Tag: Haggai

A Call to Confidence for the Future

Haggai 2:20-23 

 Once again God spoke to and through Haggai on same day: December 18, 520, anniversary of day when foundation for Second Temple (also called Zerubbabel’s Temple) laid. Each of these words from God came with identification of recipient – person or group God intended to hear his word. First: Zerubbabel, Joshua (1:1); second: Zerubbabel, Joshua, remnant of the people (2:2); third: the priests (2:11); fourth: Zerubbabel (2:20).

Don’t hear too much about Zerubbabel, was more than simple bit player with 15 minutes of fame on world stage. Had been appointed by Cyrus, was governor of Judah and co-leader with Joshua the high priest… shared political and religious leadership. Was one whom God thought it important to address specifically with prophetic word (3 of 4 sermons), the man with sufficient rank and title to be in charge of Temple reconstruction. Apparently had sufficient leadership ability to be a good choice, yet… had become discouraged and lost focus. Apparently needed more than one dose of courage, being stirred up again to decisive action, something God graciously supplied through both Haggai and Zechariah.

Zerubbabel not just any leader, either. Was in a really hard spot – grandson of last king of Judah, direct descendant of David, in reality a royal prince. Circumstances required something else of him, and, God had something of profound significance in view. Zerubbabel would have descendant of far greater importance than even his ancestor David. Yes, was in the line coming from David, and he was in that line leading to Lord Jesus (Matt. 1:12; Luke 3:27). More on that in little while.

Is significant what God says he will do – without question the actions and achievements of God’s redemptive plan are essential to the plan. But… must guard against getting so caught up in the action we lose sight of who the Actor is. Any hope we have for the future cannot be limited to promised actions and events, no matter how iron-clad guarantee on promise is. If our focus is on events taking place, we will often be disheartened by what we see and what we don’t see – earthly powers acting while God delays. Our hope, our confidence must first be in God himself. Our hope is warranted because it is God, YHWH who rules. It is God who establishes his people. It is God who declares what He will do.

A. God rules  v.20-22

natural

God repeats what he declared earlier (2:6-7) and amps it up: “Once more… I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations”

when God shakes the universe, things happen – ultimately will be shaken and restored from results of the Fall and curse

the one who has power to do all that not inclined to leave natural world to its own devices in meantime – if rain falls on just/unjust according to his plan, calamities also under his sovereign rule

God’s good purpose in redemption extends to created natural order – looks like nature more out of control, reminds of what is wrong: everywhere we look with naked eye or assistance, see evidence of God’s creative genius and profound havoc sin caused

yet absolutely none of our universe (or any parallel universes) are beyond God’s wise governing… for his glory and ultimate good of his people

political

God committed to not only “shak[ing] all nations”, he will overthrow all earthly political systems that are contrary to his righteous rule… which on some level is all of them

national governments can implement all sorts of laws and policies designed to oppress and control and exploit, but God sets the boundaries, how far those practices can extend

rise and fall of governments throughout history used by God to advance his plan, to extend Christ’s kingdom – final overthrow when all Christ’s enemies are put under his feet, when all things are made subject to him (1 Cor. 15:26ff)

economic

remember… speaking to governor of Judah, not presently a nation, no currency, no military, no national leader, just a province subject to world power with impressive resources… by man’s measure

one important measure of nation’s strength: its economic clout – plenty of loud rhetoric going back and forth around world: US vs China, UK vs EU, economic sanctions against various rogue nations

then places like Venezuela where currency nearly worthless (prices double in 21 days); bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies of questionable speculative value

if prudent Christians shake their heads over money games, imagine what God thinks – especially since one day will be worthless

at time of God’s choosing, present measures of value and strength will lose all significance – only how things of economic value have been used to advance Kingdom that will endure

military

at that time, Persian empire was world superpower – controlled territory from Greece to India, Aral Sea to Arabian Sea, incl. Libya, Egypt, part of Ethiopia

whether their military or that of subsequent world powers, would be no match for the one God raises up to overthrow them

Assyrians noted for first military used for expansion, barbaric even by ISIS’ standard – gave way to Babylonians, then Medo-Persians, followed by Greeks and Romans… all under God’s direction

yet day will come when pattern will change, God brings about something similar to Gideon and Midianite army – turned on one another while were running away (Judg. 7)

on that Day, all military powers will be overthrown and rider on white horse, Lord Jesus himself will prevail over all

social

not just military action in view where most casualties from friendly fire – is upheaval of social order with everyone for himself

personal loyalty, family ties no longer sufficient to keep aggression and violence in check – will be move to total autonomy

in all this shaking, upheaval, overturning of powers and structures as we know them, one entity comes through changed yet unharmed – Christ’s church

truth is, purpose of all of this is the good of God’s people – enemies of God and his people will be subdued, God will be glorified and his people purified

everything world trusts in will be overthrown: availability of natural resources, political structures, economic might, military power, interpersonal fabric of society – as God orchestrates all that, will be moving his people toward his goal for them

B. God establishes his people  v.23

prince, yet only governor

Zerubbabel knew who he was, where he “should” be sitting, what he should be doing… yet, were strict limits to power / authority

God graciously sent prophet to him specifically with direct message – what God intended for his future – in spite of how it looked, God not done with line of David

had promised an enduring “dynasty” to David (2 Sam. 7:12ff), then to Solomon (1 Ki. 9:4-5) – God intended to work his plan… including Zerubbabel in it… to reestablish throne… a better one

a signet ring

even though Zerubbabel highly favored of God, he would not become king – he would point to the king, a symbol of future restored royal line

the one with the ring has significance because of who the ring represents – Zerubbabel in his role as God’s man governing remnant of his people would help to keep them mindful of God’s promise

also a key figure in Messiah’s story – responsible for overseeing restoration of Temple where that promised greater glory would someday be apparent

and viewed as significant in minds of Gospel writers – genealogies in Matt. & Luk. run together as far as David, then diverge until Shealtiel & Zerubbabel, diverge again until Joseph – Zerubbabel evidence of God’s intent to send Messiah

a chosen one

change of fortunes not going to be result of typical political processes – negotiations, treaties, even military action

will come about by God’s overruling choice and action – necessary because of who is ultimately in view… Messiah, his present and his eventual ultimate rule on that Day

C. hope in God

repeatedly, in this final message through Haggai, is God declaring what he will do – message of great promise and blessing for sure

yet only has value and meaning because of who is speaking – if only Haggai, pay no attention; if YHWH Sabaoth, take to bank

Psa. 42:5, 11; 43:5 

“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance.”

“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.”  2x

if all we consider is condition of world, of church, of family, of government… no question – will be cast down. Looking only at promises, counting on promises, waiting….. for promises, will be disappointed

must look at promises as given by God, confident in God who keeps his promises, and remembering this: God does not keep his promises because we are such wonderful people – he keeps them for the sake of “His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things” (Heb. 1:2). We will share in those promises if and only if we are in Christ.

If that is all really true, and we really believe it, then… all those apart from Christ are as Paul described, Eph. 2:12 –

“without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”

As we get closer to that Day, is more urgent we do all we can to bring others to understanding of genuine hope, saved and lost alike. 

A Call to Holiness of Life

Haggai 2:10-19 

Brief timeline to catch up: first message September 21, 520, people repented and got to work; second message of encouragement October 17; now third message, December 18 with further cautions and exhortations. This particular date, 24th day of 9th month not associated with festival but… is most important date in all of Haggai – repeated 3 times (v.10, 18, 20), significance identified in v.18

“from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, from the day that the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid;”

A day of great significance / importance to Jews living in Jerusalem and surrounding area, the date when the Temple destroyed by Babylonians was refounded. 3 months after work started up again – ok, we’re doing the right thing but we’re still poor; what’s up with that? Had the outward marks of obedience, conformity to God’s expectations, but little had changed for the workers personally.

Would appear was not only construction crew that needed help, Temple staff hadn’t been doing all their job either. Got out of practice during time in captivity, had not recovered all their skills during 15 years back in Jerusalem. Were at least covering basics of religious rituals – regular sacrifice, observance of at least some of the feasts… no record of Passover being observed from time Solomon’s temple destroyed until after Zerubbabel’s completed. One thing lacking in interim: regular pastoral instruction designed to teach God’s people how to live pleasing to him. Haggai’s questions (supplied by God) help point that out to priests. Haggai’s dialogue carried on between him and priests but had people as whole in view.

Important part of work belonging to priests and Levites – Neh 8:8 “So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading.” At least in matter of holy living, had not given adequate teaching and application of God’s Word. Haggai begins with holiness – where does it come from, how do you get it, why do you need it. Then he moves ot how the past relates to the future in relation to their way of life and their circumstances. Finally, addresses the possibility of change in the present bringing about change in the future.

A. what about holiness?  v.10-14

where it comes from

holiness is not contagious – not airborne, not transmitted by contact – something holy cannot make something else holy

holiness cannot be self-acquired or self-administered – no action can give it, no place can make person or thing in it holy

any ritual that is carried out may signify that something is holy, set apart for God’s use, but does not make it intrinsically so

holiness must ultimately come from the one who is perfectly holy – God alone meets that condition, he alone has authority to define terms of holiness

how you get it

holiness is not something you do, it is a condition of who you are – no one has the ability to change their nature or status before God

is something that God supplies, most powerfully by the presence and action of his Spirit – is what God does in us that also has external evidence

individual can make choices, engage in behaviors and ways of thinking to encourage growth in holiness – one who is genuinely holy (converted) will do so in some measure

e.g., regular sacrifice, attendance / participation in stated feasts, instruction from Law of God, close association with others who feared God and kept his laws, pattern of daily life consistent with godly principles

why you need it

God’s desire and intention that his work be done by holy people – according to his standard unholy people cannot offer satisfactory gifts to God

principle articulated earlier still applies: 1 Sam. 16:7 “the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

external appearance of person and gift might appear to meet God’s requirements but… without changed heart dedicated to pleasing God out of love for him, will not receive God’s approval

so… here’s starting place: if work on temple since restart to be acceptable to God and receive his blessing, people must be God’s kind of people doing it God’s way… in all respects – right work done right way by people living right and desiring what is right

B. how does the past relate to the future?  v.15-17

3x – “consider it” (v.15, 18, 19), looking forward – if you want a different future, you need to take these things into account

what you were doing

situation perhaps best expressed in way we can all relate to: the faster I go the behinder I get – harder I try to get ahead, more ground I lose – exactly what Haggai described in 1:6, summarized in 2:16-17

were doing right things, probably many of them good things – problem was they were not the “first” things, most important

God expected that his work would have first priority, then they could attend to own needs – in that order, would be adequate resources for both

putting personal needs / goals first, failing to meet them, adding more time and energy but with no positive change in results

what your circumstances were

didn’t matter how hard they tried, was never quite enough – more effort actually resulted in them losing ground, further behind

once again, God takes direct credit for their hardship – God caused their calamity… on purpose… to give  reason to turn to him

and yet… persisted in pursuing own solution… to their great disappointment – good reminder: if our way isn’t working, stop and check.. is it God’s way

does this sound familiar? anyone you know that might fit same pattern? a good set of principles here to challenge saved / unsaved family or friends

if God thought was good idea to remind both saved & unsaved of what he expected, what he was doing to get their attention, we shouldn’t be shy about using same reminders

C. how does the present potentially change the future?  v.18-19

what changed

people had changed in response to Haggai’s message – they obeyed God, they came and worked on the house as they were challenged

construction began again, serious enough effort that got Tattenai and Shethar-Boznai’s attention – correspondence w/Darius

apparently from God’s perspective: was a change but… was an outward / external change prompted by fear of God’s presence

same kind of motivation that keeps (at least for now) majority of citizens law-abiding – fear of consequences motivates compliance

what didn’t change

had returned to Jerusalem expecting certain things: basically smooth sailing in spheres of life… home, church, public arena

encountered opposition to their efforts – had material help, supplies and money, but… were opposed in their work by enemies and then (after they had changed focus) by God

from soon after first work on temple stopped, life got hard and stayed that way – everything came at great sacrifice w/ little joy

by God’s design, since in face of hardship they continued to do same thing same way for same reasons but maybe with more energy and greater effort, results did not change

what needs to change

was all about what they could see, what they could achieve or acquire… but see what God said he wanted, v.17 – he made life hard and they turned back to the work – God wanted them to turn back to Him

at beginning they had a desire for the temple, needed a desire for the God of the temple – lots of nostalgia for the way things were… sights, sounds, rituals of a religious culture, longing for the good ol’ days

God’s desire was for something different – he wanted hearts of his people first, then the work of their hands – he wanted them to want him first and most

desire for God is soon followed by desire to please God which then leads to desire for God’s benefits… as evidence of his favor

what will change

when all God had done – sent calamity and then sent prophets – brought about his desired result, then he promises to bless them

does require trust – that when we devote time and energy to God first, what we have left will be enough to meet our own needs

would actually be the reverse of their experience – more work brought less results, when God is first less work brings more results

means they had to trust God to provide results of his choosing when they lived and acted his way

Simply doing work of ministry guarantees only one thing – you’ll be tired at end of day. If we are to experience God’s blessing, must be committed to doing all of life his way… at home, at work, in community, in church.

What is “real” goal – that lots of people would show up, or that God would be present? The real goal as in what comes first and without it nothing else matters. That we would have this that or the other, or that God would bless the work of our hands as he sees fit?

Have opportunities each day to engage people who are just like Haggai’s neighbors. We know the principles to tell them, something else can have even greater influence – our own story, when/how God has blessed our devotion and obedience. And… let’s be sure we have right desires and attitudes about ministry work.

A Call to Find Courage in God’s Promises

Haggai 2:1-9

Entire time of “serious” building approx. 4-1/2 years:

Hag. 1:14-15 they came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month, in the second year of King Darius. (Sept. 21, 520 BC)

Ezr. 6:15 Now the temple was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius. (Mar. 12, 515 BC)

Wasn’t all smooth sailing. Tattenai, Shethar-Boznai and allies challenged Zerubbabel and Joshua – who gave permission for this? (Ezr. 5:3ff) Gave straight answer, was Cyrus who issued decree, etc. Persians, of course, had to verify – sent to Darius, check the archives, tell us what to do. Darius took situation seriously, work on temple had first begun during his lifetime before his time as king with access to royal archives. Commissioned a search, decree of Cyrus found. Darius responded; gave partial quote of Cyrus’ decree, then gave his own orders:

Ezra 6:6-7 “Now therefore, Tattenai, governor of the region beyond the River, and Shethar-Boznai, and your companions the Persians who are beyond the River, keep yourselves far from there. Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God on its site.”

Doesn’t take long to tell the story, took much longer for it all to play out – mail back and forth, extended search (first at Babylon, then Achmetha 300 miles away). Meanwhile, Jews back at Jerusalem wondering how would all turn out, continuing to work and look over their shoulders. Several things that could certainly cause discouragement:

almost immediate opposition… again; left-over shame from prophet’s rebuke in first sermon; perhaps questioning by those who had not heard message (you sure about this?); and then the whole thing about comparisons… this worship center compared to that worship center.

7 weeks after first sermon… time for another – this to be a one-two from Haggai and then Zechariah a couple weeks later. Not meant to beat God’s people down, rather to build them up. Yes, there are elements of rebuke in last three prophets, but far outweighed by focus on glories yet to come. Even though intended to incite people to “labor for the kingdom”, prophets made it clear would be God’s power, God’s plan, God himself working his purpose through his people. Also keep in mind: prophetic lens doesn’t always give clear indications of perspective… how near or distant events in view are.

A. expanded audience v.1-2

cp. 1:1 and 2:2 – ” 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” vs “Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people

first message to political and religious leaders

would need their leadership if work was to get started again – and could not be half-hearted or people wouldn’t get on board

first sermon focused on principle, need to make God and his work the prioirity… even for those in ministry – simply being busy about church work doesn’t guarantee right / best things are being done

included ones leaders were directly responsible for

expected that Zerubbabel would call together government workers, declare to them what prophet had said, make sure they all knew what right response would be

similar scenario for Joshua and all religious workers associated with Temple (priests and Levites) – would hear from Joshua if not directly from Haggai

both groups of leaders needed to be on-board, committed to the work – in face of opposition, any weakness from leaders would spread like wildfire through the people

second message directed to same plus the remnant (2)

reinforcing message to leaders, one of encouragement to leaders and people – Haggai spoke as if they were all present and all on same page

was next to last day of third pilgrimage festival, excellent time for addressing crowd and drawing attention to work yet to be done

B. encouraging message v.3-5

doesn’t look like much (3)

real need for encouragement – seventh month the busiest one on calendar… three feasts: Feast of Trumpets (1), Day of Atonement (10), Feast of Tabernacles (15-22)

all taking place in middle of construction zone – “competing” interests… keeping the feasts, getting the work done, hard to do both

foundation had been laid, walls started, opposition halted progress but… obvious from what was done would never rival Solomon’s

be strong (4a)

is easy to hurry through verse 4, shouldn’t do that – those words were spoken by Haggai face-to-face with intended hearers

looking directly at Zerubbabel, making eye contact, maybe even up close and personal, given God’s personally directed exhortation

same for Joshua, the high priest, given God’s individual message to them in sight and hearing of crowd gathered for festival

then was crowd’s turn to hear same words – “be strong, all you people of the land” – some powerful associations: “be strong” 3x, the land… end of the Exodus / beginning of Entrance to Canaan, Josh. 1:6-9

almost a given: big promise coming up – just as God did big things in giving them land he promised, would again do big things

work (4b)

but… for promise to be fulfilled, God’s people needed to do their part – go back to work, complete assignment while trusting God

reminder that God’s presence is not always obvious – looked like God had left the job site, why progress halted… not true

could / should begin work again… even though nothing obvious had changed… yet there was change: two prophets on site, tangible representations of God’s presence and care

do not fear (5)

and… no need for fear if they move forward in his strength and directed / accompanied by his Spirit – after all, it’s God’s project

God who kept promises 1000 years before has not forgotten – God’s purpose to redeem his people from both slavery and sin still very much in force… and moving forward

C. expectant future v.6-9

God has the power (6-7a)

entire universe will be shaken up – heaven and earth – and all the inhabitants – sea and dry land and all nations

not something that could be mistaken for “forces of nature” at work, even in response to mankind’s presence and meddling

this the kind of response of earth in particular to immediate presence of God – Haggai’s listeners would make quick connections

during Feast of Tabernacles, time established by God for them to remember Lev. 23:43 “that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.”

at beginning of wilderness time Ex. 19:18 “Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly.”

Sinai was preliminary example, Calvary another, will be final shaking when current order of things totally upended, restored

NOTE: don’t forget – people were being called to work, to do job God had assigned but… would be God exercising his power that changed the world

God has the Person (7b, 9a)

this poor substitute temple will be filled with glory, glory that far exceeds any associated with former (Solomon’s) temple

the place where this remnant were laboring would be place where desire of all nations would be met, would satisfy them

on that spot God would worship God – the Son worshiping the Father, the place where effect of Christ’s atonement first displayed… the rent veil, signifying free access to Father through Son

God has the provision (8)

God declares he owns all the resources, that statement the “filling” between “I will fill this temple with glory” and “The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former”

yet God never states his intention to make gold and silver the glory of the temple – people needed to look for glory in something other than construction materials

whatever God provided for materials would satisfy him, should satisfy them – glory would come from who was there, who was worshiped there – Person greater than Solomon (Matt. 12:42) would give greater glory to Temple

God will perform (9b)

God, YHWH Sabaoth, repeatedly declares what he will do – their future and future of Temple entirely in God’s hands

their responsibility to do the work, God is responsible for outcome/results – not to be distsracted by appearances… either potential hindrances or humble building

God could give the world a king from a stable; a savior from a criminal’s cross and borrowed tomb in city governed by pagans

Should not be either distracted or discouraged by appearances… if is clear God is at work. Is presence and power of God that gives glory to individuals as temple of Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19), a place of worship whether dedicated sanctuary or simply place where God’s people gather (Acts 16:13). Our responsibility to trust in God and his promises, work diligently at task he has assigned, count on God to bring about results according to his eternal plan.

A Call to Rebuild the Temple

Haggai 1:1-15

Big Theme: Redeemed from Ruin. Was God’s intent in 6th century BC, still is today to redeem a people from ruin (and not just the Jewish people). Zephaniah ended with Jewish people headed for exile (Josiah, prior to 612 BC, last good king of Judah), Haggai picks up the story 100 years later after return to Jerusalem (Darius, 520 BC). Zechariah was called into service two months later.

Small Theme: “the power of God’s redemptive purposes in overcoming the half-heartedness of His people. …The Lord will work with divine power to overcome the half-heartedness of His people in fulfilling His eternal worldwide redemptive purposes in Christ.” Parker

Post-exilic prophets much different tone from pre-exilic

Pre-exilic Prophets

Jonah — Joel — Isaiah — Amos — Hosea — Micah — Nahum — Habakkuk — Zephaniah — Obadiah

aExilic Prophets

Jeremiah — Ezekiel — Daniel

Post-exilic Prophets

Haggai — Zechariah — Malachi

Pre: warning, exhortation to come to their senses while still time; mostly about gloom and doom and destruction with bright spots here and there. No prophet from any period entirely without hope. During: focused on explanation and hope; here’s why it happened, not the end of the world… yet. More content dealing with what is still future than pre-exilic prophets. Post: encouraging God’s people to renewed faithfulness, focusing hope more explicitly on coming Messiah.

Important to remember: Haggai and Zechariah ministering to a “remnant of the people” (1:12, 1:14; 2:2), small portion of entire people group. Were the ones who expressed desire to return to homeland, rebuild a community there after Babylonian exile. Would be by means of that remnant that God would pursue his redemptive plan by sending a Redeemer. In fact, that Redeemer would bring an unsurpassed glory to God’s temple, even greater than that of Solomon’s temple (2:9). That in itself should stir God’s’ people to action!

A. setting v.1

immediate context: Ezra 4:24-5:1

after Babylonian captivity, Cyrus decreed return

set up altar, reinstituted worship, laid foundation for temple

opposed by enemies, stopped by Artaxerxes; languished for ~15 years

four “sermons” in four months

A Call to Rebuild the Temple1:1–15;A Call to Find Courage in God’s Promises2:1–9; A Call to Cleanness of Life2:10–19; A Call to Confidence in the Future2:20–23

not intended to beat the saints down, rather build them up – needed to understand God intended to use them in his long-term plan of redemption

their work to rebuild worship place and worshiping community essential for Jesus’ life and ministry

they didn’t need to fully grasp all the details (when, how, why) in order to carry out task immediately before them

Cyrus’ decree strongly implied he intended those who returned to Jerusalem would rebuild and start using the Temple

B. rebuke v.2-6

people express their inaction (2)

at time of first return 16 years earlier, had abundant resources – government support, many of furnishings/utensils returned, contributions given by themselves and those who stayed behind

ordered supplies, arranged contracts with craftsmen, then hit a wall – opposition by local enemies who manipulated political allies and halted work

simplest, least confrontational position to take: must be message from God, not right time to be working on Temple project

God asks about their indifference (3-4)

God through prophet Haggai challenges way of thinking about work of ministry – really amounted to choice for them how to use available resources

could use time / treasure / talents to further their own ends or use same things to further God’s kingdom… at that time by working on Temple project

laboring to feather their own nests equivalent to showing indifference to God’s work, progress of his redemptive plan

God notes their impoverishment (5-6)

were in fact missing one obvious and important detail – as hard as they were working, they were not getting ahead

work overtime to put money into hat only to find out hat has a hole – something must be wrong, not how God said it would be

was what God promised, for disobedience: Dt. 28:38-40“You shall carry much seed out to the field but gather little in, for the locust shall consume it. You shall plant vineyards and tend them, but you shall neither drink of the wine nor gather the grapes”

C. resume v.7-8

think about it (7)

can picture someone, head down, feet in gear, headed for certain disaster – whoa, whoa, hold up, think about what you’re doing

happens often, get so focused on putting one foot ahead of the other just to try and keep up, can’t see the big picture

brother, stopped for gas, back on interstate… thought it odd which way mile markers were counting – figured out 50 miles later was going the wrong way

get going (8a)

need to turn around, refocus, go back to original plan… building the Temple – go get the stuff and go back to work like before

God told them that knowing all about the politics, knowing what his plan was to deal with it – expected them to act in faith

that was really the root problem – had been acting based on what they could see, not what God intended them to do

for God’s glory (8b)

their first priority needed to be God’s first priority… his glory – had put something else first for last 16 years, to no avail

now God sent prophets to encourage change – God could have gotten job done another way, didn’t choose to do so

all we need to know is that this way God used would bring greatest pleasure and glory to him while achieving his good purpose

D. reason v.9-11

impoverished because they let the temple lie in ruins (9)

great evidence here of God’s mercy – he sent messengers to his people to instruct them what was going on – didn’t leave them to stumble around in the dark

God puts it right out there, in plain language – life is tough for you because I made it that way; I did that because you didn’t put me first like you should have

God withheld His provision (10-11)

don’t blame it on climate change, untreated bird flu, trade war with China, GMO tinkering by Monsanto, weather control by Russia

was because God himself intervened and created their calamity (Isa. 45:7) – altering expected behavior of natural world, outcome of human and animal labor

God used means at his disposal to remove profit from disobedience… and can still do same and more today… and probably does

E. response v.12-15

leaders and people respond in fear and obedience (12)

certain level of indifference / complacency reached all the way to the top – Zerubbabel, godly governor of Judah and Joshua, high priest content with status quo

faithfully doing routine part of daily job, managing best they could “under the circumstances”, at least temporarily abandoned big goal of completing Temple

Haggai (and Zechariah) coming on scene with “YHWH’s message” a wake-up call – their normal not even close to God’s normal

nothing else mattered: recognized God’s messenger with God’s message… only one option: respect (fear) and obey

God reassures them of His presence (13)

had not only lost sight of goal, also lost sense of God’s presence – needed reminder: political opponents they could see did not outrank God they couldn’t see

God was present with his people even though no pillar of cloud / fire, other dramatic visible signs of his presence and availability

people are stirred up to begin work (14-15)

seeing and hearing from God necessary means to rouse people… but wait, there’s more that is absolutely essential

in order for everyone, leaders and people, to respond well, God had to “stir up the[ir] spirit” – energize and encourage (NET)

God not only sent the message by his messengers, God made the message effectual by His Spirit working with their spirits

Two things: pray that God will stir up the hearts of his people to do his work. Pray that God’s people will respond in fear and obedience when they hear his call. And remember – we are included in the group. To pray sincerely requires we be committed to obedience also, not content with status quo either in own immediate circle of influence or larger community of believers and the world.

Haggai Introduction

Pre-exilic Prophets

Jonah — Joel — Isaiah — Amos — Hosea — Micah — Nahum — Habakkuk — Zephaniah — Obadiah

Exilic Prophets

Jeremiah — Ezekiel — Daniel

Post-exilic Prophets

Haggai — Zechariah — Malachi

1st – exile of Northern Kingdom, 734 BC, Tiglath Pileser (2 Kings 15:29); completed 722 BC, Shalmaneser and Sargon (2 Kings 17)

2nd – siege of Jerusalem, first deportation 605 BC, eventual fall in 586 BC, Nebuchadnezzar and his general Nebuzaradan; 3 waves of captives / exiles (Jer. 52:28-30)

Deut. 29:24-28 – fundamental reasons for exile; restated 2 Kings 17:7ff – “For so it was that the children of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and they had feared other gods”

problemwhat happens to God’s plan of redemption with no viable Jewish community in the land? Has Satan derailed once again?

essential proclamation ending captivity – Cyrus, 538 BC – caravan organized, 42,000+ returnees plus goods and livestock; 800+ mile journey, arrived in Jerusalem area the following year

several months to line up contractors, suppliles for rebuilding the Temple, clear away rubble from site and make ready for rebuilding

foundation laid, great mixed emotion: rejoicing that Temple would be rebuilt, sorrow over how poor and unassuming compared to previous

great enthusiasm, visible progress, evidence of God’s blessing, real mountain-top kind of experience – valley coming up very soon – immediate action by adversaries

enlisted help of “spin doctors”, persuaded Artaxerxes to command halt to work – succeeded in stopping progress… on Temple… for 16 years

had been riding the wave, then it crashed – momentum of progress stopped, no quick restart, then discouragement / defeat / distraction – focus and energy directed to other things

had lost zeal / drive / energy for work that would change the world – moving God’s program forward toward next big event: coming of Redeemer

job of prophets Haggai and Zechariah to light the fire, refocus attention/energy of people to make God’s redemptive plan the priority

are in similar situation today… and Haggai just as relevant now as 2500 years ago

our assignment: building the church anticipating next big event: return of Redeemer/King – need to stir up fire, make God’s work priority… in all our neighborhoods