By Pastor Ay Nee Ng
Do we make the best of everything? Let us make a difference this year! Let us not just chase after jobs that pay well, money, positions, achievements, or things to give us pleasure but after the Giver of life and let us enjoy our lives by making our God’s mark in our very own world. How? Let us read Haggai 2:23: “‘I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,’ declares the Lord”. This is what the Lord declared to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel as reported by the prophet Haggai. What does this mean?
Years ago we took our children on a holiday with us to Hong Kong. At the Stanley Markets, we got our own family stamp/chop made. They would carve on a piece of wood whatever you wanted including some writing in Chinese characters and give you a stamp pad as well. So why have this stamp made? We made it because we want to have our family mark or so called family emblem to carry our stamp of approval on every piece of document, letter or art work. Somehow, it made that piece of document more important or special. It was not just a stamp, but our family stamp that revealed our family’s history through the family emblem engraved on it.
Now, back to Haggai 2:23, why does God want us to be His signet ring? My message today is on making His mark in our world. Are we making an impact in our families, neighbourhood, society, work and community? Whose signet ring are we? What does it mean to be a signet ring. Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers (Haggai 2v23) says: “Signet.—On the figure of the signet-ring applied to one on whom confidence and affection are bestowed, see Song of Solomon 8:6; Jeremiah 22:24”.
Benson Commentary reads:
In that day will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, &c. — Amidst the commotions which I will cause in the world, I will so order it, that Judea shall remain safe under thy government, O Zerubbabel, and thy successors, and be molested by none. A signet, or seal, particularly a royal one, is kept with great care; therefore the promise of making Zerubbabel as a signet, signified keeping him safe, or preserving him as a person of great estimation. For I have chosen thee — To be the ruler of my people. […]
In this short Old Testament book, the prophet Haggai calls for the people of God to continue the rebuilding of the temple. They had been exiled and had now returned to their homeland and begun rebuilding, but the enemy opposition to their project had stalled them. Haggai’s message includes God’s promise to Zerubbabel, Judah’s leader, that he had been chosen and set apart as their leader, like a signet ring.
How many of us can relate to this? When we want to start life afresh and anew, some new challenges appear and we kind off get detoured from our tracks or are halted in our tracks. I want to tell you that God has chosen each of us to bear His mark and traits. He has also called us to make His mark in our world: at home, in the workplace, and in the society. The same promise God gave to Zerubbabel to preserve him and the people of Judah amidst their enemies is the same promise to you and me. This year, as we head on to fulfil our theme: “Share His Word and make disciples”, let us leave His mark in the lives of those around us. Trust me, and trust more God who cares and want our lives to be fulfilled. Start gathering names of those you want to pray for and visit.
As Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary says, Haggai 2:23 also foretells the establishment and continuance of the kingdom of Christ; by union, with whom His people are sealed with the Holy Ghost, sealed with His image, thus distinguished from all others. It also foretells the changes to come when the kingdom of Christ shall overthrow and occupy the place of all the empires which opposed His cause. The promise has a special reference to Christ, who descended from Zerubbabel in a direct line and is the sole builder of the temple. Our Lord Jesus is the signet on God’s right hand, for all power is given to Him and derives from Him. By Him and in Him, all the promises of God are yes and amen. Whatever changes take place on earth, it will bring comfort, honour, and happiness to His servants.
Being Christ’s signet ring is so important because in ancient times, a signet ring was used as a means of identification. Instead of signing their name, people would press their ring into hot wax or soft clay to make their mark. As God’s children, we too leave His mark on the world as we spread the Gospel and share His grace through loving kindness and care to others to end oppression, envy, jealousy, and hatred.
Each of us is a unique stamp created in God’s image and with a particular mix of gifts, passions, and wisdom. This New Year, let us start afresh knowing that it is our call and privilege to bear His mark by being His signet ring. God has bestowed us His affection and confidence in this world. And just as Zerubbabel is likened to a signet ring, each Christian a signet ring marked by God’s authorized acceptance in Christ (Eph. 1:4–5, 11). We are identified as Christians (Acts 11:26; 1 Pet. 4:14–16) and authorized as envoys or carriers of the most important information in the entire world (Matt. 28:18–20).
Challenge for 2017
How can we be more effective disseminators of that truth this week and the coming weeks and months? Are we ready to make leave His mark in the world we live? Remember, if you don’t, something or someone else will make a mark in our world. Then, what more valuable New Year’s resolution than to act like God’s signet rings this year?
If you are not His signet ring and are making His mark by evangelising the lost, poor, sick, and needy, then I challenge you to do it this year. Leave the mark of a Christian; if we stay neutral, other things or people will impact our society and bring dramatic changes.
Church, there is an urgency to pray for our brothers and sisters around the world that our hearts burn with compassion for the lost souls and our hearts grow with passion to win the lost, poor sick and needy for our Lord Jesus Christ. Start praying for our nation as well as our neighbouring nations.
Let us bear His mark and be that signet ring with confidence in sharing Christ in our world.
Let us pray.
Lord, this New Year, let me grow in the understanding of who I am in Christ Jesus and let me be that signet ring with confidence, knowing that I am loved by You. Help me, in that same love You have for me, to leave Your mark in my world by sharing Christ differently to my neighbours, colleagues, friends and family. Help me understand their felt needs so I can reach out to them. Lord, I commit myself afresh to You for Your loving touch once again. Thank you for loving, caring for and guiding each of us to leave Your mark in this world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.