Summary: God gave Zerubbabel, the leader of Judah, a prophetic word to give him hope and perspective. God will establish His Kingdom and no earthly powers can thwart it and He will bring in the King who will rule over His Kingdom, the Messiah.
The book of Haggai has FOUR messages for the people of God, to encourage them to return to the rebuilding of God’s house.
• Today we will end this book with Haggai’s fourth and last message.
- The first message was a wake-up call for them to return to God’s work.
- The second message was an assurance that God is with them and will help them.
- The third message was a reminder to stay clean and obedient to God.
- In this last message God spoke to Zerubbabel to assure him of a great future.
Let’s read Haggai 2:20-23. The shortest of the 4 messages.
Haggai gave his first Word from the Lord on the 1st day of the 6th month (1:1).
• The second was given on the 21st day of the 7th month (2:1), 1½ month later.
• The third on 24th day of the 9th month (2:10), nearing 4 months, and the fourth message was on the same day, God spoke a second time on the same day.
• Haggai gave 4 messages from God over a span of 4 months. Short but significant.
They started work on God’s house on the 24th day of the 6th month (1:15), and the message we read came on the 24th of the 9th month; that just 3 months into the work.
• How long did they take to complete this Temple? 4½ years (Ezra 6:15). They completed it on 12th month of King Darius’ 6th year. It’s now in the King’s 2nd year.
• It was at the early stage of the rebuilding and clearly the challenges were there.
But God did not abandon His people. He spoke to address their needs.
• Haggai was there for 4 months but God had another prophet Zechariah, who spoke throughout the rebuilding until its completion, and even beyond.
• We will be looking at his messages beginning next Sunday, the book of Zechariah.
Ezra 5:1 “Now Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the prophet, a descendant of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them.”
Ezra 6:14 “So the elders of the Jews continued to build and prosper under the preaching of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah, a descendant of Iddo. They finished building the temple according to the command of the God of Israel and the decrees of Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes, kings of Persia.”
Don’t undermine your ministry even though you think it is SMALL and SHORT.
• Haggai’s work was significant, almost life-changing. Many significant works of God were short but life-changing, like John the Baptist and Jesus.
• God speaks to encourage His people and urges them into doing His will, THEN AND NOW. He is doing the same today. We respond to His call to serve and do His will.
The difficulties will be there and we can be discouraged. The remedy to that is to HEAR the Word of God again, like what is happening here.
• God speaks to His people to get them back to His work, to stay on track and finish it, despite all the difficulties.
• Not that the task is easy but that this is the will of God for them.
The fourth message was specifically given to Zerubbabel, the leader of the group.
• God directed his attention away from the present problems to the glorious future He has planned for Israel and particularly through Zerubbabel’s family.
• God states what He will do (six times he says I WILL). One is to establish His Kingdom, the other to make Zerubbabel like His signet ring.
• And no earthly powers can stand in the way of what God has planned.
FIRST PROPHESY OR PROMISE
From the words that the Lord used about shaking heavens and earth, overthrowing royal thrones, shattering of the power of foreign kingdoms, overthrowing chariots and drivers, horses and riders, there are terms familiar to Zerubbabel.
• They were warfare references about the powers of the nations that Israel has been contending with over the centuries.
• They were formidable forces and Zerubbabel was likely intimidated. A leader of a small nation that has just returned from captivity, surrounded by bigger nations and under the rule of a huge empire, Judah looked really small.
• Coupled with the difficulties of rebuilding the Temple, we could imagine how Zerubbabel might have felt. We heard it already in Haggai’s second message.
If we listen to what Zechariah says, we will have a clearer picture.
(I’m not going to say much because we are covering the book of Zechariah, but just want to quote you two verses from Zechariah 4.)
• Zech 4:7 "What are you, O mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of `God bless it! God bless it!'"