Check if God is going to be honoured by what is done so that His honour is not neglected

Our destiny—an eternal kingdom. God’s family of families constitutes a kingdom; all persons in this kingdom have their honor located completely in Christ their King and boast in the glory of God. God is the source of every blessing, all honor and glory, every grace. – Werner Mischke

I loved reading the end of Zephaniah, I am sure Zephaniah loved sharing this promise with the people. It never happened in their lifetime but it must have encouraged many who were following God.

Then God said:

“Here’s what I want you to do:
    Climb into the hills and cut some timber.
Bring it down and rebuild the Temple.
    Do it just for me. Honor me. – Haggai 1:8 MSG

Then we move into Haggai and find this lethargic group, who when God speaks, find themselves too busy to do what He asks. He lays the blueprint down so they can choose to honour Him and they deny Him that honour.

This is me and so many others I know – are we not more careful about our own comfort than about the things of God? Am I not running after what will move me ahead in life, even the honours of this world, as opposed to reaching out to those who have yet engaged with God? It is a strong challenge for sure.

I’ve matched your tight-fisted stinginess by decreeing a season of drought, drying up fields and hills, withering gardens and orchards, stunting vegetables and fruit. Nothing—not man or woman, not animal or crop—is going to thrive. – Haggai 1:11 MSG

I love that God does not leave me where I am – He finds ways to get my attention. It is quite a simple formula, if you will – to enjoy the blessings of God, I do not neglect the God of all blessing and I obey His will.

When honour is abused there is a dishonour of God’s holiness

It has been awhile since I could find honour-shame issues in all of my readings. Some are the same and some are different.

“I’m your enemy, Whore Nineveh—
    I, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!
I’ll strip you of your seductive silk robes
    and expose you on the world stage.
I’ll let the nations get their fill of the ugly truth
    of who you really are and have been all along.
I’ll pelt you with dog dung
    and place you on a pedestal: ‘Slut on Exhibit.’
Everyone who sees you will gag and say,
    ‘Nineveh’s a pigsty:
What on earth did we ever see in her?
    Who would give her a second look? Ugh!’” – Nahum 3:5-7 MSG

What a turnaround – from a position of honour and interest to one of disgrace and abandonment – in fact, because they are made miserable, they are now looked upon with contempt and that makes them even more miserable.

He praises his rod and reel,
    piles his fishing gear on an altar and worships it!
It’s made his day,
    and he’s going to eat well tonight! – Habakkuk 1:16 MSG

This is me today and so many others – God calls our worship illegitimate. I am guilty of giving myself the perspective of power and that power, honour and strength is due to God alone.

“Who do you think you are—
    recklessly grabbing and looting,
Living it up, acting like king of the mountain,
    acting above it all, above trials and troubles?
You’ve engineered the ruin of your own house.
    In ruining others you’ve ruined yourself.
You’ve undermined your foundations,
    rotted out your own soul.
The bricks of your house will speak up and accuse you.
    The woodwork will step forward with evidence. – Habakkuk 2:9-11 MSG

When I decide to focus all of my determination to build my own house and I go so far as to do evil to obtain what I want, I end up shaming my own home – instead of honour and glory, only shame and ruin.

You thought you were having the time of your life.
    Wrong! It’s a time of disgrace.
All the time you were drinking,
    you were drinking from the cup of God’s wrath. – Habakkuk 2:16 MSG

Shame and glory are objective realities that can be gained and taken away.

The Chaldean did not see themselves having the honour of being God’s cup of judgment. Rather they thought they were seeking their own honour and wealth – totally being selfish. The shame they brought on others will now be given to them. There are consequences.

 I’ll search through every closet and alley in Jerusalem.
I’ll find and punish those who are sitting it out, fat and lazy,
    amusing themselves and taking it easy,
Who think, ‘God doesn’t do anything, good or bad.
    He isn’t involved, so neither are we.’ – Zephaniah 1:12 MSG

This reminds me of the verse in Revelation where God warns those who are lukewarm that He will spit them out of His mouth. This is an attitude of dishonouring the holiness of God.

When God is no longer honoured there is dishonour

The shameful death that glorified God: The perfect life, substitutionary death, and resurrection of the offspring of Abraham, Jesus Christ, became the way for the blessing to go to “all his offspring”—all the Gentile people groups. This vindicates God’s honor because it shows that he can be trusted for all his promises. – Werner Mischke

Micah brings back the warning of what it is like to dishonour God – a decision that is made, it is not a sin of omission. When I make the decision to no longer honour God, my life begins to look very shady.

Do you think I’ll tolerate shady deals
    and shifty scheming?
I’m tired of the violent rich
    bullying their way with bluffs and lies. – Micah 6:11-12 MSG

Where has my integrity gone? Refusing to love and honour God robs me of my character.

Your way of life will be laughed at, a tasteless joke.
    Your lives will be derided as futile and fake. – Micah 6:16 MSG

I see the signs of sin in my life when I no longer walk in a room and draw honour from those who are in the room. Scorn, disgrace, contempt, dishonour and shame is the state of my life when I take steps to dishonour God.

Obadiah 1:10-21; Jonah; Micah 1-3

Sixty-six books in a year

Nineveh was always evil and so why did God pay special attention this time to what they were doing? Sometimes I think that I can get away with some things that I do that does not honour God. At some point, like with Nineveh, God takes exception to how I treat His honour and my sin literally ends up in God’s face.

“Up on your feet and on your way to the big city of Nineveh! Preach to them. They’re in a bad way and I can’t ignore it any longer.” – Jonah 1:2 MSG

I only understand this when I apply the Middle East culture of honour and shame. A culture where they try and protect their honour or even try to gain more honour for their family. A culture where I try and not lose honour or to be shamed for that would be a tragedy and I…

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Dishonour done and honour lost if God did not keep His Word

The honorable family of families—for the honor of God. God’s family, though begun as a single kinship group (ethnicity), would be extended to all ethnicities in order to prove the integrity of God’s original promise to Abraham that all the families of the earth would be blessed. This gives maximum honor and glory to God! – Werner Mischke

Joel chapter two starts and ends with action – I love reading how God steps in and everything changes.

At that, God went into action to get his land back.
    He took pity on his people. – Joel 2:18 MSG

He is like a jealous husband who has seen dishonour done to his wife whom he loves. He wants to show his devotion by his defending. He also wants to show his passion in protecting his own name and honour

I’ll make up for the years of the locust,
    the great locust devastation—
Locusts savage, locusts deadly,
    fierce locusts, locusts of doom,
That great locust invasion
    I sent your way. – Joel 2:25 MSG

This is a promise I have quoted to many who have slipped into depression because of how far they had strayed from God. It does matter when I have separated myself from God as I pursued other things of honour other than Him. While lost years are gone, the blessings, in a strange and wonderful way, God gives back to me.

You’ll eat your fill of good food.
    You’ll be full of praises to your God,
The God who has set you back on your heels in wonder.
    Never again will my people be despised. – Joel 2:26 MSG

The shame, dishonour and disgrace of being despised is gone. My reputation is restored.

Whoever calls, ‘Help, God!’
    gets help.
On Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
    there will be a great rescue—just as God said.
Included in the survivors
    are those that God calls. – Joel 2:32 MSG

My dad did this one day – basically said help and God showed up within the hour with tangible expressions of His presence. For God not to help would be a dishonour to His name and He would lose His honour. If I trust in God, He will save me as surely as He is God.

Shame comes with a cold heart, repentance makes it right again

The most-honored Son: From Abraham’s descendants was born Jesus Christ, the most honorable “son of David, the son of Abraham,” and Son of God—who is the King of kings and Lord of lords. – Werner Mischke

It is an interesting thing for me to note – if I do not like to be under authority, I might not care much about having a relationship with God.

But he never acknowledged my help,
    never admitted that I was the one pulling his wagon,
That I lifted him, like a baby, to my cheek,
    that I bent down to feed him. – Hosea 11:4 MSG

How is it that even when God draws near and I might even be sitting on the doorstep of His presence – He invites me in – and I decline. What a shame to have such a cold heart.

Now he wants to go back to Egypt or go over to Assyria—
    anything but return to me! – Hosea 11:5 MSG

It is so weird to read this because there are some that I deal with that reflect this very truth – I will not honour God, it will be the last thing I do to give Him glory that is due to His name. They turn their back on joy and reject love and guidance all because they do not want to honour Him.

Ephraim, obsessed with god-fantasies,
    chases ghosts and phantoms.
He tells lies nonstop,
    soul-destroying lies.
Both Ephraim and Judah made deals with Assyria
    and tried to get an inside track with Egypt. – Hosea 12:1 MSG

When I give honour to ghosts and phantoms I am dead. These cannot satisfy. I am left being miserable. It is why, when I am honoured in my service to God, I do not forget where I came from – I can glory in God’s grace alone.

What are you waiting for? Return to your God!
    Commit yourself in love, in justice!
Wait for your God,
    and don’t give up on him—ever! – Hosea 12:6 MSG

That is what honour looks like – be a Jacob, honour God, wait for Him.

Your real identity is formed through God-sent prophets,
    who led you out of Egypt and served as faithful pastors. – Hosea 12:13 MSG

My identity is not found in anyone else but those who were chosen instruments of great work who were designed to honour God.

But there’s also this, it’s not too late—
    God’s personal Message!—
“Come back to me and really mean it!
    Come fasting and weeping, sorry for your sins!” – Joel 2:12 MSG

 As Samuel Davies rightly said in his noble hymn “Great God of wonders”:

This is Thy grand prerogative,
And in this honour none shall share.
Who is a pardoning God like Thee,
Or who has grace so rich and free?

His mercy is right there – right at the mention of His name.

Between Sanctuary entrance and altar,
    let the priests, God’s servants, weep tears of repentance.
Let them intercede: “Have mercy, God, on your people!
    Don’t abandon your heritage to contempt.
Don’t let the pagans take over and rule them
    and sneer, ‘And so where is this God of theirs? – Joel 2:17 MSG

Why should I choose contempt – which is the same as scorn, disgrace, dishonour, shame, taunt or slur? Why would I chose to blame or scorn someone else? Repentance makes it all right again.

Honouring the author of the Bible and making Him a higher authority

The honor of co-benefaction with God: This Abrahamic kinship group whose origin is by faith in God would be so honorable that it would become a co-benefactor with God to bless all the families/kinship groups/nations of the earth. Werner Mischke

How do I lose this perspective, this missional perspective. Hosea is pretty strong on the power of pleasure that steals my passion for God.

My people are ruined
    because they don’t know what’s right or true.
Because you’ve turned your back on knowledge,
    I’ve turned my back on you priests.
Because you refuse to recognize the revelation of God,
    I’m no longer recognizing your children. – Hosea 4:6 MSG

Knowing the Bible is not good enough – some say that even Satan knows God’s Word. The difference is that as a follower of Jesus I am to be living the words of the Bible which leads me to honouring the Author of the Bible.

The more priests, the more sin.
    They traded in their glory for shame. – Hosea 4:7 MSG

When I am not living the words of the Bible than I am dishonouring God and if I had any honour before, I have lost it now. Honour comes with blessing, and that might include wealth and power. However, if I take that honour and dishonour God with it, sooner or later it will be turned into shame.

The result: You can’t tell the people from the priests,
    the priests from the people.
I’m on my way to make them both pay
    and take the consequences of the bad lives they’ve lived. – Hosea 4:9 MSG

I am reminded on just how important my role is as a teacher of the word of God. I cannot abuse the honour I have as I teach it and call people to live a holy life. If I do abuse it, it will be God who will make sure that I look like an ordinary person, I could not be told apart from any other ordinary person. In fact, whatever honour I had, God will take.

When the beer runs out,
    it’s sex, sex, and more sex.
Bold and sordid debauchery—
    how they love it! – Hosea 4:18 MSG

If I keep going down this road of choosing shame over honour, what a disgrace and what dishonour wait at my doorstep. Shame means dishonour and it lowers my social position. It is the opposite of glory and honour. The wise will have honour and the fool will display dishonour.

The whirlwind has them in its clutches.
    Their sex-worship leaves them finally impotent. – Hosea 4:19 MSG

In my worship I need to make the honouring of God my highest priority, more so than my personal entertainment. It is a reminder to approach worship with an attitude of contrition and a humble heart. That is one sacrifice I know God will never reject.

Dishonouring God to honour other gods

An honor-giving faith: “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” His strong faith greatly honored and glorified the One who made the promise. Werner Mischke

I believe we are now engaging with end-time prophecy in Daniel.

Meanwhile, the king of the north will do whatever he pleases. He’ll puff himself up and posture himself as greater than any god. He will even dare to brag and boast in defiance of the God of gods. And he’ll get by with it for a while—until this time of wrathful judgment is completed, for what is decreed must be done. – Daniel 11:36 MSG

I grew up in the era of Jimmy Jones. Little did I know that I attended the same Bible college he had attended. At what point did the people not realise that he had begun to dishonour God? It is the mark of one who has turned to rebel against God.

He’ll even stoop to despising the God of the holy ones, and in the place where God is worshiped he will put on exhibit, with a lavish show of silver and gold and jewels, a new god that no one has ever heard of. – Daniel 11:38 MSG

Once a back has been turned from God, look at the new loves in their lives. Giving is the antidote for craving materialistic goods and giving to the temple and to God definitely had stopped. The turn is a complete 180 degrees and not going in the right direction. Power is another result of turning from God. This happened because the antidote for power is serving God.

That’s when Michael, the great angel-prince, champion of your people, will step in. It will be a time of trouble, the worst trouble the world has ever seen. But your people will be saved from the trouble, every last one found written in the Book. Many who have been long dead and buried will wake up, some to eternal life, others to eternal shame. – Daniel 12:1-2 MSG

I cannot say that I remember reading this before, but here it is. What a great encouragement to read this in the messiness of life. I will wake up to either honour or shame – honour if I follow God and shame when I reject Him. It ends up being pretty simple.

Consistent with the honour of God so do not think yourself above your business

The progenitor honored by God: Abraham was a pagan man honored by God in being chosen to become the progenitor, the father, of an immense family of offspring that would be multiplied “as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore.” – Werner Mischke

Daniel is a prophet and does what prophets do – tell of the coming judgement for walking away from God.

As their kingdoms cool down
    and rebellions heat up,
A king will show up,
    hard-faced, a master trickster. – Daniel 8:23 MSG

As with Jonah and Nineveh, there is a moment in time when God’s honour is at stake with the amount of sin that comes before His face. At that time, punishment must come unless there is repentance. God cannot, in honour, bear with them any longer.

While I was pouring out my heart, baring my sins and the sins of my people Israel, praying my life out before my God, interceding for the holy mountain of my God—while I was absorbed in this praying, the humanlike Gabriel, the one I had seen in an earlier vision, approached me, flying in like a bird about the time of evening worship. – Daniel 9:20-21 MSG

But Daniel is also a man of prayer and I stole this one insight because I like it and I practice it every day. When I preach on prayer I use Daniel as my example, not because it is legal, but rather Daniel sees prayer as having an appointment with God. Daniel was a blessed man and received incredible favour from God. Even with all this honour Daniel did not think of himself above the business God had called him to do. That is what prayer does – prayer reminds me that I am a servant of God, called to do what He has asked me to do.

Daniel 4:28-7:12 

Sixty-six books in a year

When God steps in my life, I know what He wants to do. Do I try and deny, definitely, but deep down I know the truth. When people say they do not know why God does what He does, something goes against who God is with that statement. I think God tells people what He is going to do because He wants the honour that comes with the actions. Nebuchadnezzar was no different.

God met with King Nebuchadnezzar and called him on his pride – 7 years is what God knew it would take for him to repent and praise and honour God at the end. I have never been given a timetable, but God has always given me a reason for what I am going through. When people ask me if I would live my life the same way again, my answer is always – yes. It was that…

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