Summary: What were the evidences of a spiritual awakening taking place under Haggi’s ministry?
Studies in The Book of Haggai
The Lord Jesus once told a parable about a farmer who went out to sow some seed in one of his fields. Although he sowed out the whole field there were places here and there where the soil quality differed and because of that some of the seed that he sowed, the seed that feel on the hard impenetrable soil of the man made pathway through the field, the seed that fell into the rocky soil and the seed that fell into the soil that was still full of thorns and briars, didn’t produce any crops. However the seed that fell into the good soil, soil that had been well ploughed up and cleared of anything that would hinder germination and growth, that seed produced a harvest for the farmer.
In explaining that parable the Lord Jesus said that the seed was the Word of God and the soil was the human heart and the main point of the parable was that only in those hearts which have been properly prepared to receive the Word will their be a positive response that will bring fruit to the glory of God.
Last week in our studies in the book of Haggai I pointed out that Haggai was one of the few O.T. Prophets who had the joy of seeing his ministry actually bearing fruit in the lives of those to whom he ministered. The people had been in a state of spiritual apathy for many years and had become so self-centred and worldly-minded in their outlook that the work of God (that is the rebuilding of the Temple) was being completely neglected. However as a result of Haggai’s preaching and the powerful work of God the Holy Spirit upon the hearts and minds of the people whereby the people were brought to the point of giving serious consideration to the message they heard and responding to the message in the way that God desired that they should respond to it there was a spiritual awakening, a spiritual revival among the people.
Last week we considered the CAUSES of that Spiritual awakening. This evening we want to consider the EVIDENCES of it and we find four such evidences in vs 12-15 of this first chapter.
The first evidence that a spiritual awakening was taking place among the people is seen in
1) The People’s Attitude Towards God:
And we find that at the end of v12 where we red these words “the people FEARED the Lord”
Prior to Haggai’s preaching the unfinished temple spoke volumes concerning the people’s attitude towards God. The fact that for over 15 years they couldn’t be bothered doing the work to which God had specifically called them, namely the rebuilding of the Temple, showed that the people had little concern for God glory and little reverence and regard for His person. Had they loved God sincerely, had they held him in reverence they would not have been so quick to abandon the work on the temple in favour of their own domestic building projects. But over the years their attitude towards God had changed. Instead of fearing God they began to adopt a much more laid back attitude towards Him. Their sense of the holiness and the power and the majesty and the authority of God became increasingly dulled, so much so that they were not troubled by the fact that they were putting all their time and energy and resources into their own personal projects while God’s house was lying in ruins.
Now however, after Haggai had delivered his first challenging message to them, we see a radical change in the people’s attitude towards God. Now the people “feared the Lord.” That is they were brought to the point where they once again saw God for who He was – The Sovereign, Holy, Righteous, Just, Almighty God upon whom they were totally dependant and to whom they were subject and accountable for their conduct. They became impressed once again with a sense of God’s greatness on the one hand and their own nothingness on the other. With a sense of God holiness and their awful sinfulness. With a sense of God’s goodness and their ungratefulness. And as they thought about such things their attitude towards God changed. The laid-back, couldn’t care less, disrespectful, irreverent attitude that had developed over the past 15 years was replaced by an attitude of reverence and respect and a healthy fear of God. One of the main reasons why they had been living the way they were living, one of the main reasons they had been sinning against God in ardently pursuing their own selfish desires while neglecting the work of God was because they no longer feared the Lord as they had once done. If ever there was going to be a change in their conduct before God there would first have to be a change in their attitude towards God. As a result of Haggai’s preaching and the work of the Spirit such a change in attitude came about. “The people feared the Lord.”