Summary: This is the 1st sermon in the "A Time To..." series from Haggai. (This sermon and series is updated from 2004.)
Series: A Time To… [#1]
A TIME TO LISTEN
On Wednesday Night, we listened to concerns about our Fall Festival. Have we forgotten the purpose of our event? Can we do more to lead people to Christ? It has given me a lot to think about. Are we just having events and services and then going home? Have we lost our drive? Have we forgotten our purpose?
When Solomon was the King of Israel, he built a beautiful Temple in Jerusalem. People from all over the world came and saw this wonder and the Jewish people treasured the Temple because it was the place where God dwelled with man. But as time went by, Solomon and the Jewish people began to turn from God and turn towards other nations’ gods. Civil war broke out and the Nation of Israel split into 2 Kingdoms. The Northern Kingdom (Israel) rapidly went down hill and the Southern Kingdom (Judah) followed the same path, just at a slower rate. The result of this turning away from God was Judah’s captivity by Babylon. When the Babylonians came in, they destroyed the beautiful Temple that Solomon had built for God.
50 long years passed and then, God raised up Cyrus of Persia who allowed the Jews to return to Judah. About 50,000 people went back to Judah and when they arrived, nothing had changed. Everything was in shambles. Immediately, the returnee’s set about to rebuild the Temple and they re-laid the foundation during a great celebration; but then came opposition. The Samaritans (who hated the Jews) did not want to see the Jews prosper and so they kept “hammering away” at them until finally they just stopped rebuilding the Temple.
As the years passed, slowly but surely Jerusalem came to life again. Homes were built, stores opened, commerce established, fields planted, crops harvested, and life began to resemble something of a normal pattern; but there was a problem. The Temple foundation still lay in ruins overgrown with weeds. Every time the Jews passed it, it stood as a reminder of their failure to take care of God’s House. 16 years had gone by, and then God sent a preacher named Haggai who preached 4 short sermons over a 5 month period.
Haggai 1:1 (NIV)
1 In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest.
This morning we need to listen intently to Haggai’s sermon because it is useful for us today. Today is a time to listen.
Haggai 1:2 (NIV)
2 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.’”
This is what…
1. God does not want to hear.
The people were making excuses. I can hear their excuses now. “God wants us to take care of our own families, doesn’t He?” “The job is too big.” “Not our fault so it’s not our job.” “Someone else will do it if we don’t.” “We need to pray about it some more.” “I don’t think we need a Temple anyway.” “The time just isn’t right.” “Our motives are good, but we’re just too busy.” They were looking for a better and easier time; but the result was the same in every case- Delay, delay, and delay. It’s always easy to make excuses when you don’t want to obey God. God does not want to hear our excuses.
Haggai 1:3-4 (NIV)
3 Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”
This is what…
2. God does not want to see.
Please understand, there is nothing wrong with having a nice home. This isn’t an attack on riches or big houses. At that time most people lived in tiny stone houses, but the Jews were building large paneled homes. They had completely forgotten about God while they improved their own things. God does not want to see us doing our own thing and ignoring His plan.
Haggai 1:5-6, 9-11 (NIV)
5 Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” 9 “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. 10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11 I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.”