Sermons

Summary: God warns the people that their holiness is not based on them or what they can do, but it comes directly from Him.God calls them to a submission and obedience which He blesses... but will not bless if that obedience is not sustained.

10On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, 11"Thus says the LORD of hosts: Ask the priests about the law: 12'If someone carries holy meat in the fold of his garment and touches with his fold bread or stew or wine or oil or any kind of food, does it become holy?'" The priests answered and said, "No." 13Then Haggai said, "If someone who is unclean by contact with a dead body touches any of these, does it become unclean?" The priests answered and said, "It does become unclean." 14Then Haggai answered and said, "So is it with this people, and with this nation before me, declares the LORD, and so with every work of their hands. And what they offer there is unclean. 15Now then, consider from this day onward. Before stone was placed upon stone in the temple of the LORD, 16how did you fare? When one came to a heap of twenty measures, there were but ten. When one came to the wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were but twenty. 17I struck you and all the products of your toil with blight and with mildew and with hail, yet you did not turn to me, declares the LORD. 18Consider from this day onward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month. Since the day that the foundation of the LORD’s temple was laid, consider: 19Is the seed yet in the barn? Indeed, the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have yielded nothing. But from this day on I will bless you."

Let’s look at these verses and break down the message that Haggai is bringing to the Hebrew nations at this time… beginning with v.10:

10On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet,

Some interesting observations I see in this particular message from God…

As it has been done throughout this entire book, the prophet makes yet another announcement. He stresses the time of the announcement and from whom the message is coming…

Finally the prophet does let the readers and listeners know who is delivering the message of God, and it is the prophet Haggai…

The message is not directed immediately toward the leadership and then to the people but it seems to be directed straight to the general population, almost as if God were addressing an attitude that was prevailing among the people at the time...

The timing of this message is noted, it comes to the people after they had been working on the Temple for over 3 months and over 2 months since God had promised great things for the nation if they would be obedient. It could be that during these 3 months some attitudes had arisen and God wanted to address them and eliminate the negative attitudes that may have been prevailing within the hearts of the people.

11"Thus says the LORD of hosts: Ask the priests about the law: 12'If someone carries holy meat in the fold of his garment and touches with his fold bread or stew or wine or oil or any kind of food, does it become holy?'" The priests answered and said, "No." 13Then Haggai said, "If someone who is unclean by contact with a dead body touches any of these, does it become unclean?" The priests answered and said, "It does become unclean."

The scenario is being set… the message from God is laying out a scenario that asks questions from the people (answered by the priests)… questions that ALL the people would have known and fully understood. These were very basic, elementary questions, almost child-like in their appearance... questions that almost the youngest child could have answered.

God was asking these questions, NOT to learn the answers, but God was asking these questions to open the eyes and hearts of the people. The questions God uses in this scenario are questions of ‘clean’ or ‘holy’ VS ‘unclean’ or ‘unholy’…

The term ‘holy’ here is the Hebrew term, Koh-desh which represents a separateness, set apart for the purpose of God. The Greek word that is used for this is Haggioss which we translate as holy or saint… either means to be set aside for the express purpose of God.

The term here refers to ‘holy’ meat, or meat that has been sacrificed on the altar and has been made sacred through the sacrifice. That meat was not thrown away but it then became food for the priests… but it was still considered to be holy or clean!

The nation understood the difference between clean and unclean… between holy and defiled… so God’s questions were not to educate, but it was to draw a mental picture for the nation… an illustration to get a point across!

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