Summary: Is the Church building God’s Spiritual temple or has it slipped into spiritual apathy?
God is suffering “Cabin Fever” – Haggai 1:1-4
Special thanks to Robert Robb for his sermon outline www.sermoncentral.com
• Gabbie having to live in a shed for 6 years with three kids while their house was going to be built. Originally told it would only be 2 years
• I used to love getting her on the subject because she was ready to unload as she had a serious case of “cabin fever”
• Want to tell you right now God is suffering from “Cabin Fever” and wants us to do something about it
Today we are going over to one of the more obscure books of the Bible, one of the Minor Prophets, Haggai
• What is unique about this prophet’s message is that unlike his counterparts whose messages were ignored, Haggai message produced a positive response from God’s people
• It resulted in the people humbling themselves, responding to God’s Word and changing their ways
• The result of which was a great spiritual awakening in the land of Judah
• There are two themes that dominate the message of this book. They are Spiritual Apathy and Spiritual Awakening
• Today we are going to look first, the subject of Spiritual Apathy. Next time we will then consider the subject of Spiritual Awakening
Background to the Story
• In 586 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar invaded and overthrew Jerusalem. The city was raised to the ground and the temple was completely destroyed. God’s people were taken into Babylon as captives and they remained there for seventy years.
However although God punished them by means of the exile, he did not abandon them. He had promised that their captivity would not be permanent but would last for seventy years after which time they would be able to return to their homeland, rebuild the temple, offer sacrifices once again and restore Jerusalem.
In 536 BC the Babylonian empire fell to the Persians and their King, Cyrus, issued an edict giving permission to the Jews to return to Jerusalem with the express purpose of rebuilding the temple of the Lord – (Ezra 1:1) About 50,000 Jews took up the offer and under the leadership of Zerubabel, the political leader and Joshua, the religious leader, they returned to Jerusalem amid scenes of great joy.
Soon after their arrival they began work on the rebuilding of the temple. They cleared away the rubble from the temple court, rebuilt the altar of burnt offerings and recommenced the offering of daily sacrifice once again. By the following spring they had laid the foundation of the temple and there were great celebrations in Jerusalem at that time.
That however is when things began to unravel. The Samaritans, who were foreigners and pagans, had moved into Judah because of the vacuum created by the exile of the Jews came offering to help in the rebuilding project. Their offer was refused and they out of spite proceeded to do all that they could to frustrate the building work. They terrorized the people. They wrote letters to the authorities and eventually succeeded in getting the work stopped. The people of God became discouraged, their initial zeal waned, they no longer had any heart for the work and the temple lay unfinished. In the years that followed the people became increasingly concerned about their own personal affairs and for the next 14 years the work on the temple was neglected. The Work of rebuilding the temple should have been their top priority, that after all was the reason why they had been sent back to Jerusalem, but the work had been abandoned and with the passage of time the people became more and more apathetic towards the work.
• So this is the setting, the foundations of the temple have been laid, the altar is up and running, sacrifices are being offered, but that’s where it all came to an abrupt halt
• Work on building God’s House came to a standstill
• To understand this from God’s perspective, how would you like to live in a house that has no walls or a roof?
• By comparison our neighbor was lucky in her shed as she at least had four walls and a roof over her head
• So after 14 years God had a serious case of not just “cabin fever”, or “tent fever” but “open-air Fever”
• So He sends Haggai to shake people out of their spiritual apathy and remind them of their spiritual responsibilities to build his house
Haggai 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: 2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: "These people say, ’The time has not yet come for the LORD’s house to be built.’ “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 paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?"