Summary: A sermon examining the restoration that is possible for those who have turned from the Heavenly Father.
A Timeline Of Restoration
Chuck Swindoll shared the following story "A few years ago, an angry man rushed through the Rijks Museum in Amsterdam until he reached Rembrandt's famous painting "Nightwatch." Then he took out a knife and slashed it repeatedly before he could be stopped. A short time later, a distraught, hostile man slipped into St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome with a hammer and began to smash Michelangelo's beautiful sculpture The Pieta. Two cherished works of art were severely damaged. But what did officials do? Throw them out and forget about them? Absolutely not! Using the best experts, who worked with the utmost care and precision, they made every effort to restore the treasures. By His sovereign grace, God can bring good out of our failures, and even out of our sins." (source:sermonillustrations.com)
- Whether you are restoring a historic building, a vintage home, an antique car or a priceless piece of art, restoration takes time. The same is true when it comes to spiritual restoration. When God begins to do a work in the lives of His people there are certain phases that take place. There are times when God's children turn from Him. Often this is followed by a time of rebellion when that individual refuses to acknowledge his/her sin. Then comes a time of chastisement or discipline where God gets the attention of that backslider. Then comes a time of realization, when that person acknowledges their sin. This must be coupled with repentance and returning to the Heavenly Father. When this occurs restoration is now possible. And after restoration then progress and fruitfulness is possible. If you are not where you should be in your walk with the Lord, my prayer is that the process of restoration begins in you today.
- For the past few weeks we have been examining the restoration process of the Temple in Jerusalem. In Chapter one we covered the idleness and inactivity of Israel. God confronted and rebuked them because they were building luxurious homes for themselves while the Temple lay in ruins. Through the prophet Haggai the Lord called on His people to consider their ways. They heeded God's warning and began to work to build the Temple.
- As we arrive at the midway point of Chapter 2 it becomes apparent that more than the Temple was being restored. Though it was important to the Lord that the Temple was rebuilt... His main concern was not the brick and mortar that comprised this building First and foremost God wanted to see the relationship between He and His people restored. He wanted to see their worship restored, He wanted to see their service restored and ultimately He wanted to see their obedience restored. As the people began to lay the foundation of the new Temple, each of these things began to take place.
- In verses 10-19 God reveals to Israel where they had been, where they were and where they were going. When you look closely at this timeline it is apparent that the steps that Israel took back then, are the steps that some need to take today. I would like to consider this passage and examine "A Timeline Of Restoration".
Before the people began to make progress they first had to come to the realization that it was time to rebuild the Temple. They had to turn from their inactivity and misplaced priorities. They have done just that ...and now they are at a good place. At this point, Israel was about 3 months into the restoration process. In September they began to gather the materials and make preparations. Now on December 21st the Lord sent the people a message through Haggai. The first thing that was addressed in this discourse was:
I. The Past Sin Of God's People v10-14
- Israel had gone through a period of sinfulness and rebellion. Now God addresses their sin with the intention of preventing them from returning to it. Notice that:
A. God Explains Sin - The Lord prompted Haggai to ask the Priests a question. He asked " If a priest is carrying meat from a holy sacrifice in his robes and that robe touches some bread or stew, wine or oil, or any other food, will it become holy?’” - The priests rightly answered "no"
- Then Haggai gives the priests another scenario. He asked "If someone becomes unclean (ceremonially) by touching a dead body and then they touch bread or stew, wine or olive oil, or any other food will the food become defiled?" - The priests correctly responded "yes".
- This point of the Law is explained in Numbers 19:11 - "He that touches the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days." - The Mosaic System taught that ceremonial cleanliness was not transferable from one person to another or one thing to another. Likewise the Law made it clear that ceremonial un-cleanliness was indeed transferable. What this means is that anything an unclean person touched was considered unclean.