Summary: Ever lost your passion for the things of God in your life? Does the local church seem to be in a dry season? God wants us to have a zealousness for Him and His things,He wants to restore the passion we have for Him. Lessons from Haggai.
RESTORING THE PASSION
Ever lost your passion for the things of God in your life? Does the local church seem to be in a dry season? Are you losing hope? God wants us to have a zealousness for Him and His things, He wants to restore the passion we have for Him and allow our individual and corporate temples to be filled with His Glory. Lessons from Ezra and Haggai.
Haggai Chapter 1
Background: Haggai was a post-exilic prophet, he prophesied to the the remnant people who had been allowed to return under Cyrus King of Persia to Jerusalem under the leadership of Zerubbabel and had commenced to rebuild the temple. The temple represents the presence of the Lord.
First the people had to rebuild the altar and reinstate the prescribed sacrifices both went smoothly and work on the temple commenced until opposition arose and the people reverted back to an old Babylonian method of life putting themselves before God.
This sermon looks at the opposition that comes our way, our response to it and God’s remedy for it.
The remnant was those people who responded to God’s call to return to Him in fullness as noted in the Book of Ezra. We learn that they were:
1. Obedient (Left Babylon – a place they had become secure in to go to what seemed a devastated land)
2. Faithful – to what God called them to do
3. United – Ezra 3:1
4. Worshipers – Ezra 3:3
5. Servants – Ezra 3:1
Just like many of us who follow God then when opposition comes it seems without knowing it we lose our zest and return to old habits and thinking.
We know that whatever we undertake for God that the Devil is going to oppose we are not always aware how or when but in Ezra we find his tactics…
1. Let us help Ezra 4:2 they came to Zerubbabel and the heads of the fathers’ houses, and said to them, “Let us build with you, for we seek your God as you do; and we have sacrificed to Him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, who brought us here.”
2. Discourage the work Ezra 4:4 Then the people of the land tried to discourage the people of Judah. They troubled them in building,
3. Frustrate their plans Ezra 4:5 and hired counselors against them to frustrate their purpose all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.
4. Accusation Ezra 4:6 In the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.
The work stops - Ezra 4:24 Thus the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem ceased, and it was discontinued until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.
This then is the tactic of the enemy to oppose first through infiltration and as each tactic is thwarted to discourage, frustrate and accuse until the work ceases.
Three Results of Opposition
1. Apathy - Haggai 1:2,4 “Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, saying: ‘This people says, “The time has not come, the time that the LORD’s house should be built.” ’ ”4 “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?”
2. Discouragement - Haggai 1:9 “You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?” says the LORD of hosts. “Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house.
3. Defilement - Haggai 1:10-11 “Therefore the heavens above you withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit. “For I called for a drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain and the new wine and the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands
Haggai 1:7-8 Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways! “Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,” says the LORD
1. Seek God First – Mountains speak of seeking the Lord
2. Submit to God - allow Jesus to minister to your life – wood speaks of the Branch Jesus, He is our building material
3. Stir your spirit in the Holy Spirit – allow the Holy Spirit to impart life and desire to you
Haggai 1:12-14 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him; and the people feared the presence of the LORD. Then Haggai, the LORD’s messenger, spoke the LORD’s message to the people, saying, “I am with you, says the LORD.” So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God,