Sermons

Summary: When we fall into a rut, or feel that our efforts are not worth God’s attention, God comes alongside as and reminds us that He is with us. Which means we shouldn’t get stuck in the moment and allow that to be the focus – we need to look beyond the moment to what God is doing.

You can listen to the full message here:-

http://www.nec.org.au/listen-to-a-sermon-series/jexit-judah-comes-home/

Jexit - Judah Comes Home

God is With Us - Always

Haggai

The last time we focussed on the returned exiles we discovered that they were in a bit of a rut in their spiritual lives.

The sacrifices had started to happen as the alter was in place. But there was no temple building as the temple foundation was being worked on.

But then enemies had come and frustrated their efforts of the Jews. “Why are you doing this? You shouldn’t be doing this.”

So, for 16 years nothing happened on the building because the people were distracted from serving the Lord.

We called this situation the Post Spiritual High Syndrome.

They are stuck in a rut.

So how do they get out of this rut?

Go to Ezra 5:1-2 which tells us what God did to get the people out of the rut.

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. 2 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Joshua son of Jozadak set to work to rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem. And the prophets of God were with them, supporting them.

Wouldn’t that be great.

You’re in a spiritual rut then God sends not one, but two, prophets to come and knock on your door and say, “we are the prophets of God to get you out of this rut.”

Basically they say “Right Yahweh has told me to tell you that it is time for you to stop moping around. There is a job to do. Get up and do it! … Thus says the Lord!””

Now that is not exactly what they said - but it is actually pretty close.

We know this is the case because the two prophets mentioned in Ezra 5:1-2 have left us with a testimony of their words … they are the third and second last books of the Old Testament - Haggai and Zechariah.

So we have a record of these prophets … not just that they existed, but also what they said.

Most of what is written in Haggai and Zechariah is spoken in 520BC.

Which is the second year after King Darius comes to the throne in Persia.

Which is at the end of the time of this rut.

And it is the messages of Haggai and Zechariah which get the building project going again.

Haggai and Zechariah are important prophets who speak an important message to the exiles who have come out of Babylon. So, as part of the Jexit Series, we will spend a few weeks looking at the words of these prophets. Starting with Haggai.

As we look at Haggai let’s recognise it isn’t a well-known book.

For one thing it only has 2 chapters ... 38 verses in all. That is 0.002% of the whole of the Old Testament. That would be like taking a tablespoon of water out of a bucket filled with water. So you can see why it is easy to overlook.

But not only that. The book of Haggai only talks about a very small slice of history. We know this because some very specific dates are mentioned.

• The first date is the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month (Hag.1:1).

• The last date is the twenty fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius (Hag.2:10).

When we convert that to fit with our modern calendar we get the following.

- the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month = 21st September 520BC.

- the twenty fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius = 18th December 520BC

So the slice of history covered is 112 days. 16 weeks. You can see why it is easy to overlook Haggai at times.

However, despite how small it is, the main issue that Haggai is dealing with is an issue we are now familiar with.

2 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.’”

3 Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your panelled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”

Haggai 1:2-4

Haggai has specifically come to deal with this rut.

The returned exiles are frustrated, drained and distracted. Everyone was saying it. The time has not yet come for the LORD’s house to be built.

It was convenient.

It was easy.

It was the wrong priority.

Everyone was saying it ... it must be true. But God is not saying it … so it isn’t true.

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