Summary: Second of Three messages from Haggai. This message covers God's third message to Israel through Haggai calling them to consider their future glory.
Chico Alliance Church
Pastor David Welch
"Consider Your Life”Pt 2
Introduction / Review
Last week we explored two of the five messages God sent through His prophet Haggai to the Israelites who had returned from 70 years of captivity in Babylon far from their beloved country Israel and capital city Jerusalem. Jerusalem had been left in rubble by the prolonged Babylonian siege of the city. Years later the Persian King Cyrus allowed a number of caravans to return to their country. A group of jubilant Jews at least 50,000 people made the 500 mile trek from Babylon back to their native country.
Ezra identified the completing reason to return to Jerusalem. Many were successful and tied to the Babylonian system and culture and gave up their comfortable lifestyle there. Why?
Then the heads of fathers' households of Judah and Benjamin and the priests and the Levites arose, even everyone whose spirit God had stirred to go up and rebuild the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem. Ezra 1:5
During the first two years of their return, they all enthusiastically teamed up to lay the foundations to rebuild Solomon’s temple which had been decimated by the Babylonians.
The temple was a focal point of the city and national identity as a nation chosen by God.
It was where God’s present manifested to the people.
It was where the community gathered for worship and celebration.
It was the designated place where sacrifice and repentance for sin took place.
The temple was essential for spiritual community to not just survive but grow.
So many significant movements of God flowed around the temple.
Due to the great leadership of Zerubbabel and Joshua and the dedication of the people, the foundation for the new temple was laid.
Now when the builders had laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, the priests stood in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the LORD according to the directions of King David of Israel. They sang, praising and giving thanks to the LORD, saying, "For He is good, for His lovingkindness is upon Israel forever." And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the LORD because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. Yet many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers' households, the old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, while many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the shout of joy from the sound of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard far away. Ezra 3:10-13
Shortly after, the enemies of God redoubled their efforts and succeed in putting a halt to the building for the next 16 years. Ezra’s historical account offers a bit further insight into the reason for the work stoppage. It seems that when the Hebrews began work on the foundation, the Samaritans who were the tribes of the North that had been deported and repatriated as a mixed race of people by the Assyrians came to offer their help rebuilding the temple.
Judah refused to let them participate. That triggered a vendetta against the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.
Then the people of the land discouraged the people of Judah, and frightened them from building, and hired counselors against them to frustrate their counsel all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia. (16 years) Ezra 4:4-5
They tattled on them to the new Persian King insinuating that this was an act of rebellion against him and the king ordered the work to be stopped.
Then as soon as the copy of King Artaxerxes' document was read before Rehum and Shimshai the scribe and their colleagues, they went in haste to Jerusalem to the Jews and stopped them by force of arms. Then work on the house of God in Jerusalem ceased, and it was stopped until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia. Ezra 4:23-24
After the foundation had been laid, the people were intimidated and afraid to do God’s work and did not think to fight it. They failed to assert their written authority to build and just quit. Subsequently, they became engrossed in their own projects and personal pursuits.
What has the enemy told you? How has the enemy intimidated you to stop ministry for the kingdom? Are you going to listen to God’s “GO” or the enemy’s “STOP”? Will you assert the authority written by God or the threats whispered by the enemy?
Know your authority and keep engaged. Spiritual focus was now out of focus and community spiritual life was no longer viewed as essential. They were caught up in living life on an earthly plane.