darkness, distress,
of trouble, and ruin, and fear,
for sin will bring fire through the earth,
and wealth cannot satisfy wrath .

chapter 2 vv.1–3
So what will you do, if you know he is coming?
Gather, consider, exhort, mercy praying.
The humble, obedient can ask for his care.
His anger must act, but they may still share
his shelter, protection and hope.

vv.4–15
His judgements will come to nations around,
(– their pride, and unkindness, and insults abound):
to the west, to the east, to the south, and the north
(no Assyrian attackers any more would break forth).
He’ll settle his people, the remnant of faith
where godlessness flourished and sneered,
and in all of the nations throughout all the earth,
he’ll be worshipped, he will be revered.

chapter 3 vv1–7
But now, Jerusalem –
with the righteous Lord within.
Officials, and prophets, and priests profane
the temple, and twist God’s law.
Her people see him punish
those lands, but won’t relinquish
their sins, they love corruption,
won’t fear, accept correction.

vv.8–20
God’s anger comes, consumes throughout the world,
and it is sure;
the Lord will form a holy people, pure.
Among the nations many will call out
to him, and serve.
God’s scattered people will be glad to come to worship.
The city purged of all the proud and vain,  –
the humble, trusting will remain.

And Zion will rejoice, have no more fear,
their punishment removed, no enemy now near;
their God, their Saviour will delight, rejoice,
and comfort,
gathering his people home:
the nations praise, amazed at what he’s done.

Riches . . . in Christ Jesus

(Ephesians 1:18-20; Mk14:3-11)
Glorious Redeemer, victorious Sustainer,
raising, receiving poor sinners forlorn:
guilty and hopeless, and wretchedly helpless,
– in Christ adopted, to honour reborn.

Great is our status and life in the Saviour,
great is his power for us who believe:
holiness, beauty, delighting in duty,
– servants of God his assignments receive.

Eager to help where such needs are around us –
greater by far is the darkness of mind,
– trying to teach them, attempting to reach them,
praying that God will awaken the blind.

Loving my Lord, overwhelmed I embrace him,
gladly my costliest treasure I pour,
joy inexpressible, nothing impossible:
multitudes saved; – hear his words and adore.
Tune: 11 10 11 10 Epiphany Hymn by Joseph F Thrupp

on Habakkuk

chapter 1:1–4
Habakkuk complaining,
praying, but no answering
intervention.
Why is God allowing
increase in wrongdoing, –
no prevention?

vv5–11
God almighty telling
what he will be doing:
wicked nation –
Babylonians – conquering,
guilty Judah losing
God’s protection.

vv.12–17
Greater perplexity:
God of eternity,
Holy Protector
of Israel, Redeemer:
how can he tolerate
those who eliminate
men less unrighteous
than they?
– with pride in their prowess,
and deaf to distress,
they worship their weapons, and strength,
exult.

chapter 2 v.1
A watchman –
waiting, watching, trusting, listening,
looking – expectant, no prejudging,
and willing for rebuke.

vv.2–4
God’s Word record,
and spread abroad.
Wait faithfully,
it’s certain;
– see,
his judgement’s near,
and is severe
on pride, and wickedness.

By faith we’re righteous,
have life full, precious,
so persevere, in faith.

vv.5–20
The day will come
when they’re undone
who boast and steal,
and make appeal
to idols;
– shame, disaster will
return for ill
they did. For no
escape from woe:
God’s justice day.

And the earth will be filled
with the knowledge of God,
the knowledge of God’s great glory,
as the waters cover the sea.
The Holy Lord
is on his throne.
Be quiet! for he alone
directs.

chapter 3
Reminders of God’s power,
reminders of his wrath,
reminders of his tender love
which never fails, keeps faith.
Reminders of his mercy,
and prayer for mercy, grace
in midst of wrath and judgement,
to shorten in that place
the trial of fierce chastisement.

With patience he will wait
the promised sure deliverance,
– in every straitened state,
rejoice in preservation,
in God, and his salvation;
with sure-footed confidence
to rise above each circumstance.