Summary: Teaching of Gods covanent, Gods promise and the glory of his temple, the silver and gold are Gods and Gods alone, the blessings he brings to those who seek and love him and him alone
Intro - History
Haggai means festival, feast, festive, I get the impression from reading this book that Haggai was the least scary of the OT prophets, a man with a heart of love, not condemning but trying to help the people truly find God and all his blessings for them. The prophet was most likely born in exile, in Babylon, were the Jewish people were held for a 70 year period before a group about 50,000 strong returned to Jerusalem led by Zerubbabel. Some commentaries say the 70 years reflects the fact that the Jewish people were in Israel 490 years after being brought there from Egypt and they nether observed a Sabbath year every seventh year as commanded by God, to let the land rest, as they lived under the law, then they owed 70 years exactly! God gave the land rest. The prophet dated his work precisely, a joy to historians and the like, so we know this was written 520 years BC. That’s it on the dates and figures, lets look at the message.
Haggai brought four messages to the returning Jewish exiles and to us, the are:
Message of Conviction and proprieties
Message of Courage and faith
Message of Cleanliness and holiness
Message of Covenant and promise
These messages were about faithfulness to God, how God wants his people to bless him and glorify him, not themselves and how God will lead us to holiness if we let him. This is not prosperity teachings its more if you please God he will bless you if you don’t he won’t, its also not about earning God’s favour more butting him first in our lives and letting God lead us rather than us trying to lead God
Message of Conviction and proprieties
Hands up those who think they are God! Not many takers there, but Haggai underlines this message with "Give careful thought to your ways” cause clearly the danger is that many do either consciously or sub-consciously thing that they are. Why well the people were in danger of forgetting God, turning to their ways and doings, missing God and his wants “These people say” does not necessarily translate to “So says the Lord”. They said the time has not come for us to rebuild the Lords temple, so we will get on with building our own dwellings, we will use all our good things to make our homes like palaces after all, we owe it to ourselves after all that exile and trauma time for a bit of ME worship. That’s not how it is today, eh, we don’t worship material things, covert the high def TV, the car, the house big enough to be a church, the clothes with the right labels and shall I go on. But that was then and God can provide for himself can’t he, we of course he can that’s not the point, it’s a time to open eyes, minds and hearts and know that God gave us all that we have and expects us to surrender it back freely with a glad heart. Then why give it, well it’s a heart thing, God wants us to be dependent on him and not things, to love him and not ourselves. That’s what Haggai was telling the Israelites
”Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it."
Why, well Gods house was still in ruins while their houses were plaices and they justified themselves by claiming to know what God wanted. This is about priorities, what is important in our lives, is it truly full on God, honestly always putting God and his kingdom first, well we don’t do we, when we don’t guess what we hurt Gods feelings, he wants to see our love and gets our backs, wants our company and gets our shopping lists, wants our trust and gets our dissatisfaction, sometime we try and find happiness in everything but God and we don’t.
Heart of Worship
I’m coming back to the heart of worship, its not about me Lord but you – that’s what Haggai is saying here. This is about getting our priorities right and having the discipline to keep them that way. No I not asking us to commit to a three hour a day prayer time, a weekly two day fast or anything like that, don’t panic don’t e-mail the elders, no this is about putting God and Jesus first, what’s worship got to do with it, well everything actually. This is about being overtaken in love and awe with God, Jesus remembering what has done not what would he could do, but what he has done and showing the love he is due, simple love for love – that’s worship. So we love him in the desert place of a Monday morning on a crowded train of sneezing sad looking people, we love him in the land of plenty as we gather in fellowship with our brothers and sisters, we love him in the doctors surgery when we are told the lump is bad, when the bills come, when the children drive us mad, when, when, when – always that’s when the discipline is to turn to God and give praise always – its not easy but it means so much to him when we do gold and precious silver to God. Look at the affect this message had on the people in Jerusalem, God told his people “I am with you” he says the same to us, and their spirits were stirred, so today when God says I am with you don’t turn away, let the Holy Spirit lead you, stir you up and fill you. Then when stirred (not shaken) the people built the temple of God, this is true prophecy, words of encouragement and love that serve God but leave the people filled with a sense of the Holy the divine really a breath from eternity, cause that’s what God is about getting us ready to live with him and worshipping him forever, and ever! They came and began to work on the house of the LORD Almighty, their God, really when we turn to Jesus and give our lives and hearts to him, The Holy Sprit comes into us and starts building the temple of God in us in our hearts, that’s why we can become like Jesus