Summary: When the work gets slow and workers are getting discouraged, a little motivation comes to us from the book of Haggai.
Consider Your Ways
Haggai was given four messages from the Lord for the people who returned from captivity in Babylon. But before we talk about the messages that he delivered, we must first understand the situation at hand.
To get the setup to the book of Haggai, you must go back to the book of Ezra chapter one. The Bible says that King Cyrus, fulfilling the word of the Lord sent out a proclamation throughout his kingdom. This proclamation was to send all of the people back to re-build the temple of God in Jerusalem. The former temple was destroyed with the people there were overthrown and taken into captivity.
These people had been in captivity for 70 years and now God is using a government official to fulfill His will in re-building the temple.
Read Ezra 1:4 – The king also encouraged the people, not only to go, but to support the ministry.
The Bible tells us in Ezra 2:64 that 42,360 people returned under the king’s opportunity to do God’s work. The people were excited about this opportunity and how God was going to use them to re-build what had been destroyed by man. But know that were God is at work – so is the enemy.
Ezra 4: We read of some crafty people who wanted nothing to do but hinder the work of God’s people. The Bible tells us that they joined up forces with those returning to Jerusalem and offered to help them with the construction.
*Not everyone who offers help to you has you in mind
*Not everyone who attends church on Sunday wants to see this church succeed
So these adversaries start talking. And when your adversaries begin talking you know something is about to happen. So they convince the newly appointed king who then stops the work. In his words, “until a decree is signed by me”
16 years have now gone by and the temple is still not completed. A new king was in power by the name of Darius. King Darius received a letter about the whole ordeal and he ordered a search to be done to see who ordered that this temple be rebuilt. During the search, King Darius finds that original order from King Cyrus.
Watch this: Not only did he find the order to rebuild but he also found (Ezra 6:8) where the total cost of the temple’s construction was to be paid out of the king’s tax treasury. God is so Good!
But the temple was incomplete for 16 years. That is when God raised up Haggai to share a word from the Lord. His message? “Consider your Ways”
Keep in mind (1st Samuel 3:1, “the word from the Lord was rare in those days, visions were infrequent”)
So the people knew that Haggai had something special to share with them.
During a four month period, Haggai shared four different messages concerning the temple and those who were building it.
I want us to take his first message and see what we can learn from Haggai’s message of: “Consider your Ways”
Things to watch for:
God will get the attention of His people
The importance of authentic worship
1. The Purpose of the Message:
Simply: The people stopped working
For 16 years, these people allowed the house of God to lay unfinished while they stayed in their own houses. Haggai was teaching them the importance of authentic worship.