Haggai and Zechariah both go hand in hand in that they both deal with the rebuilding of the Temple, they both open windows in the expectations of God, and they both spell out future events that haven’t happened yet.
There are five messages in Haggai, they are; I. A message of rebuke in 1:1-11, II. A message of Encouragement 1:12-15, III. Another message of encouragement and the Future Glory of the Temple 2:1-9, IV. Another Rebuke 2:10-19, V. Encouragement and the future of Jesus the Messiah, King of kings, Lord of lords.
The key principle here is: To make a difference we need more than a shadow of His Glory – we need intimacy that comes from repentance, and opening our heart to the obedience of our Master. Too many times we are satisfied with the reflection of God’s Glory – we forget we’ve been given it! (John 17:26).
1:1 – God initiated conviction and direction. Real change begins with, often, an unexplained stirring of the heart. Before we go much further, what is God stirring in you? Because it’s never about what you’re satisfied with-it’s about what needs to be changed. And when we recognize something about our lives that needs to change…too often we find ourselves before a Holy God renegotiating the terms of our agreement.
Not only has God set the terms He’s provided the blood that paid the price. The terms of my life have nothing to do with how much money am I going to make doing it, nor does He say anything about whether or not it’s going to make me happy, we have no knowledge as to whether we’re going to come out of it alive or without the scars that show long after… remember faith is always a risk, but risk is not always faith.
1:2 – You are called to surrender (obedience) in order for things to change. Isn’t “perpetual change” what sanctification is all about? “Justification, “I have been changed” Sanctification, “I am being changed” and Glorification, “I will be changed”.
The verse is key to something very significant in the lives of believers. (Notice God’s speaking to the group) Do we anticipate God’s calling in our lives to come when things are most convenient? Is our obedience level at its highest during the season in our lives when everything is most comfortable? Is faith measured by what makes the most financial sense, or what we have time for? Do we live successful spiritual lives based on our strengths or our weaknesses? Remember it’s in our weaknesses he is made strong not what we can accomplish without him and not what is most comfortable.
1:3-5 God gives clear direction even while we sit in apathy, though it’s predominately in tragedy that we listen. This is not an organization that meets here every Sunday morning… it is an organism that God uses every moment of every day of the week. One He has established here on earth that the gates of Hell shall not prevail against….
Verse 5 –6 You can’t take it with you but you can send it on ahead.
In the church, we don’t get credit for the harvest that’s stored in the barn, we get credit for the workers in the field. It doesn’t count when our stomachs are full-it’s what we accomplished for Him when they are empty! It doesn’t matter if we sit in an air conditioned room for 60-90 minutes if our neighbor doesn’t know why we’re here! Remember Matthew 25:40, “…whatever you’ve done for the least of these-you’ve done to me…” that’s either going to be a cause that we die by or a consequence we live by for eternity. Haggai is calling out God’s people, he’s calling out Joshua and Zerubbabel and saying – your comfortable lives will be what leads you to the consequences of your sin…it’s not going to be about the building it’s going to be about the one who dwells there!
1:7 This takes us right into verse seven, “Drop what you’re doing, make haste and give God a reason to show up.”
There is something I am called to do when I am entrusted with God’s Word in front of you. Every prophetic book in God’s word has three elements: The past (In this case, the Jewish people Haggai is addressing, The Present – The Church, and the Future Kingdom.
Every word of scripture is beneficial for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good deed (2 Timothy 3:16). Also, Hebrews 4:12-13 “For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”
No, God is not calling you to make for the hills and grab timber to build Him a temple. You are the dwelling place of God Most High, if you have believed in Jesus Christ as the one and only savior from your sin. So why is this in here?
You see, 1st Century Christians used to invite people by saying, “Come meet Jesus!” Now-a-days it’s, “Come listen to our worship team” or “Come hear our pastor” or “Come see all of the programs we have for children and youth…” Let the only thing others see in you and in me, be Jesus.
Colossians 3 “Since you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above not on earthly things. For you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life appears, you will also appear with Him in Glory.”
I have no control over what God does with His word in your life outside of preaching it. The principle behind this tiny verse repeating the voice of God to the people of Israel is the same message someone (if not all of us-myself included) needs to hear in this room. “Give careful thought to your ways. Stop what you’re doing that can be measured profitably in the eyes of men, make your life a dwelling place for God to take pleasure and be in honored in.”
Matthew 6:33, “Seek ye first the Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.”
9-11 There is something very easy to lose sight of sometimes in taking grace for granted. (I John 1:9-10 “If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives). The sin of our heart is directly related to the struggles of our day. We are freed from the penalty of sin, but the consequences of life’s poor decisions still have to be walked through (at least for a season). Even as Christians we are in constant sin- changing the course of God’s design for our lives-we’re in charge of the decision God’s in charge of the result. If we find distance between us and God-there is only one option-Surrender (Repent- remove the distance)
-God’s measure of success is not ours. Until we surrender-nothing else matters.
– 1:8, 12-14 We mistake his directions for duties – When in reality following his demands leads to intimacy, which is hearing the voice of God. = Give God His Dwelling Place! (vs.13) and in vs. 14 We see something beautiful – God stirs up the hearts of His people all according to each individual for a common cause. What’s God stirring up in us?
His presence fills the holes in my surrendered life.
If gathering together as Hebrews 10:25 calls it ever becomes about the persona of man and not the Person of Jesus Christ than we are short-changing what the Creator of the Cosmos is capable of doing through you and I, through the power that is already at work within us so -Ephesians 3:20-21 says.
Chapter 2 Principle: Out of sight out of mind. There is no way of gauging God’s measure of success when our eyes on not on Him. We are not free when we are slaves to our own personal fulfillment. We are spiritual begins as much as we are physical ones.
“In this chapter we have three sermons preached by the prophet Haggai for the encouragement of those that are forward to build the temple. In the first he assures the builders that the glory of the house they were now building should, in spiritual respects, though not in outward, exceed that of Solomon’s temple, in which he has an eye to the coming of Christ (v. 1-9). In the second he assures them that though their sin, in delaying to build the temple, had retarded the prosperous progress of all their other affairs, yet now that they had set about it in good earnest he would bless them, and give them success (v. 10-19). In the third he assures Zerubbabel that, as a reward of his pious zeal and activity herein, he should be a favourite of Heaven, and one of the ancestors of Messiah the Prince, whose kingdom should be set up on the ruins of all opposing powers (v. 20-23).”
2:1-3 On the 7th Day of the feast of Tabernacles/Booths-remembering the 40 years the Israelites spent in the desert. It celebrated on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei, which is late September to late October (the celebration of gathering together, bringing in their harvest, a time where directions were given-b/c you had everybody there.) Do you remember an act of God? Something that God did in your lifetime that displayed His Glory? How it was done before may not be the best way to do it now, but the Glory of God is unchanging- so what changed in us? Sometimes God brings us to the place where we say, “Well, that’s not how I remember it…” In order to help us understand – that our glorious experience wasn’t really about the hollow action in of itself it was what God did in us, because of an action.
There is one thing we have to be very careful of, that it, what we give to God-what we are for God cannot be gauged by our own need for fulfillment….all too often it is! There is a call given to our church, finished product God is in charge of…we’re just in charge of following through. Isn’t that the hardest part of any worthwhile objective? It’s never hard to have an idea that brings God glory – wading through the process to bring him Glory is what is difficult. So what does God want to do with us (this tiny church in a county of over a half a million people)? God’s plan for us is left up to the ingenuity of the creator of the cosmos and incomparable to the best you or I can offer. The beauty of it is- God is still going to use us to do it-we only have to surrender.
2:4-5 “Work” God decides the outcome- you are only in charge of stewarding the things God has given you to work with. The key words there are, “work with”. Your accomplishments, your status in life, your comfort is no measure of your spiritual success. Spiritual success is a demonstration of God’s power, through His presence, in God’s people – we don’t get there because of the confines of our strengths – we get there by watching God do something in our weaknesses. You are the one bringing forth God’s success, but though obedience is desired by God, the end result is not the work you are doing- the goal is The Glory of God.
2:6-9 They were upset at the wealth and power of the surrounding peoples. They where upset that they couldn’t produce/build a Temple as glorious as the one they remembered.
Never forget everything that everyone has is given to them by God. The fact of the matter is, the state of our economy is not subject to the power that is already at work within us and neither is all the oil in other countries! So when it comes to the bearing witness Glory of God why are our decisions based on them? You think you’re going to make a difference in your lifetime outside of that which God is waiting so patiently to do through you?
2:8 Everything belongs to God. Everything your neighbor has, that you don’t, has been given to him by God.
In verses 7- 9 we read “I will shake the nations (the Great Tribulation which follows the Coming of Christ Matt 24:29-30)…the glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house…” We have no idea the things store. (Ezekiel 40-47, Daniel 9:27)
We have the promise of God but cannot see the future. We don’t even have the ability to know whether or not our lives will go well by following Christ.
You see, a life surrendered unto Jesus means we have both strength to move mountains and unexplainable joy when buried under them.
2:10-19 They felt the hard work made them surrender. God’s measure of success isn’t measured numerically, but rather integrally (the opposite of numerical measurement). His ways are not our ways. The principle is this: God’s commands and directives are not about following Him in as much as they are about finding Him. God wants an intimate relationship with you-This life as a Christian is not about a bunch of “don’t do’s”. Yet that’s where we find ourselves. The work and the sacrifices lead us to listen. Do the work.
Some of us don’t the like the work. We don’t know why God has us in some circumstances. A temporal perspective will only lead you to frustration because nothing that the fallen world yields will last forever. The answer is right here, we just don’t want to see it-God’s perspective brings the eternal into focus. God’s desire for your life is that your commitment to him would not be circumstantial, but that in the weakness of your best work he can be made strong.
2:13 Mosaic Law: Moral cleanliness could not be transferred, but moral corruption could. Grace isn’t free. It costs a surrendered life to the one who the offense was against. The oddity of it all is, the one we’ve sinned against is the one making it right-through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ.
Even though we do not require a priest to make a sacrifice on our behalf, even though our sin is removed as far as the east is from the west-Do not be alarmed if it seems you are carrying the consequences of your neighbor’s actions….or how about society’s actions. Don’t believe me? What are the consequences of the legalization of abortion? What are the consequences of civil unions verses the marriage between a man and a woman? If you don’t know take a look at what your tax dollars are going towards than tell me if you’re not paying for the decisions others make who live blatantly outside of the Word of God.
The answer isn’t in politics or Jesus would have been a Politian. The answer lies in a life surrendered to God, a life lived as His Temple-His dwelling place.
2:20-23 my life is for my master. God keeps His end of the bargain. Simply the process- I serve an audience of One. God is a process God-even though my values are shaped by an event in my life-my spiritual character is made by a process of surrendering. God gives us glimpses of the future to trust him today. 2:23 – The Messianic line came through Zerubbabel as a descendant of David (Matt 1:12, Luke 3:27)
Is the economy of our church bankrupt? It is we’re living our lives for ourselves. What good is a Message from God if His messengers wont’ take responsibility for the mission? (2 Corinthians 3:2). Too often our movement stops when we see what we don’t have. But it is that very burden for what needs to happen that God is calling us to, each individual, and working together as a church family.