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The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
The Old Testament prophets were primarily forth tellers rather than foretellers.
They communicated the message of God to the needs of the day.
“Listen to the Major messages of the Minor Prophets’ is the title of the series we will be working through for the next few weeks.
Today we are talking about Haggai, Rebuilding The Temple
Haggai 1:8 NKJV
8 Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the [a]temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,” says the Lord.
Haggai 1:1-11 NKJV
The Command to Build God’s House
1 In the second year of King Darius, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying,
2 “Thus speaks the Lord of hosts, saying: ‘This people says, “The time has not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built.” ’ ”
3 Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying,
4 “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?”
5 Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways!
6 “You have sown much, and bring in little;
You eat, but do not have enough;
You drink, but you are not filled with drink;
You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm;
And he who earns wages,
Earns wages to put into a bag with holes.”
7 Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways!
8 Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,” says the Lord.
9 “You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?” says the Lord of hosts. “Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house.
10 Therefore the heavens above you withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit.
11 For I called for a drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain and the new wine and the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.”
In Jesus name we pray.
Following World War 2, struggling congregations in Britain and Europe worshipped in bombed out church buildings.
Twenty five centuries earlier, the people of the restored community of Judah were living indoors, for they had rebuilt their own houses, but God was camping out in the ruins of the temple.
And the voice of a prophet rose and echoed over crumbling walls.
In 536 BC, seventy years after the first deportation to Babylon in 606 BC, about fifty thousand Jews returned to Judah led by Zerubbabel, who was of royal lineage, and Joshua the high priest.
This was primarily a religious pilgrimage, with the purpose of rebuilding the temple.
It had lain in ruins since it was destroyed in the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC.
The people repaired the alter and laid the foundation with great rejoicing.
But the harassment of the Samaritans, who also gave false reports to Persian authorities, and the preoccupation of the people with their own affairs soon brought the work to a halt.
From Ezra 4:24-52 and 6:14-15 we learn that Haggai was associated with another prophet, Zechariah, and that these two inspired the returned exiles to rebuild the Jerusalem temple.
This was completed in five years.
Haggai and Zechariah had a limited but very specific objective, simply to motivate the people to restore the temple.
They achieved their goal!
This book of only two chapters contains four messages from the prophet Haggai dated for the exact month and day in the year 520 BC, which was sixteen years after the end of exile.
There is also a brief historical section.
The book of Haggai gives us the people’s reaction to Haggai’s preaching.
It is a report in the third person not by Haggai but about him.
Whoever this inspired writer might have been, he was both exact and clear.
This prophecy is made up of five parts.
- The first sermon. (chapter 1:1-11.)
After giving the exact date of the event, Haggai made a threefold appeal.
He appealed to the mind.
Though the appeal was to Zerubbabel and Joshua, it was through them to the people , who said, “It is not the time.”
God’s answer came, “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your panelled houses, while the house of the Lord lies in waste?”
Their excuses didn’t add up.
He appealed to the heart.
“Consider your ways,” God challenged.
Despite much labour, there were scant harvests, little to eat and drink and wear, so God told them to consider why.
He appealed to the will.
God gave three clear imperatives, Go, Bring, and Build.
He explained the reason for this, God will take pleasure in it and be glorified by it.
There is a recapitulation of the whole argument.
Abundant sowing had resulted in meagre reaping, and when the grain was in the store, God “did blow upon it.”
The answer was they did not put first things first.
While God’s house lay in ruins, they built elegant houses for themselves.
Because they neglected to build God’s house, He withheld the dew and the rain, and this was for their sakes.
Drought brought disaster.
They must blame themselves.
2. The historical interlude. (Chapter 1:12-15).
Here the writer gave five results of Haggai’s first message.
The leaders and the people responded with obedience.
The people felt fear.
The prophet received encouragement.
The Lord gave His approval, verse 14 says, So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God,
The leaders and the people responded with work.
All of these responses were carefully dated.
3. The second sermon (chapter 2:1-9).
After the exact date of Haggai’s second message was given and those to whom it was addressed were named, the prophet did there things.
He recognised the difficulties.
Were there not some among them who had seen the temple of Solomon in all its glory?
Did they not see the house being erected “as nothing”?
He revealed their duty.
Governor, priest, and people were required to “be strong,” “to work,” and to “fear not.”
God gave them all the reassurance they needed, He said, “I am with you.”
He refuted their discouragement.
This unveiling of the future utterly refuted those who were discouraging the builders by their backward looking.
“I will disturb the heavens, and the earth, the sea, and the dry land, and I will disturb all nations.”
This was a declaration that God was going to break in upon the earth’s history in a supernatural way.
He was going to disturb the earth’s ways.
The supreme reason for, and result of, this disturbing of the universe would be the advent of the Desire of all nations.
Haggai 2:9 says, ‘The glory of this latter [a]temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the Lord of hosts.”
The latter glory would be as much greater than the former as the reality is greater than the type, and the fact than the symbol.
God was unveiling something of His plans for the future to these builders.
They were not to be discouraged.
God’s methods don’t change but do progress.
Consequently, it was wrong to be wanting after things that were past.
It was the utmost foolishness, for there were greater things ahead.
Those who walk with God never go backward, for He is ever moving on to glorious consummations.
4. The third sermon (chapter 2:10-19).
After the exact date and occasion were given in verse 10, Haggai challenged the people by an appeal to the law, he called them to consider its application, and announced God’s grace upon the nation.
He challenged the people by an appeal to the law.
Since the people were discontented because they had not become prosperous after several months of faithfulness to Jehovah, Haggai challenged them to ask two questions of the priests.
The first question was in verse 12, “If one carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and with the edge he touches bread or stew, wine or oil, or any food, will it become holy?” ’ ”
Then the priests answered and said, “No.”
This had to do with the ceremonial law and, in effect, the question was, “Can the holy make the unholy holy?”
It could not!
The second question was in verse 13, ““If one who is unclean because of a dead body touches any of these, will it be unclean?”
So the priests answered and said, “It shall be unclean.”
In other words, “Can the unholy make the holy unholy?”
The answer was yes!
Two principles emerge, holiness in people in not communicable, solution in people is communicable.
He called the nation to apply these principles to themselves.
The prophet said, “So is this people, and so is this nation before Me,’ says the Lord, ‘and so is every work of their hands; and what they offer there is unclean.”
The call is twofold.
In verses 5-17 the people were asked to consider the fifteen years they had neglected the building of God’s house.
The ground and its produce had been affected through their sin.
Solution had been communicated.
In verses 18-19 the people were asked to consider the three months during which they had been in harmony with God.
Adversity had continued for them.
It was a case of holiness uncommunicated.
He announced God’s grace upon the nation.
This sermon ends with Haggai 2:19, “From this day I will bless you.’ ”
These are words of undeniable grace.
All that we receive, we receive through God’s grace.
5. The fourth sermon (chapter 2:20-23).
As with the former sermons, the date and the event were given.
This fourth message is different, however, in that it is addressed to one individual, Zerubbabel.
Here God, through His prophet, revealed a program.
Two things were revealed about it.
The plan was in verse 21, “Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying:
‘I will shake heaven and earth.”
Everything that follows is included in this great initial utterance.
God was reaffirming the plan He spoke of in the second sermon.
He was going to disturb the universe.
The purpose was both destructive and constructive.
God would over throw “the thrones of kingdoms.”
This is referring to satan’s throne
God would “destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations.”
This second result comes from the first.
The destruction of “the chariots and those that ride in them” simply means that militarism would destroy militarism.
The constructive purpose concerns Zerubbabel.
“In that day, will I take thee, and will make thee as a signet, for I have chosen thee.”
Since He said, “In that day,” this could not mean while Zerubbabel was alive.
This reference is to the One who should come through the line of David, David’s great Son.
He who disturbed the heavens and the earth will yet again break into the earth’s history, for He who came, comes!
The moral of the prophecy of Haggai is this, “When in disrepair through disaster or neglect, a church building must be rebuilt, to save the whole life of the community from demoralisation and to point it toward its destiny.
Until next time
Stay in the Blessings
I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.
When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.
Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!
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