Summary: Last of three messages from Haggai drawing observations from the last two of God's five messages to Israel.
Chico Alliance Church
Pastor David Welch
"Consider Your Life” Pt 3
God had given favor in the eyes of Cyrus the Persian ruler and he allowed them to return to their homeland. God stirred the hearts of nearly 50,000 people to pack up and leave their familiar surroundings. Some of the young people had grown up in Babylon and had never even seen their homeland. The stirring was to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple of the Lord a place demonstrating the centrality of God in their nation. As soon as they arrived, they began work on the temple. Their enemies to the north had a different idea and told the new king of Persia that the Jews were building a fortified building in order to rebel against him.
The Persian ruler put a stop work order and the Jews stopped working for the next 16 years.
The reality is that the stop work order was obtained under false pretenses because Cyrus the previous ruler had in fact given them permission to build the temple. Because they Jews failed to assert their actual authority to build, progress was stopped, the stirred hearts went cold and God allowed their lives to turn difficult. They turned their passions to their own priorities in their own timing. Not unlike what happens when we let Satan, the enemy of our souls, threaten us under false pretenses. God sent Haggai and Zechariah to let them know just how He felt about the whole situation. We have been revisiting the 5 messages of Haggai.
I. Message One -- Consider your calendar (timing) and adjust it to God’s 1:1-2
This is what the Lord Almighty says:
"These people say, `The time has not yet come for the Lord's house to be built.'" 1:1-2
The finishing of the temple was frankly not even scheduled.
The second message came through Haggai on the same day.
II. Message Two -- Consider your priorities and get to work on God’s stuff first 1:3-15
A. Haggai proclaimed the message from God 1:3-4
Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying, "Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house lies desolate?" 1:3-4
Thus says the LORD of hosts, "Consider your ways!” Go up to the mountains, bring wood and rebuild the temple, that I may be pleased with it and be glorified," says the LORD. 1:7-8
Get back to work on the temple in order to please me and that I may again manifest my glory.
B. The people responded to the message
1. The people heard with their heart
2. The people demonstrated reverence for God
3. God affirmed his commitment to them “I am with you!”
4. God stirred their heart for the work 1:14 (Second time)
5. The people went to work (obeyed the call)
and they came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month in the second year of Darius the king. 1:14-15
They went to work in spite of the enemy’s treat. They should have stood up to them 16 years earlier. They lost 16 years of pleasing and glorifying God as well as 16 years of fruitfulness. The consequences of listening to the enemy’s treats were real. They ended up with a self-centered focus. They were displeasing to God. They put themselves under discipline – the Lord “blew” on their life. This time, they stood their ground. This time, the Persian Rule Darius checked the facts. They indeed had permission to rebuild. Darius was familiar with backfires on the enemies of the Jews. His father was married to Queen Esther who saved her people from annihilation due to the conspiracy of Haman who ended up on a gallows along with his family.
God LOVES to turn it back on His enemies. The message thus far is to give God’s projects first priority.
III. Message Three - Consider the future glory and be encouraged 2:1-9
These people had become thoroughly discouraged when they compared the present temple with what some of them remembered of Solomon’s glorious temple. These were probably some of the same people who had been discouraged at the completion of the foundation.
In comparison to Solomon’s glorious temple, this rebuilt version seemed lame. Solomon’s temple had been a glorious building: one of the great wonders of the world. It had been built with the imported cedars of Lebanon, had been decked out with precious stones and the whole thing had been overlaid with tons of gold and silver. The altar, the cherubim, the floor, the front porch and the holy of holies were all covered in gold. Even the nails were gold.
Now a month later, the people who remembered the glory of Solomon’s temple found this task discouraging. They found no delight in completing the task because it seemed anticlimactic. Often our work seems to be inadequate and inconsequential. We can get discouraged at what things look like compared to history or even other churches.