Minor Prophets Haggai  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Bible Text:

Subject: Introduction

Proposition: Introduction And First Message


Biblical Orientation:

In 586 B.C. when Babylon sacked Jerusalem; the Jews were marched to Iraq watching the temple burn. They had not listened to the prophets. They did not know God was sending them away for only 70 years

The Jews were exiled in a foreign land; they were unable to practice their worship through sacrifices. After God gave His land the Sabbath it deserved, Cyrus sent back 50,000 Jews to the city of Jerusalem. He provided so that they could rebuild the temple

When Cyrus sent Jews back to rebuild the temple it was a dream come true. The Jews came to Jerusalem rejoicing and with high hopes

· The new temple would be grand

· The new temple would be clean

· People would be there every Sabbath!

The reality was it was hard work opposed by the Samaritans surrounding them. The enemy worked hard to stop the Jews. “And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia”

The Levitical sacrifices were begun () and then they began to build the foundation of the temple. “... and all they that were come out of the captivity unto Jerusalem; and appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to set forward the work of the house of the LORD” ().

The foundation was completed- “And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the LORD, after the ordinance of David king of Israel”

Construction stopped- “Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. It ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.” For 15 years nothing was done. Two events caused construction to cease. First was the harassment of the Samaritans. Second was spiritual apathy. Have you ever gone camping? When you light a fire of logs, what does it take to keep the fire going? A spiritual fire in your life must also be cultivated

Haggai comes and exhorts them to restart building- “Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them.” His messages inspire the spiritual leaders to break their apathy and get back to the work. Instead of making God send a prophet; keep a tender heart where He can always motivate you

Sermon Orientation:

His prophesies begin in the second year of Darius I (520 b.c.). (Slide 2) He was soon joined by the Prophet Zechariah who continued preaching and completed the task of encouraging the people to rebuild the temple[i]

Haggai is the prophet that God used to get the work back on track. You read about the work of Haggai in the book of & 6. “And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo...” Since his prophesying was after the Jews returned to Jerusalem he is called a postexilic prophet. There were three: Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

Haggai- 2:3 reveals that Haggai may have seen the first temple. This would make him an elderly prophet. The central verse comes from 2:4



A. His Background

1. Haggai means “festival”

2. His heritage is unknown

3. He was a prophet in Jerusalem; maybe he came back with Zerubbabel or maybe he was already there

B. His Dates

1. Haggai began preaching in 520 B.C. and preached for 5 years

a. We know the times because of verse 1

b. It is a well-established fact that Darius’ reign began in 521 B.C.

i. Since the Jews had no king, they dated life by the king to which they were subject
ii. Think through your life, do you date it by the events of the Lord or the world?

c. The dates of Haggai are some of the most accurate we have

2. Through Haggai, Zechariah, and Ezra we have accurate dates for the significant work done in rebuilding the temple (slide 3)

C. His Authority

1. Haggai realized that his messages were divinely inspired

a. Twenty five times Haggai refers to the fact that he is speaking the words of the LORD

b. Read 1:13- here he identifies his role as a messenger of the Lord

c. Read it for yourself, he leaves no doubt of the origination of his messages

2. Haggai did not doubt his authority or his purpose in preaching

a. If it follows the Word of God, it has God’s authority

b. This means it is God speaking to us

D. His Audience

1. Haggai preached at first to the leaders

a. Zerubbabel who lead the Jews back to Jerusalem for the purpose of rebuilding the temple

b. Joshua the high priest and leader of worship for the people

c. These two were to disseminate God’s message to God’s people

2. In verse 13 he begins speaking to all the people as well

E. His Message

1. Get back to work (slide 4)

2. Fix your relationship with God

3. Four messages from the Lord (slide 5)


A. The People Said

1. We begin on August 29, 520 B.C.

a. The first day of the month was always the offering of the new moon

b. It was a time of rest, rejoicing, and remembrance

2. However, the people said: it is not time to work

a. The king of Persia had given them permission to get back to work

b. They had not done any work on the temple for about 15 years (slide 6)

3. Do you see the sin in this?

a. It is found in the words “This people say”

i. They had their own thoughts about what should be done
ii. It is sin when our thoughts do not line up with what God says
a.) “My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto him: and they shall be wanderers among the nations”
b.) A prophecy that had been literally fulfilled
iii. It is not long before we start doing everything “my way”

b. When a person thinks that what they want is more important than the work of the Lord; it is sin

c. God has a message for this: get back to work

4. Remember the authority of Haggai

a. “Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts saying”

b. Every deviation, transgression, begins with a disregard of God’s commandments

B. A Reminder Of Purpose v 3-4

1. Again, Haggai states this is “the word of the LORD”

a. Haggai is stating: this not my idea, but God’s

b. Not what I want to say but what He wants said

2. God’s judgment: you are living in luxury and forsaking service

a. The Jews lived in “cieled” houses

i. “Cieled” means paneled
ii. The only other times in God’s Word this word is used is in connection with the wood of the temple

b. This was not a condemnation of riches

i. It was a condemnation of attitude
ii. Do you remember the attitude of David towards building the temple?
iii. “Now it came to pass, as David sat in his house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, Lo, I dwell in an house of cedars, but the ark of the covenant of the LORD remaineth under curtains”

c. If the work of God is undone while His people live in luxury; His people have missed the purpose of their lives

i. This is easily applied to the church
ii. If the church is “wasted” (desolate, dry) and we live in fruitful homes; then our efforts have been misdirected
a.) Spiritually dry
b.) Spiritually dead
c.) Unmotivated to work for the Lord

3. The purpose of God’s people then and now is to labor in God’s power to accomplish His work

C. How To Regain God’s Purpose v 5

1. This is what the Lord says!

2. “Consider your ways”

a. This is a unique translation

i. The words of the sentence are literally “put heart thou upon ways”
ii. We would say “set your heart upon your ways”
iii. When God says “consider your ways” He wants us to put our hearts in it

b. “Consider” is in the imperative mood

c. We should always be examining our ways

d. Sticking to our purpose is a matter of comparing what God says with what we actually do

3. A deep examination of what we are doing reveals if we are fulfilling our purpose

D. God’s Signs When You Are Off Purpose v 6

1. When the Christian life is not headed the right direction; God gives us some signs

a. They may be subtle, they may not seem like much; but they reveal a loss of blessing

b. God reminds the Jews that what they do is being wasted

i. They sow but do not get the return they expect for their investment
ii. They do not seem to have enough to be satisfied
iii. Their wages do not seem to go far enough

2. We could attribute these to a bad year or a rough patch

a. What if it continues? Is it just a spell?

b. No, that is God telling us to stop and consider our ways

c. That is God telling us that something is not right in life

i. This is why we fail when we do not “consider”
ii. We should stop and set our heart to draw near God
iii. That can be hard work!
iv. Seeing the cost we say “The time is not come”! v 2

d. We procrastinate and do not consider because the work is too hard

i. Does that sound familiar?
ii. Too often we procrastinate as they did
iii. No wonder our spiritual lives suffer


When God saved you, He gave you a purpose

Your life not only belongs to God, it is to be directed by God

There is never fulfillment for a Christian that is not building life

Sure, it is easy to procrastinate, but it leaves you in the Promised Land with no place to worship and no relationship with God

The prophet can tell you repeatedly that the message is from God; you have to decide to act upon God’s commands


Haggai calls us to consider our procrastinations

To do so we must “hear God’s message”

We must know what God is saying to ME

We must get to work
[i] F. Duane Lindsey, “Haggai,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 1536-1537.
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