Summary: Because of their love for God, they choose to leave the comforts they had preferred for the rigors of rebuilding their home land. They were zealous for the house of God and they had left many of their friends, family members, and comfortable lives behind.
Throughout the month of October, our church celebrates our 125-year heritage. And as we celebrate all that God has done for us, we know that God is continuing to do a great work even now. This past week a young man emailed me the following message:
I just felt the need to let you know what a blessing attending this church has been on our lives. It is still uncertain on if we will be relocated with my job. Regardless, if our time at Van Buren First Baptist is coming to an end, the few short months we have been attending have been nothing short of life changing for us as a family. We have always been “in church” but did not realize how dead we were spiritually. Personally, God has used the men in the Adult 2 class as examples to inspire me to actively seek out more of a relationship with the Lord. It has been great to be a part of a group of men who have such a passion for the God. I know that [my wife] feels the same way about the women she has bonded with.
God has used [this church] to bless me greatly and to wake me u [sic] to the fact that I was just going through the motions for many years. While I am sad to think about moving and having to leave this church family, I know that God is in control and has a plan for us, and that the course we are on now has been radically changed by God's grace and the fact that we started attending Van Buren First Baptist. Thank you again for opening your doors to us.”
Outside of the Old Testament book of Obadiah, Haggai is the smallest book in the Old Testament. At just two chapters, the book is a mere thirty-eight verses long. Little is know about the author of the book. Haggai himself is only mentioned in one place, the book of Ezra. My guess is many of you have never heard a sermon from this small book and may have never known of its existence.
In the second year of Darius (pronounced Da’ ri’ us) the king, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel (pronounced She’ l’ tee’ l), governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest: 2 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.” 3 Then the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? 5 Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. 6 You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.
7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. 8 Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the Lord. 9 You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house. 10 Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. 11 And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast, and on all their labors.”
12 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him. And the people feared the Lord. 13 Then Haggai, the messenger of the Lord, spoke to the people with the Lord's message, “I am with you, declares the Lord.” 14 And the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people. And they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, 15 on the twenty-fourth day of the month, in the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king” (Haggai 1: 1-15)