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The Background
Foundation matters.
Today we journey to a time when a call to action is being issued to the remnant.
The Cyrus decree (539 B.C.) had been issued, the remnant about 50,000 Jews returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple and the city according to Ezra and the work had started but stalled, and that is where we are at now.
So, let’s lay some background this morning and do our survey of this short book.
Where God through the prophet gives some words to the remnant to get busy!
Author: Haggai (Hag1:1); His name means “Festive” or “Festival.”
He is inferred to Ezra
He is a motivator to get busy along with Zechariah.
Time: Believed about 520 B.C. (Hag1:1)
That is to be believed to be about the 2nd year of Darius.
- more to follow on this in a bit.
The Message: Build the temple (get to work!)
In the message it comes in 4 parts
A word of reproof (Hag1)
A word of support (Hag2:1-9)
A word of explanation (Hag2:10-19)
A word of promise (Hag2:20-23)
That it the basics of how we will break this down today in a survey format.
When preparing for this today there was so much information I am really going to try to convey what I can in our alloted time but ask that you note down some things along the way for your own scouring of the scripture.
More background:
Remnant returned to Jerusalem under leadership of Zerubbabel (536 B.C.) and the foundation for the temple was laid (note down Ezr3:8-13)
Problems, opposition arose and the building stopped (Note down Ezr4:1-24)
God then raised up, brought up Haggai and Zechariah to get the people to get to work on the temple (note down (Ezr5:1-2; 6:14)
The time of the proclamation of Haggai was very short, 4-months (Hag1:1, 2:1, 10, 20) - those we will get to as we survey.
Have you ever gotten started on anything and then petered out and the zeal, the desire, the effort slowed down or even stopped?
Well that happened with the rebuilding of the temple.
Work stopped from 536-520 due to the opposition and loss of zeal (Note down Ezr4:1-6, 24)
A word of reproof
Reproof, I think most of us are familiar with the word that scripture is used for that (2Tim3:16) and it’s meaning is (N): an expression of blame or disapproval.
Other words that go with reproof are rebuke, reprimand, reproach, admonishment, disapproval, criticism, blame.
The main reproof in this passage is to remind them to put God first.
The reproof - Time to rebuild temple is overdue (Hag1:1-4; ref: 2Chr36:22-23; Ezr2:1-2, 36, 40; 3:2-8)
I will pose some questions along the way to glean from the scripture
When did the word of the Lord come to Haggai, and to whom (v.1)?
Second year of Darius, to Zerubbabel and to Joshua
Cyrus had issued the decree for the exiles to go home (2Chr36:22-23) and lead out by Nehemiah as noted by Ezra (Ezr2:1-2) that Zerubbabel who would be governor of Judah, and Joshua the high priest.
What is the reproof, the admonishment you see in (v.4)?
You live in panelled houses but the house of the lord is desolate (destroyed)
The people had been saying that it was not time to build the temple, the time is not right (v.2); but the reproof is given to them because of their outlook.
He then tells them
They had offered excuses, - Billy Sunday offered this “an excuse is the skin of reason stuffed with a lie.”
There was evidence given that God was behind the temple being rebuilt, provided what they needed as noted in 2Chr36, and in Ezra1.
Did the king provide them everything needed for the reconstruction project?
Isaiah prophesied about the Cyrus decree (Isa44:28, 45:13)
They had the prophesies, they had the provision, but they had the priorities wrong.
They were not seeking the kingdom of God first.
Let me ask a question to contemplate, do the people today do anything different than the Jews then?
Do we contemplate our possessions or our position in Christ Jesus as priority.
I love what it says
(Transition) - this leads to our next section our first of consider your ways
Consider your ways (Hag1:5-11)
Think about what the prophet says in (vv.5-6) why does he tell them to consider your ways?
they have sown much, eaten much, they drink, they cloth, they earn but it avails little, like putting wages in a purse with holes.
What are the instructions given, after being told to consider your ways (v.8)?
Go up, bring wood, rebuild the temple
And the results will be God will be please and be glorified.
While the temple lay in ruins, they were going about building their own houses, therefore God called for a drought.
This now brings some words that are heeded
Testimony of the prophet heeded (Hag1:12-15)
What did Zerubbabel, Joshua and the remnant of people do (v.12)?
They obeyed and showed reverence for the Lord.
What was the result of the obedience and reverence now seen in (v.14-15)?
The Lord stirred up the spirit.
The people got busy working on the house of the Lord on the 24th day of the sixth month
(Transition) So this was a short 24 days from reproof to reconstruction and it was not long (about a month later) the next word comes.
A word of support (keep at it!
Motivation needs to turn to perseverance to press on to complete the task.
God sends a word of support to them now.
The former glory and the present promise (Hag2:1-5)
When did the second message come according to (v.1)?
Twenty-first day of seventh month.
It was said that those who had seen the glory of Solomon’s temple wailed and cried for the new temple was nothing in comparison.
What is the promise God reminds them of in (v.5)?
He is with them, abiding in their midst and do not fear!
The future glory will be greater (Hag2:6-9)
God was going to provide the means for the reconstruction, hold on, hold fast, you need to wait just a little bit, see how God is going to do it.
they may have thought since they returned from Babylon to the promised land that God was just going to bless them, but He called for a drought (Hag1:9); withheld His blessings for a time.
It was important they get the concept of seeking God first (for us Mt6:33)
God was going bless them for their obedience, but they were going to have to wait.
What is the greater glory noted in (v.9)?
I will give peace.
Do you think this is a messianic prophesy about the Prince of Peace who would bring a greater glory to the temple?
God never made a prosperity covenant with the church, He made and everlasting covenant with the Church through Jesus Christ, eternal life in a kingdom that cannot be shaken.
And because of that assurance we should put God first.
This is not a prosperity promise as some claim for the sermon on the mount starts like this
(Transition) Now that they are encouraged there was still more that needed to be said about 2 months later.
A word of explanation
The message from Haggai is consider your ways, in this section you will see that again as well as Haggai calling for them to think.
It is about 2 months later, December 18th if we figure out the dates right; keep in mind the Jewish calendar is not the same as the Gregorian calendar we use today.
There is still a sin problem.
God wanted to bless the people, but He could not do it as He wished because they were defiled.
They needed to clean themselves before the Lord.
The prophet went to the priests, the authorities and asked two simple questions to help them to look within and consider.
So, that is where we are coming from in this section.
Looking within they are offering work that is unclean (Hag2:10-14)
There are two questions posed in (vv.12-13), can you see and understand the questions, maybe use your own words?
Can holiness be transferred by touching something?
- - - NO!
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