Summary: Don’t underestimate what God can do through one man who is willing to serve Him. Don’t procrastinate when God speaks to you. When He speaks, He is addressing a need He sees in you.
When Solomon was king of Israel he built a beautiful temple in Jerusalem.
• People from all over the world came and saw this wonder and the Jewish people treasured the Temple because it was the place where God dwelled with man, the place where they worshipped Him.
• But as time went by, the nation began to turn from God and turn towards other nations’ gods.
• Civil war broke out and the Nation of Israel split into two Kingdoms.
The Northern Kingdom (Israel) rapidly went down hill and the Southern Kingdom (Judah) followed the same path, just at a slower rate.
The result of this turning away from God was Judah’s captivity by Babylon.
• When the Babylonians came in, they destroyed the beautiful Temple that Solomon had built for God.
• 70 long years passed and then God moved Cyrus of Persia to allow the Jews to return to Judah.
• About 50,000 people went back to Judah and when they arrived, nothing had changed. Everything was in shambles.
Immediately, the returnees set about to rebuild the temple and they re-laid the foundation during a great celebration; but then came opposition.
• The Samaritans (who hated the Jews) did not want to see the Jews prosper and so they kept hitting back at them until finally they just stopped rebuilding the Temple.
As the years passed, slowly but surely Jerusalem came to life again.
• Homes were built, stores opened, commerce established, fields planted, crops harvested, and life began to resemble something of a normal pattern; but there was a problem.
• The Temple foundation still lay in ruins overgrown with weeds.
• Every time the Jews passed it, it stood as a reminder of their failure to take care of God’s house.
This situation remains for 16 years. Finally God sent a prophet named Haggai to wake the people up from their slumber.
• In the book of Haggai, we have four clear distinct messages recorded; each beginning with the date it was given.
(1) Hag 1:1 “In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest.” = 29Aug 520 BC.
(2) Hag 2:1 “On the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai.” = 17Oct 520 BC.
(3) Hag 2:10 “On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Haggai.” = 18Dec 520 BC.
(4) Hag 2:20 “The word of the LORD came to Haggai a second time on the twenty-fourth day of the month.” - given on the same day, 18Dec 520 BC.
Haggai preached these 4 messages over a span of 4 months.
• From what we know, his ministry lasted only for that short period of time.
• We don’t know where he came from, we don’t know his lineage, his family - all we know is that he has come out of the exile, from Babylon with Zerubbabel.
• God had a purpose for him after 70 years in exile, and God had only 4 months for this man to minister.
And what’s the effect of his appeal?
• In just 24 days after his message, we see the people (led by their leader Zerubbabel and high priest Joshua) started work on reconstructing the Temple of God (Josh 1:14-15).
• The whole nation turned around and completed God’s task because one man spoke on His behalf.
(1) Don’t under-estimate what God can do through you.
We see this in Scriptures - God uses different people, in different places, over different periods of time, for different purposes.
• You cannot compare ministries – what you are called to do, what others are called to do.
• God uses all of us, in different ways. If we are made unique, then God doesn’t want us to copy someone else - He wants us to be ourselves, and do what He calls us to do.
• It may seem a small task, for only a short time, but God’s purpose is fulfilled because of your actions.
GIVE TO GOD SMALL THINGS
Fred Craddock writes, "We think giving our all to God is like taking a $1,000 bill, laying it on the table and saying, ’Here’s my life, Lord. I’m giving it to You.’ But that’s not how it works!
God sends us to the bank to cash the $1,000 bill - for 50-cent coins. Then He asks us to give 50 cents here, and $1.00 there; to teach a Sunday school class, volunteer your help at hospice, or just to clean up the sanctuary." Small things!