(Second of three of a series on Haggai)
In 1933 the church I now pastor experienced a terrible tragedy. The church building burned! Imagine how the people of a small country church must have felt when their church home was destroyed. And this happened in the middle of the Great Depression. Although I wasn't around at that time, I'm sure the people needed some encouraging words.
There are so many people today who need encouraging words. There is so much sickness, so many accidents, so much sorrow, so many hard feelings, and so much sin.
Such was the case also
in the days of Haggai. He was a prophet in
Haggai was one of two prophets who encouraged the building program. The other was Zechariah. Haggai told the people to get busy, or today he might have said "Just do it!" In Haggai 1:12-15 we are told that the leaders and people listened and returned to building the temple.
Haggai rebuked his listeners in chapter 1. He gives them encouraging words in 2:1-9.
THE PROBLEM OF SIZE - Vss. 1-3
Vs. 2- Haggai's message was directed to the civic leaders, religious leaders and the people themselves.
Vs. 3 - He addresses the fact that many of the older men were discouraging the people, because they were remembering what the previous temple looked like. It was much larger. When we compare ourselves to others or to the past, it is easy to become discouraged.
THE PRESCRIPTION OF SERVICE - Vss. 4-5
Haggai's antidote for the discouragement is a prescription of service that contains four thoughts.
1. "Be strong" - Vs. 4
2. "Work" - Vs. 4
3. "I am with you" - Vss. 4-5
4. "Fear not" - Vs. 5
THE PROSPECT OF SUCCESS - Vss. 6-9
A shaking will take place. I believe that this will be when Christ establishes His kingdom. Vss. 6-7
He promised to fill His house with glory.
I believe He's talking about the Millennial temple.
The glory of the Millennial temple will be greater than the glory of what was the current temple. Vss. 8-9
THE DIVINE QUIZ
(#3 of 3 in series on Haggai)
Ever since the early days of television there have been quiz shoes. Recently there has been a resurgence in these shows with the success of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" These programs test the wit and intelligence of contestants.
Many of us enjoy quiz shows, but shows are not the only places we encounter quizzes. A "quiz" in school is a mini test. And when you want information at home you may "quiz" your wife, husband, or children. Even the boss at work may "quiz" you about the status of a certain project.
In Haggai 2:10-19 we have what I have labeled "The Divine Quiz". Here is quiz in which God is asking the questions. He does it for a reason. He does it knowing the right answers, so that He might explain and apply what is being said in way of an answer.
Haggai was one of the twelve Minor Prophets.
He wrote during the time
A group came back with the express purpose of building the temple. The altar was rebuilt and the important sacrifices were reinstated.
The foundation for a new temple was laid and then the work stopped.
Through the preaching of Haggai and Zechariah work once again began on the temple.
INQUIRY - Vss. 10-14
In verses 10-11 God simply instructs Haggai to ask certain questions of the priests for an interpretation of the Law. In verse 12 the question was given. If a man is carrying a piece of "holy flesh", meat sacrificed on the altar, and accidentally touches bread, food wine, or oil with his garment, will this make the thing touched holy?
The answer given by the priests was "no". Leviticus 24:4 explains that a man who is unclean is not to eat of the holy sacrifice. If that holy sacrifice can not make a man clean, it can not make anything else clean either.
The application for us today is very simple. A person will not be clean enough to go to heaven because he hangs around Christians. Being born into a Christian family does not make you a Christian. Going to a Christian church does not make you a Christian. The church and family will influence you to become a Christian, but do not save you. As valuable as the Christian Family and Church are, every person must decide for himself to become a Christian.
The same principle is true of living a Godly Christian life. Hanging around Godly Christians will influence you in a positive way, but hanging around them does not make you Godly. It is obeying God and living as He wants you to live that makes you Godly.
The second question Haggai asked had to do with people touching a dead body. A dead body was considered unclean or unholy. Scripture teaches that if a person or priest touch a dead body he is ruled "unclean". The things he touches are also unclean according to Scriptures and the priests of Haggai's day. Vs. 13
EXPLANATION - Vss. 14-17
Disobedience reaps judgment.
Haggai relates directly to the people.
The people had been in the process of service and sacrifice and yet were unclean.
Vs. 14 - God explains that their disobedience concerning the rebuilding of the temple meant that God could not be pleased with their service to God or their sacrifices. Because they were unclean in one area, they were unclean in all areas. No matter how much service or sacrifice we perform, if there is known sin in our lives God is not pleased. 1 Peter 1:15-16, 1 Corinthians 5:6, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Vss. 15-16 - God is explaining and asking them to think about what they reaped when they were not doing the Lord's will. Because they were unclean through disobedience, the results of their labors amounted to very little. God was judging them. Deuteronomy 8:5-6, Galatians 6:7
ENCOURAGEMENT - Vss. 18-19
Although God had withheld his blessing because of disobedience, now that they were being obedient God would now bless them. When we repent and do what God wants us to do, we will reap the blessings of God.
(You might want to use King Saul as an example of disobedience and the consequences thereof. See 1 Samuel 15.)