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Shaking

Toward the end, God is going to really shake things up. 
By PAUL ZILMER
Read Time: 2 minutes

The writer to the Hebrews, alluding to the prophet Haggai, has something to say to us—in this very time and place:

At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”
This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.
Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,
for our God is a consuming fire.  (Hebrews 12:26-29)

What does the writer have to say to us?  Well first of all, that Christians need to pay attention to the Old Testament prophets, because God was revealing Himself through them.  He doesn’t waste His words.  Jesus and the apostles leaned on and learned from those prophets, and if we don’t also, then we aren’t really respecting the example set by the Lord and those he designated to teach us.

We should expect shaking!  Shaking up of the powers that rule.

The specific point being communicated to us here is that toward the end, God is going to really shake things up.  It’s imagery of a devastating earthquake.  Going back to the Haggai passage itself, the prophet says,

“For thus says the LORD of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the LORD of hosts.”  (Haggai 2:6-7)

And later,

“I am about to shake the heavens and the earth, and to overthrow the throne of kingdoms. I am about to destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations.”  (verses 21-22)

From the context, we might be inclined to think he’s just talking about the time in which he lived.  Hebrews shows us that’s not the case—the final shaking hasn’t yet happened.  So what is here for us, in our time?  We should expect shaking!  Shaking up of the powers that rule.  Are we seeing shaking?  I don’t know if it’s the final shaking or not, but there’s certainly something.

And therefore…what?  Well we don’t want our hope to be vested in what is being shaken and removed!  We should be grateful, he says, for what we have:  something unshakeable, an eternal kingdom.  And offer worship to God.  Revere Him, be in awe of Him.

He is a consuming fire, with regard to the institutions of mortal, sinful humans—our hope must not be placed there, or we’ll be consumed as well.  Think of the writer standing right in front of us, his hands on our shoulders, looking directly into our eyes, saying, “You get this, right?  Make sure you don’t forget it!”

It’s vital we cling tenaciously to what cannot be shaken – the certain hope of what our God will establish. 

Nothing new here—these are lessons we’ve been taking from scripture for a long time.  But as we look around right here, right now, and see shaking and crumbling, maybe start to see collapsing, it might seem frightening.  Things we’ve known all our lives being shaken.  But those things, so foundational to this world and this life, aren’t our foundation.  It’s vital we discern, and then cling tenaciously to what cannot be shaken – the certain hope of what our God will establish.

We have a great and awesome God, who will accomplish what He has promised.  And what results from the shaking?  The treasures of all the nations are brought into God’s house.  We are the treasure.  It is for us that God does the shaking, to shake us loose from what is passing away, to add us to His treasury.

Love, trembling a bit but confident in the outcome,
Paul

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