Summary: Haggai encourages God’s people who have become discourged in God’s Work
Studies in Haggai
Ch 2v 1-9
One of the greatest joys that a minister of the gospel can experience is to see his ministry bearing fruit in the lives of his people. To see for example men and women brought through the preaching of the Word to the point where they become acutely aware of their sinful condemned state before Almighty God and realising the awful eternal consequences of their spiritual condition and knowing that they cannot appease God and bring about reconciliation by anything they do, they turn to Jesus Christ and by faith embrace him and trust him as their saviour. Or to see those who have been saved but who have not been living as disciplined and as obedient a Christian life as they should, to see them responding to the preaching of the Word which challenges their sin, by humbly recognising and admitting their failings and addressing those areas in their lives where change is needed and bringing them into line with what God desires of them. This is what every true minister of the gospel longs for, prays for and rejoices in when it happens.
Haggai experienced such a response to the message he brought to the people to whom he ministered. He must have been a very happy man on the 24th day of the September in the year 520BC. because that was the day when he saw concrete evidence of the change of heart that had taken place in the people as they recommenced the work on the rebuilding of the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. He witnessed a renewed commitment by the Lord’s people to the Lord’s work. Apathy was replaced by zeal. Self-centredness had given place to God-centredness. Spiritual things took priority over material things as the Lord revived his people.
Of course where you have a people who are committed to serving the Lord, a people who are enthusiastically engaging in the work of the Lord, where the Lord’s work is going forward, there you will also find Satan at work trying to do what he can to hinder the work or to bring it to a complete standstill. We have seen how he did that with great success in the early days of the return of this people to Jerusalem. How he moved the Samaritans to oppose the work of the rebuilding of the temple and convinced the people in Jerusalem to cease from that work and give more attention to the building of their own houses than to the building of the house of God.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon – “Satan is always doing his utmost to stay the work of God. He hindered these Jews from building the temple; and today he endeavours to hinder the people of God from spreading the gospel. A Spiritual temple is to be builded for the Most High, and if by any means the evil one can delay its uprising he will stick at nothing: if he can take us off from working with faith and courage for the glory of God he will be sure to do it. He is very cunning, and knows how to change his argument and yet keep his design. Little cares he how he works, so long as he can hurt the cause of God.”
Brethren, one of Satan’s primary goals is to hurt the cause of God in whatever way he can. And the evil one has many weapons in his arsenal that he will use, as appropriate, with a view to achieving his aim. Sometimes he uses opposition, as he did in this case. Sometimes he stirs up division within the ranks of the people of God knowing that a divided people will not work as effectively as a united people. At other times he use the tactics of compromise at other times the tactics of diversion at other times the tactics of temptation. Of all the weapons Satan has at his disposal one of his most effective, and one which he has used time and time again to hinder the work of God is that of discouragement. He knows that if he can get the people of God to become disheartened, to become discouraged, to despair over their efforts he is well on the way to achieving his evil designs.
Well this was exactly the weapon that Satan decided he would use in an effort to put a damper on the renewed spiritual fervour that had come upon the people of God in Jerusalem.
Haggai Chapter 2v1-9, the section of this book to which we turn our thoughts this evening, is God’s message of encouragement to a discouraged people.
As we turn to this section this evening notice with me first of all
1) The Reason For Their Discouragement: