Summary: The Israelites were concerned more about building their own houses rather than God’s house. Their priorities were totally misplaced. So, God gives this message to His prophet to rebuke His people. Please take time to give your feedback for this sermon.
Build God’s House!
(Preached first on 18/01/2009, Sunday)
Title: “Build God’s House!”
Passage (Text): Haggai 1:1-15
Introduction (Secure Attention):
Have you ever thought along these lines, “I am going to serve the Lord after I grow old.”
“I want to work for God but I’m too busy.”
“I want to serve God but I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to do anything at all for the Lord.”
If you had any thoughts like that, then you will have an idea about what these post-exilic Jews thought.
Brief Background of the Passage:
Haggai was a prophet who, along with Zechariah, encouraged the returned exiles to rebuild the temple (see Ezr 5:1-2; 6:14).
Here, explain briefly as to why they went into Babylon as exiles.
In 538 B.C. the conqueror of Babylon, Cyrus king of Persia, issued a decree allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple (see Ezr 1:2-4; 6:3-5).
Led by Zerubbabel, about 50,000 Jews journeyed home and began work on the temple.
About two years later (536) they completed the foundation amid great rejoicing (Ezr 3:8-10).
Their success aroused the Samaritans and other neighbors who feared the political and religious implications of a rebuilt temple in a thriving Jewish state.
They therefore opposed the project vigorously and managed to halt work until Darius the Great became king of Persia in 522 B.C. (Ezr 4:1-5, 24).
The Jews were more to blame for their inactivity than their opponents, and Haggai tried to arouse them from their lethargy.
About 18 years went by between the return of the exiles and the rebuilding of the temple. This delay is what brings forth the message of Haggai in 520 B.C.
Haggai preached four sermons to the Jews.
In 516 B.C. the temple was finished and dedicated (Ezr 6:15-18).
The Exegetical Idea (The Exegetical Theme):
Since the Jews became spiritually lethargic, God exhorted them to build His house.
Fallen Condition Focus (FCF; Demonstrate the relevance of the sermon to the contemporary audience):
Since Christians, like the post-exilic Jews, can easily become spiritually lethargic, we need to remind ourselves that we need to do the work of the Lord.
God encourages His people to do His work.
Sermonic Interrogative (Interrogative Sentence):
How does the Lord encourage us to do His work?
The Lord encourages us to do His work by taking us through the following steps (Key Word) that He used for the Jews.
I. God will Rebuke us (vv. 1-6, 9-11).
Verse 1 says that the Word of the Lord came to Haggai in the second year of Darius, King of Persia.
This is the first of the four sermons that Haggai preached to the Jews.
Here we see that God Almighty is rebuking His people.
The Reason for Rebuke (vv. 2-4).
These people. Because of their sin, the nation is not called "my people" (cf. 2:14).
Why is the Lord rebuking them?
The reason that the Lord is rebuking the people is because they were making lame excuses that “the time has not yet come for Lord’s house to be built” (Read v. 2).
While the Israelites were thinking about their own selves and their families, they had completely forgotten about the Lord’s house (Read vv. 3-4).