612.) Haggai 2

September 6, 2011

Haggai 2 (English Standard Version)

The Coming Glory of the Temple

1 In the seventh month, on the twenty-first day of the month (October 17, 520 B.C.), the word of the LORD came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, 2“Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to all the remnant of the people, and say, 3 ‘Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Is it not as nothing in your eyes?

Some of the returnees were old enough to have seen and remembered the grandeur of Solomon’s Temple before its destruction by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.  The could recall the “former glory” of “this house,” since the second temple was considered a continuation of Solomon’s.

Ezra 3:12-13 (New International Version)

But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy.  No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.

4Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, declares the LORD. Be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the LORD. Work, for I am with you, declares the LORD of hosts, 5 according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not.

How often we are tempted to think that it is too hard, that our gifts are so small, that our work does not really matter all that much.  This passage tells us otherwise:  God has work for us to do that He values.  Let us be about our Father’s business — cheerfully, diligently!

_________________________

6For thus says the LORD of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. 7And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the LORD of hosts. 8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the LORD of hosts.

In the “Every Promise in the Book Is Mine” folder:

Are you concerned about your finances, present or future?  This verse is for you!  We can boldly trust God, who owns every resource, and give ourselves generously to the work he has called us to.

_________________________

9The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the LORD of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the LORD of hosts.'”

Blessings for a Defiled People

10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius (December 18, 520 B.C.), the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, 11“Thus says the LORD of hosts: Ask the priests about the law: 12‘If someone carries holy meat in the fold of his garment and touches with his fold bread or stew or wine or oil or any kind of food, does it become holy?'”

The priests answered and said, “No.”

13Then Haggai said, “If someone who is unclean by contact with a dead body touches any of these, does it become unclean?”

The priests answered and said, “It does become unclean.”

14Then Haggai answered and said, “So is it with this people, and with this nation before me, declares the LORD, and so with every work of their hands. And what they offer there is unclean.

Living in the Holy Land and offering sacrifices will not make the people acceptable, as long as they themselves are unclean through neglect of the house of the Lord.Since the exile to Babylon, the people of Israel focused on getting back to the Promised Land. In and of itself this was not a bad focus; yet it led to the thinking that once they made it back to the Promised Land everything else would just fall into place. Haggai reminds them that their presence in the Promised Land doesn’t make everything they do holy. If the priorities of our heart are wrong, nothing we do is really holy to God.

“The ruined skeleton of the Temple was like a dead body decaying in Jerusalem and making everything contaminated.”

–David Guzik

_________________________

15Now then, consider from this day onward. Before stone was placed upon stone in the temple of the LORD, 16how did you fare? When one came to a heap of twenty measures, there were but ten. When one came to the wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were but twenty. 17 I struck you and all the products of your toil with blight and with mildew and with hail, yet you did not turn to me, declares the LORD. 18 Consider from this day onward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month. Since the day that the foundation of the LORD’s temple was laid, consider: 19Is the seed yet in the barn? Indeed, the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have yielded nothing. But from this day on I will bless you.”

Zerubbabel Chosen as a Signet

 20The word of the LORD came a second time to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month, 21“Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I am about to shake the heavens and the earth, 22and to overthrow the throne of kingdoms. I am about to destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations, and overthrow the chariots and their riders. And the horses and their riders shall go down, every one by the sword of his brother.
23On that day, declares the LORD of hosts, I will take you, O Zerubbabel my servant, the son of Shealtiel, declares the LORD, and make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you, declares the LORD of hosts.”

What was so special about Zerubbabel? He truly was chosen of God – in the ancestry of Jesus, Zerubbabel was the last person to stand to be in both the line of Mary (the blood lineage of Jesus – Luke 3:27) and Joseph (the legal lineage of Jesus through Joseph – Matthew 1:12).

–David Guzik

_________________________

Music:

Don and Wendy Francisco sing “I Have Chosen You.”  May this song encourage you to do great things for the Lord today!

Like a king who hides in shadows while a thief usurps his throne
You stumbled down through all your days without direction.
While the soldiers and the servants who should be at your command
Are all abandoned to surrender and defection.

As the kingdom groans beneath the load,
Your feet go running down the road
In panic you’ve forgotten all I’ve told you.
If you’ll just call you’d see Me there
At the very instant of your prayer
But you’ve bought a bill of goods the liar’s sold you.

I have chosen you
There’s no need to run away.
I have chosen you
Why do you doubt the words I say.
Through it all I’ve been right by your side.
Ask me and you will not be denied.

Like a slave who wears the collar of a hard and cruel man
And is convinced that he deserves the treatment given.
Tortured to believing nothing’s ever going to change
Till you’ve forgotten there was ever more to living.

But as you struggle with your load
The messengers come down the road
And the slaver flees in fear as he beholds them.
They break your chains and set you free
To stand amazed in liberty
And at last they give the word that God has told them.

I have chosen you
And I will not turn you down,
I have chosen you
You were born to wear a crown.
I’ll give you what you need to carry on
Till all that stands opposed to you is gone.

And though the devil’s cut you down
And made you feel so small
I’ve seen your desperation
With your back against the wall
But I’ll still be here beside you
Even if you’ve given in
Until you see My love for you
Is all you need to win.

I have chosen you
And I will not turn you down,
I have chosen you
You were born to wear a crown.
I’ll give you what you need to carry on
Till all that stands opposed to you is gone.

I have chosen you
There’s no need to run away
I have chosen you
Why do you doubt the words I say
Through it all I’ve been right by your side
Ask Me now, you will not be denied.

Ask me now, you will not be denied
Ask me now, you will not be denied.

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Haggai signet.    http://blessendaniel.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/haggai_istock.jpg
stop whining sign.    http://edbatista.typepad.com/edbatista/images/2005/02/Stop%20Whining.jpg
silver and gold.   http://kardiaphoenix.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/silver-and-gold.jpg
shalom.   http://diarios.izcallibur.com/siguelboim/archives/paloma%20shalom.jpg
decayed body.    http://scrapetv.com/News/News%20Pages/usa/images-3/decayed-body.jpg

611.) Haggai 1

September 5, 2011

Of the 12 Minor Prophets, the first 9 spoke before Judah was carried away captive, exiled to Babylon. The last 3 Minor Prophets (Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi) each spoke to those who returned from the 70-year exile.

Haggai 1 (English Standard Version)

The Command to Rebuild the Temple

Zerubbabel had returned to Jerusalem in 538 B.C., along with about 50,000 Jews to rebuild the temple.  Over the years the returnees had become discouraged by opposition and had abandoned the project.  Haggai’s messages were delivered to encourage the Jews to complete the temple rebuilding project.  Haggai’s words were directed to the postexilic community 18 years after the initial return from exile.
–The Archaeological Study Bible, “An Introduction to Haggai”

1 In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month (August 29, 520 B.C.), the word of the LORD came by the hand of Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest: 2“Thus says the LORD of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the LORD.”

The citizens of Jerusalem  told themselves that it wasn’t time to resume work on the temple. There were some good reasons why they might say this, and why the work of rebuilding the temple was hard:

  • The land was still desolate after 70 years of neglect
  • The work was hard
  • They didn’t have a lot of money (Haggai 1:6) or manpower
  • They suffered crop failures and drought (Haggai 1:10-11)
  • Hostile enemies resisted the work (Ezra 4:1-5)
  • They remembered easier times in Babylon

_________________________

3Then the word of the LORD came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?

Psalm 132:3-5 (New International Version)

“I will not enter my house
   or go to my bed,
I will allow no sleep to my eyes
   or slumber to my eyelids,
till I find a place for the LORD,
   a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.”

_________________________

5Now, therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways.

The Hebrew figure of speech for this phrase is literally “put your heart on your roads.” Haggai asks God’s people to consider what direction their life is headed, and if they really want it to continue that way.

–David Guzik

6You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.

7“Thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways. 8Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the LORD.

Psalm 132:13-14 (New Living Translation)

  For the Lord has chosen Jerusalem;
      he has desired it for his home.
  “This is my resting place forever,” he said.
      “I will live here, for this is the home I desired.

9 You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the LORD of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house. 10Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. 11And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast, and on all their labors.”

Grain, wine, and olive oil were the three basic crops of the land.

_________________________

The opening statement of the sermon quotes the people concerning the task of building the temple. After the first return in 538 B.C., an abortive attempt had been made to rebuild. Due to the lack of economic resources, it was left unfinished. The people saw the continued economic plight as reason enough for the continued delay. Haggai had a contrasting point of view. The people thought that economics prohibited religious activity, whereas Haggai proclaimed that their economic plight was caused by their lack of religious commitment.

The theological basis of Haggai’s message lies in the Deuteronomic expression of the Mosaic covenant. How the nation responded to the demands of God as expressed in the covenant determined God’s response to them; obedience brought national peace and prosperity, but disobedience meant economic and political disaster along with disease and pestilence (Deut. 28).  Haggai applies this theology in his sermon.  The people survived, but they never had enough to satisfy their desires. Harvests were inadequate, and their money’s value eroded through inflation (v. 6). This was not due to the normal course of affairs, but because of God’s direct intervention. He was responsible for the droughts and poor harvests (vv. 9-11). 

–Asbury Bible Commentary

Psalm 128:1-2 (Contemporary English Version)

  The LORD will bless you

   if you respect him

   and obey his laws.

   Your fields will produce,

   and you will be happy

   and all will go well.

_________________________

The People Obey the LORD

12 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, 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 feared the LORD. 13Then Haggai, the messenger of the LORD, spoke to the people with the LORD’s message, “I am with you, declares the LORD.”

14And the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people. And they came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God, 15 on the twenty-fourth day of the month, in the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king (September 21, 520 B.C.).

The task of completing the temple became a joint venture as God himself encouraged (stirred up the spirit) the leaders and the people.

_________________________

Music:

“Consuming Fire”  by Hillsong.  Will we allow the Lord to stir US up?

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
establishing priorities.    http://www.heartlandomaha.org/images/content/whatsgoingon/series/haggai_web.jpg
stop making excuses.  http://www.vetschoolblog.com/files/photos/stop-making-excuses.jpg
living in a nice house.   http://mightymag.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Haggai.jpg
Enough is enough.    http://covers.openlibrary.org/w/id/729766-L.jpg