Summary: How God changed spiritual apapathy into Spiritual awakening
Limavady Reformed Presbyterian Church
Studies in Haggai
Over the past three Sabbath Mornings in our studies in the Book of Haggai we have been considering the subject of Spiritual Apathy among the people of God and we have seen that such was the condition of God’s people in Haggai’s day. We looked at the evidences of their Spiritual Apathy, The Causes of their Spiritual Apathy and the Consequences of their Spiritual Apathy and in each case we sought to make a practical application of what we discovered to our own day and generation and our own lives.
The wonderful thing about the book of Haggai is that although it starts off on a very negative note, pointing out the sins and failures of the people of God, it is nevertheless a very positive and encouraging book, because it goes on to chronicle the wonderful spiritual revival that took place among God’s people resulting in the people turning from their sin and rededicating themselves to the work to which God had called them.
Haggai saw what very few of the prophets of the Old Testament era saw as a result of their preaching, and what many a preacher today would give their right arm to see, namely, a positive response by the people of God to the preaching of the Word of God. In short he witnessed a spiritual revival among God’s people that resulted in observable, tangible changes taking place in their lives, changes that brought their lives into conformity with God’s will for them.
Having spent the last three weeks considerng the prevailing spiritual apathy among the people of God we want this evening to begin to look at the more positive and more encouraging subject of the wonderful Spiritual Awakening that took place among the Lord’s people. I want us to consider the cause of this Spiritual Awakening. How did this change come about? What was it that made the people take up once again the work of God that they had neglected for so long.
Well there were three things.
First of all there was
1) Faithful Preaching of the Word of God:
On the first day of the sixth month in the second year of Darius the king something happened in Jerusalem that hadn’t happened for many years. God spoke to the people through a prophet. Ezra had ministered t the people upon their return, but Ezra’s primary role was that of priest and any message he brought to the people from the Lord was by way of expounding and explaining those revelations of God’s will which had previously been given in the Law. God hadn’t actually spoken to the people through a prophet for many years. This of course was one of the consequences of their past sins. Because of the way they had mistreated the prophets of God in the past when they had spoken the Word of God to them - ignoring them, ridiculing them, persecuting them, killing them, God had said that he would punish them by sending a famine of the Word. In other words God was no longer going to speak to them. And for many a long year there was silence from heaven. No prophets came forward with an authoritative “Thus saith the Lord.” And despite the fact that the people who had returned from Babylon had been in a state of spiritual apathy for some 16years and as such deserved nothing but punishment from God on account of their sin, God in his grace had purposed to change them and to bless them and one of the means he was going to use to bring about this change to awaken his people was by sending them a man who would declare the Word of God to them. That man was Haggai. The message Haggai was to bring to the people was a
(a) Relevant Message:
What I mean by that is he dealt with the issues that needed to be addressed and he told them what God thought about the matter and what God wanted them to do about it. He knew the major area in which the people were sinning against God and it was that subject that constituted the substance of his message to them. He didn’t come along and speak to them about how the Sabbath was to be observed, or about the fact that they were not to return to worshipping idols, nor did he remind them of the sinfulness of murder, NO! He scratched where it itched. He dealt with the immediate major spiritual problem in the life of the people – their sin of spiritual apathy and all that was included in that – their self-centredness, their woldly-mindedness and their ungratefulness to God for all that he had done for them. He pointed to the ruins of the temple and told them what God thought about their neglect of that important work.