Catalyst For Change

In the second year of Darius the king, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the Lord came by the prophet Haggai…” ~ Haggai 1:1

Change… “to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone.” ~ Dictionary.com

Catalyst… “a person or thing that precipitates an event or change.” ~ Dictionary.com

Personally, I just love the sound of that phrase… a catalyst for change. I mean, who among us wouldn’t like a change in some area of our lives? For some the desired changes are wholesale. Reset the entire game. Rewind the button back to the very beginning. Start all over. Try again. In some instances the change is more specific. A certain area of weakness. One particular issue. A single relationship or circumstance. But regardless of the exact nature or area of concern I think we are safe in saying that change is something we all desire. We long for it. We hope for it. We pray for it. And we patiently wait for it.

Longing… hoping… praying… and waiting. Israel had been doing those very things for decades. A generation before had witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem. The entire city had been laid waste by the enemies of God’s people. The walls torn down. The Temple destroyed. The people carried off into captivity. For years the city sat in ruins. Finally, a small remnant returned and began the work of rebuilding the Temple. They laid the foundation amidst joyous celebration and heartfelt worship. But an incredible beginning gave way to a prolonged season of apathy. The people got sidetracked. The initial vision was forfeited in the face of opposition. And the once powerful hope of restoration became just another long abandoned memory.

But then something sparked a change in their circumstances. A catalyst appeared and moved them from their apathy and lethargy. Their personal thirst for decadence was replaced by true devotion. The Temple that had been desolate for decades was now once again the focus of their efforts and energies. The people who on “Monday” were oblivious to their true spiritual condition were awaked on “Tuesday” to personal and national revival. Change had come to the people of God. True, genuine, destiny-embracing, future-altering, foundation-transforming, life-reconstructing C – H – A – N – G – E. The change they had been hoping for was realized. Their prayers had been answered. Their patience was rewarded. Change had transformed the landscape from despair and deprivation into one of individual renewal and national revival.

And the catalyst for all this glorious transformation???

It’s right there in the first verse. So obscure that we quickly pass over it. So familiar that we fail to truly notice it. So elementary that we don’t fully take it into account. Ready? Here it is…

“…the word of the Lord came…”

God’s Word was the necessary catalyst that produced the change the people of God so desperately needed. I know. Probably not the “revelation” you were hoping for when you first started reading this blog. But I’m not going to apologize. See, we have reached a crossroads in church history. In so many circles the Word of God has become marginalized and minimized in terms of its importance. What was once the very life’s blood of our worship services has become almost entirely peripheral. The Bible was once the focal point. Now, it barely merits a passing mention. Sadly, the state of affairs is even worse in terms of our own personal lives. For so many people the Bible lies neglected and forgotten. And we wonder why we see so little change in both our lives and this nation?

Now, just to be clear, I’m not trying to point the finger of blame. My real hope is to serve notice to each of us. If we truly want change, we need to embrace the catalyst. God’s Word needs to be a part of the equation, a necessary element for the desired reaction to occur.  Change will not happen apart from it. But if we will just fill our hearts and minds with His word we will not be able to contain the ensuing transformations. Surely, if one word from God was enough to change an entire nation, imagine the limitless possibilities in your own life. Do you want change? Really? Then turn to His Word. Return to His Word. And let it be the catalyst that God designed it to be.