[CF Devotionals] 2004-06-20 - Haggai, Part 4

Please Note: This week, we present the introductory text for study. We recommend that you keep this copy - or your own Bible (even better) handy throughout the study.

  1. Conclusion of Introduction

    I want to close this introduction with the words of Dr. McGee from his. "Haggai constantly referred to the "word of the LORD" as the supreme authority. He willing humbled himself, that the Lord might be exalted. His message was practical. It was as simple and factual as 2+2=4. The prophecy of Haggai and the epistle of James have much in common. Both put an emphasis upon the daily grind. Action is spiritual. A "do nothing" attitude is wicked. Both place this yardstick down upon life. Work is the measure of life. Haggai's contemporary, Zechariah, was visionary and had his head in the clouds, but pragmatic Haggai had both feet on the ground. The man of action and the dreamer need to walk together. First Corinthians 15:58 can appropriately be written over this book: 'Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.'

    "There are two key verses in this book: 'God up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD … And the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the LORD of hosts, their God" (Hag. 1:8;14).'"

    Haggai 1:1-15

    On the first day of the sixth month of the second year that Darius was king of Persia, the LORD told Haggai the prophet to speak his message to the governor of Judah and to the high priest.So Haggai told Governor Zerubbabel and the High Priest Joshua that the LORD All-Powerful had said to them and to the People: "You say this isn't the right time to build a temple for me. But is it right for you to live in expensive houses, while my temple is a pile of ruins? Just look at what's happening. You harvest less than you plant, you never have enough to eat or drink, your clothes don't keep you warm, and your wages are stored in bags full of holes.Think about what I have said! But first, go to the hills and get wood for my temple, so I can take pride in it and be worshiped there. You expected much, but received only a little. And when you brought it home, I made that little disappear. Why have I done this? It's because you hurry off to build your own houses, while my temple is still in ruins. That's also why the dew doesn't fall and your harvest fails. And so, at my command everything will become barren—your farmland and pastures, your vineyards and olive trees, your animals and you yourselves. All your hard work will be for nothing."

    Zerubbabel and Joshua, together with the others who had returned from exile in Babylonia, obeyed the LORD's message spoken by his prophet Haggai, and they started showing proper respect for the LORD. Haggai then told them that the LORD had promised to be with them. So the LORD God All-Powerful made everyone eager to work on his temple, especially Zerubbabel and Joshua. And the work began on the twenty-fourth day of that same month.

    On the twenty-first day of the next month, the LORD told Haggai the prophet to speak this message to Governor Zerubbabel, the High Priest Joshua, and everyone else: Does anyone remember how glorious this temple used to be? Now it looks like nothing. But cheer up! Because I, the LORD All-Powerful will be here to help you with the work, just as I promised your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt. Don't worry. My Spirit is right here with you.Soon I will again shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake the nations, and their treasures will be brought here. Then the bright-ness of my glory will fill this temple. All silver and gold belong to me, and I promise that this new temple will be more glorious than the first one. I will also bless this city with peace. On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, the LORD God All-Powerful told the prophet Haggai to ask the priests for their opinion on the following matter: Suppose meat ready to be sacrificed to God is being carried in the folds of someone's clothing, and the clothing rubs against some bread or stew or wine or olive oil or any other food. Would those foods that were touched then become acceptable for sacrifice? "Of course not," the priests answered.Then Haggai said, Suppose someone has touched a dead body and is considered unacceptable to worship God. If that person touches these foods, would they become un-clear? "Of course they would," the priests answered.

    So the LORD told Haggai to say: That's how it is with this entire nation. Everything you do and every sacrifice you offer is unacceptable to me. But from now on, things will get better. Before you started laying the foundation for the temple, you recalled what life was like in the past. When you wanted twenty bushels of wheat, there were only ten, and when you wanted fifty jars of wine, there were only twenty. I made all of your hard work useless by sending mildew, mold, and hail—but you still did not return to me, your LORD.Today you have completed the foundation for my temple, so listen to what your future will be like. Although you have not yet harvested any grain, grapes, figs, pomegranates, or olives, I will richly bless you in the days ahead.That same day the Lord spoke to Haggai again and said: "Tell Governor Zerubbabel of Judah that I am going to shake the heavens and the earth and wipe out kings and their kingdoms. I will overturn war chariots, and then cavalry troops will start slaughtering each other. But tell my servant Zerubbabel that I, the Lord All-Powerful, have chosen him, and he will rule in my name."

To be continued...

Comments or Questions?

[email geoff] GKragen@aol.com