Summary: First of three messages drawing principles from Haggai. This message looks at God's first two admonitions to consider their calendar and their priorities.
Chico Alliance Church
Pastor David Welch
"Consider Your Life” Pt 1
Have you ever worked your head off and found little satisfaction when it was all over? Do you feel like the more money you earn the less there seems to be? Does whatever you do feel like a pointless chore or a bitter task generating little results? Do you try to save, but when it comes to spending what you saved or set aside, it obtains far less than expected? Do you feel like you are consuming more and enjoying it less? If you find yourself answering yes to any of these questions, you may find a cause and a solution by considering five little messages sent by God to the Israelites through the prophet Haggai. The same things that caused the Israelites to experience many of these things are true in our generation as well. God called them to consider life from an eternal perspective.
God called them to consider their calendars.
He called them to consider their priorities.
He called them to consider their future potential.
He called them to consider their failure to fully follow God.
He called them to consider His promise of victory.
The united kingdom of Israel had become a good sized and notorious nation under David and Solomon. Solomon's son did not follow good advice and caused the kingdom to split into the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and the Southern kingdom (Judah). A splinter group that occurs from dissension rarely does very well and thus the Northern kingdom continued in sin their whole existence; both the people and the kings. In 722BC God finally followed through on numerous prophetic warnings of judgment by sending the ruthless Assyrians to ravage the land and deport the people. The Southern kingdom roller coastered up and down until God administered final judgment and captivity at the hand of Babylonians about 586BC. After 7 difficult decades of discipline by the Lord, the Jews finally realized their reoccurring rebellion and idolatrous ways.
In answer to their prayers, God caused them to find favor under Persian ruler and allowed them to return to their own land in various caravans. These were the remnant. These were not the same rebellious people who refused to give up their other gods earlier. These were those who had been humbled and finally learned the lesson of trusting God alone. A group of these god-fearing people returned under the leadership of Zerrubabel. Upon arrival, they immediately set up an altar to the Lord and set about to rebuild the temple. Within the year (536) they managed to restore the foundations for the temple. They had sacrificed their resources and managed to gather significant financing; nearly five million in gold and another half million in silver had been collected. However, due some hardship and preoccupation with other things, construction on the temple came to a halt up till the time of Haggai and Zechariah. (520 -- a period of about 16 years). That is the state of things at the time that God commissions Haggai to address the situation.
These were good people, in the right place who got sidetracked along the way. These were people used to sacrifice and hardship leaving the glory of Babylon with all its wealth to start over and scratch a new world in a decimated land. Somehow, in spite of their devotion to God, they found themselves sidetracked from the goal. God used Haggai to deliver five pointed messages delivered over a four month period to get them back on track. We will consider those messages today and next week looking for what principles and similarities can be drawn and applied concerning the people of Chico Alliance. What can we learn about how God feels and what He expects of us from His words spoken through His faithful ambassador some 2500 years ago?
I. Message One -- Consider your calendar (timing) and adjust it to God’s 1:1-2
These people had taken it upon themselves to dictate the timing for doing God’s will.
In the second year of Darius the king (of the Persian Empire), on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the LORD came by the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying, Zerubbabel was the one who had lead a caravan from Babylon back to Jerusalem. (BC 538)
Within 2 years of their return they began to rebuild the temple (BC 536). They got a foundation laid and then all work stopped. Sixteen years later, God sent Haggai to the civil and religious leaders. The “word of the Lord” indicates a direct message for a specific situation. This would be considered a “rhema”. This was the Lord applying the written word to a specific situation and time.