Book of Haggai
Last week we saw that the 70 -year prophesy of Jeremiah had been true and many of those of Israel in captivity were released by King Cyrus to return home and to rebuild the Temple.
It got off to a great start, but it soon ran out of steam and came to a complete stop, as these people began to think of themselves instead of the House of God.
So God sent the Prophet Haggai with a new message.
This is a great lesson for the Church today.
Sometimes God may seem to silent and it seems prayers go unanswered and we wonder what has happened.
We must understand that 100% of the time it will be because we have moved away from God and not that God has forgotten about us.
God is always listening for us, but God will not answer if we have unconfessed sin. We must confess “all” our sin and repent if we want God to answer our prayers! (Psalms 66:18)
Our lesson today is aimed toward those churches that were one time on fire for God, but have now ceased and are cold or just luke warm.
Our lesson is also aimed at the Christian who was once on fire for God but now have ceased even going to church.
Why does it seem God is silent in America today?
God has been asked to leave!
Many of the Church have rejected the truth of God and allowed the world to dictate what God means when they cannot know the truth!
Many have rejected the Word of God and listen to false science!
Many have forced God to take a back seat to our own personal pursuits!
Many have allowed the government to influence the Church!
Many have just worshiped self and left off to worship God!
So what was the message of Haggai?
*****Hag 1:1 In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying,
Hag 1:2 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD’S house should be built.
According to modern calendars the first message of Haggai came August the 29th of 520 BC.
The first message was aimed at Zerubbabel who was the governor assigned by King Cyrus to be in charge of Judah (a puppet king) and the reconstruction of the Temple of Solomon, which Nebuchadnezzar destroyed.
Zerubbabel was a descendant of the royal line of King David. In the Book of Ezra he is sometimes called by Sheshbazzar, which was his Persian name.
In Haggai we will see Zerubbabel called the “Signet” which means a seal or a signet, which means he had absolute authority in Judah but still a puppet of Persia.
To be honest it is our duty to serve the Lord, just as it was these people of Judah on this day.
These who had return from captivity had decided it was not time to finish the work on the Temple, but it was time for them to do as they pleased.
They had allowed their neighbors to dictate their behavior!
Ezr 4:23 Now when the copy of king Artaxerxes’ letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem unto the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power.
Ezr 4:24 Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.
Shimshai was a trouble maker and these Jews did not question his authority but just went to their homes and left off the building of the Temple.
What does God say?
Pro 29:25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.
Pro 29:26 Many seek the ruler’s favour; but every man’s judgment cometh from the LORD.
Pro 29:27 An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.
So God sent His Word by Haggai.
*****Hag 1:3 Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying,
Hag 1:4 Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste?
God’s people had forgotten that they were God’s people!
We do the same thing today!
They were not to fear those around them. God had said they would go home after 70 years in captivity, and God did not say this just so they would be ruled by Samaria or foolish men harassing God’s people.
One thing we must understand is, God will not do things that we can do ourselves!
God helps us with things that we cannot do ourselves!!!!!!!!!!
God simply said, if it is not time to complete the work on the Temple, then was it time to dwell in their ceiled, houses, houses already secure from the elements?
These people were celebrating in their homes while the House of God still lay in ruins just partially rebuilt.
Nothing much more than the foundation had been laid.
Nothing looks worse than a building that began as a great plan, but now lay in ruins because it could not be completed.
If things were as bad as these people made it out to be, then how could they sit in their homes in safety with no worries?
If we think back to the time of King David, these people were nothing like David at all.
2Sa 7:1 And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the LORD had given him rest round about from all his enemies;
2Sa 7:2 That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains.
The thoughts of David were why the first Temple was built, and these people who had been released from bondage by King Cyrus, who had bragged on the God of creation, were not as obligated to serve the Lord as they should have been.
This is a picture of the Laodicean Church Age of today!
The Lord has reached down and pulled His people out of the miry clay of sin, surely, we have a duty to commit to the work of the Lord.
Today we are the Temple of God and when we are first saved, we are babes in Christ, surely, we feel the duty to grow in Christ!
We should not need anyone to urge us to get closer to God, but thank God for our Pastor, who continues to teach us the truth.
What does the Bible teach us to do?
2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
We must be building onto our Temple at all times!
It was not time for these Jews of Judah to be sitting around doing nothing when the Temple of God needed so much work to be done.
It is never time for us to stop building onto our temple, which we are.
1Co_6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
We have a duty to be busy working on our own Temple at all times!
The first message of God through Haggai, was aimed directly at Zerubbabel and Joshua the High Priest.
We must remember when Haggai spoke, he was saying what God told Him to say and to whom God told him to say it to.
Neither of these men could deny that the prophecies of Jeremiah and of Isaiah had been true just as the words of Haggai would be true and not just true “but be the truth”.
*****Hag 1:5 Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
This something we all should do every day. We need take a look at our Christian life as compared to Jesus Christ and consider our ways!
These people were guilty of selfishness and covetousness.
What does prophecy do?
We could say that prophecy is God in communication with the Church.
We know that God was speaking to these Jews, but we also know that God has the same message for the Church today, and these words of the Old Testament has lessons that we are to learn.
2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
We need to take a close look into our mirror every day to see if we are who we say we are!
These Jews were neglecting the only thing that could save them, when times did get hard!
God did not expect these people to live in tents while the construction of the Temple was going on, but God did expect them to finish the work they had started at the Temple.
Everything they did since returning to their homeland would determine how God would react to them!
Lev 26:2 Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.
Lev 26:3 If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;
Lev 26:4 Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.
Lev 26:5 And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.
God had not changed, and He never will!!!!!!!!!!
*****Hag 1:6 Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.
Even though they were now free, this was no way to live. Never enough food and not enough clothes to stay warm.
To live in sin soon becomes a life of misery!
When we get our priorities out of order, things just do not go well for us!
It is a fact that when we forget where our blessings come from, we will not get blessings that we could have had!
God is always standing ready to dump a truck load of blessings out upon us!!!!!!
By not having a place of worship these people were robbing God.
They were robbing God of His worship.
They were robbing God of His truth.
They were robbing God of His tithes.
Mal 3:8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
Gathering to worship the Lord is much, much more than these things.
We lose opportunities to learn the Scriptures.
We lose opportunities to carry our burdens to the Lord.
We lose opportunities to fellowship with each other and pray with one another and for one another.
And most important we lose opportunities to fellowship with the Lord.
Remember the power of the Church lies in the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit abides in each of us.
These Jews were more interested in gaining riches for themselves, but those riches were as if they had their money in a bag and that bag had a hole in it, those riches were being lost.
Job 20:28 The increase of his house shall depart, and his goods shall flow away in the day of his wrath.
Job 20:29 This is the portion of a wicked man from God, and the heritage appointed unto him by God
Though drugs have become more popular with the lost, still the over powering enemy of the working class is alcoholic beverages.
Pro 23:21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.
Pro 23:29 Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?
Pro 23:30 They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.
Pro 23:31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.
Pro 23:32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.
Pro 23:33 Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.
Pro 23:34 Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.
Pro 23:35 They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.
No matter who we are, we need to consider the things we do and how those things affect our lives.
*****Hag 1:7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
These Jews had received the command of God to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. They had started off with the right attitude, but now it had been 16 years since they had last worked on the Temple.
The materials were on the job site!
They knew the will of God!
They were lacking in commitment!
We must understand to receive the blessings of God, we must be a blessing to God!
God really only asks us to do one thing and that is to obey Him!
If God has saved us it is our duty to be obedient to Him!
Psa 119:59 I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.
Psa 119:60 I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.
Before we can ever be glorified, we must glorify the Lord in what we have now, and it is not to hard nor is it asking too much of us!
*****Hag 1:8 Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD.
We must understand that what pleases God is when we are at work to grow His Kingdom, and also to work and support our families.
These are not two separate things these are one thing that we do for the glory of God!!!!!!
We cannot do this thing if we are not obedient to God.
The Jews were free and living in hardship simply because they left off to do what the Lord God had asked them to do.
It was the Temple that would hold this people together for several centuries to come.
God loves to see His people busy!
We know that the Lord never changes, so it is obvious when the house of God lies in waste, as many do today, then God will not be very pleased.
It does not matter so much what the world is doing, as it matters what the people of God are doing!
Remember Haggai is addressing these things to Zerubbabel the Governor and Joshua the High Priest.
If the government and the Church did not solve this issue, then their freedom did not mean anything!
In America today, the government, through taxpayers, does nothing but feed those who are too lazy to work, while the Church sits on its hands and does nothing to curb sin, not only in our nation, but even allow it inside the church.
A lazy church is a useless church!!!!!
Now, Muslims are elected in to the government along with every liberal minded kook that comes out of the closet.
Freedom is not on the top of the list of the things we need in America today!!!!!
The people who truly needed help were the same ones who did not get the help they needed because they had become lazy and useless to the Lord God.
The Church needs to get back to the business of being obedient to what “Thus Sayeth the Lord” and work for the glory of God, and many of the problems we face as a nation would go away.
The forest around Jerusalem had not been touched in 70 years and much of the material that was needed was already on the Temple Mount. It was time to get busy about the work of the Lord!
We must keep our priorities in order!
Tit 3:8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
When these people had left captivity, they had expected everything to be so wonderful.
They needed to be awakened to the fact they lived in a cruel and evil world just as we do today, and we need the Lords help in everything we do, but if we refuse to glorify God in the things we do, that help will never come when we need it the most!!!!!
*****Hag 1:9 Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.
Hag 1:10 Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit.
When we forget that the Lord is in control of our environment, and everything else, and start placing the blame on things such as global warming, or any other dreamed up thing we are on our way to more misery.
Look around at what is going on in our world and you can see that God has withdrawn His hand of mercy!!!!!
All the things that assured a good life was lacking, because these people had neglected the God who had caused them to be set free.
When we allow the house of God to lie in waste, we can be sure our own homes will go to waste.
When we expect too much from others, and do not give back to our God in our time and our tithes, our nation will lie in waste.
We are foolish to ask why our government is like it is, when we reject the God who places the right people in the right positions.
We have the freedom to vote and more than a 100 million stay home and forget how important this freed is!!!!!!
When God does place someone in position who has faith in God, and we do not do everything we can to help them, we are just digging a hole so deep that we will never come out of it.
This could be said of our President today.
When we look for much and it comes to little, we can only blame ourselves.
When we bring that little home and even it blows away, we can only blame ourselves.
When we neglect God and the House of God, we cannot expect to receive the blessings of God!
Isa 17:10 Because thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation, and hast not been mindful of the rock of thy strength, therefore shalt thou plant pleasant plants, and shalt set it with strange slips:
Isa 17:11 In the day shalt thou make thy plant to grow, and in the morning shalt thou make thy seed to flourish: but the harvest shall be a heap in the day of grief and of desperate sorrow.
Why is America suffering? It has nothing to do with global warming silly people, it because the Lord thy God has control of the heavens and the earth.
You see, God proves by facts, that it is He that sits on the throne in Heaven and He will deny these things sometimes, and in some places, to show us we are not being obedient to His Words. The only ones who know His words are those who are the true Christian.
God can blow away wages just as well as He can blow away our necessities, when we are suffering and do not know why.
Sometimes we just need to sit down and meditate to see why we are suffering so much in this world!
The biggest reason we all suffer so much, is because we have not obeyed the Word of God!
God does not play favorites, He has the same love for each of us and the same discipline for disobedience!
As Haggai confronts Zerubbabel and Joshua the High Priest, we can see that God was laying the blame on the government and the Church.
They had not led the people in the right direction, and it was the people who suffered the most, while these two and many others lived in their fine homes and lavish lifestyle.
These things never change, God will hold every government accountable for the suffering of the people and the Church for allowing the government to go without Church leadership.
Eph 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
When we get our priorities out of wack, there is only one place to go and that is to the Lord God Jehovah.
We know Him as Jesus Christ!
During this time when the rebuilding of the Temple had stopped for 16 years or more, God had to do some things for this people to take notice.
*****Hag 1:11 And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.
God sees the labor of our hands and if our hands are not Holy hands, then the things we do with those hands, will not be Holy.
There is no way the work that comes by our hands will prosper, without using them part of the time for the Lord and being committed to Him 100% of the time!!!!!
If the labor on the Temple had not ceased, God would never have brought a drought upon this people. It is just that simple!
A great lesson for the Church is, as long as the House of God lies in waste, God will not bless the labor of Church hands in America.
Gen 31:42 Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight.
The Lord will only bless the work of our hands when our priorities are in the right order!
When our own interest comes before the work of God, God will see, and God will not allow those interest to be fruitful.
What has God warned the Church?
1Pe_4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
The Church needs to wake up to these warnings and get her priorities right!!!!!
When we do not heed the warnings of God, we are placing ourselves and our families in jeopardy!
What many see as climate change may be just God telling us we need to get back to the truth of God!
Or, could it be close to the time when the Antichrist will stick his evil head into the world and claim to be the Savior.
2Th 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
If there is not a great falling away today, then explain why so many churches have closed their doors and many of the rest have become lazy in the work of God!
There is always the spirit of the Anti-Christ in our world.
1Jn 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
These that had returned to Judah with a priority to build the Temple were facing an economic catastrophe and it was of their own doing!
The question we should ask is, when will we ever learn from our mistakes?
You there is a reason that our history is not being taught in our schools, our youth will never know of all the mistakes that have made that our nation has learned and have made us the great nation that we had become but today are going backwards!
These Jew quickly understood.
*****Hag 1:12 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the LORD.
We must understand that the Word of God in the mouth of God’s servants, will have no effect until God’s “authority” is realized and “acknowledged”!
What is wrong in America today? We have forgotten that Jehovah God is the King who sits on the throne in Heaven!!!!!
We must look at the message of the Lord, and see that God does not ever change!
God loves His people. God teaches us these things so we can remove all doubt of His sovereignty not just over the people but also all of nature!
1) God will always act to protect the integrity of His Holy Name!!!!!
Mal 1:6 A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name?
2) God will always act to correct His people of their sinful ways:
Deu 11:10 For the land, whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs:
Deu 11:11 But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven:
Deu 11:12 A land which the LORD thy God careth for: the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.
Deu 11:13 And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,
Deu 11:14 That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.
Deu 11:15 And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full.
3) God is the God of second chance: (praise the Lord)
Php 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
The truth is God will discipline, God will correct, and God will train, the ones He loves, and He shows us how He does things in the Word of God.
We already have the instruction manual. It’s called the Bible!!!!
We are to learn from these mistakes made by these, God’s chosen people, and through this day, Israel remains the apple of God’s eye!
The Church is still God’s redeemed and the Bride of Christ!
We must understand that God dealt with nations during this era, but today God deals with individuals.
When our priorities are not right, then we can expect the same or very similar things from our Creator, the true Ruler of all we see, and all we cannot see!
Pro 3:11 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:
Pro 3:12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
Pro 3:13 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.
Pro 3:14 For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.
We can expect our Father in Heaven to do whatever it takes to keep us as His children, who He loves us more than we can understand!
When the Lord speaks to us by the Holy Spirit, it is in our best interest to listen to what He says and be obedient to what He teaches us!