Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Haggai Notes

Haggai 1:1-13
Sermon Notes
House of Glory
October 18, 2015
Lynchburg, Virginia

         Haggai chapter 1:1, In the second year of Darius 521-4876. So, this is during the exile. This is August 29, 520 BC. 
The work began twenty-three days later on September 21 of 520.
Chapter 2:1-9 comes in October 17 of the same year.
Chapter 2:10-19 was delivered in December 18, three months after the work had begun.
Ezra 4:17-24- Cyrus had given a command to rebuild the Temple in 536 BC and some Jews had returned to Jerusalem in order to do so. However, factions rose up against them and the work was stopped. The work ceased until the second year of Darius, which was 16 years later in 520 BC.
The Samaritans resisted the building of the Temple and the work stopped. This gives us further understanding about the ancient rift between Jerusalem and Samaria.
In Ezra 5 and 6, the Jews appeal to the law of the decree of Cyrus. The documents are searched and the decree is found. Thereafter the command to rebuild the Temple with help from the general treasury of Darius is given and the work commences.
It is interesting to note that God gave them the command to build knowing that they would find opposition and that Darius had the military might to stop the work. The presence of dangerous enemies was no excuse for a failure to begin or for a failure to appeal to the law and pursue the matter through the courts.
The importance of the written word and rule of law is upheld. There is an indication here that the Jews were culpable before God for failing to do that which their enemies would not allow them to do. Since God can move kings and laws and restrain enemies, the people of God are called to do whatever the Lord calls them to.
This requires a great deal of faith. What if we fail? What if our enemies destroy us? What if the records are not found? What if the new king does not honor the old words? There are many reasons to not act. The only reason to act is faithfulness in faith.


In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying, 
This was August 29, 520 BC, 66 years after the destruction of Jerusalem.
Finished in the sixth year of Darius the king, 516BC, 70 years after exile. Thus, the years of exile are marked by the destruction and rebuilding of the Temple.

2 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD’S house should be built. 
The dates are important here. Cyrus issued a decree for some of the exiles to return and rebuild the Temple in 536. This was about 50 years after the destruction of Jerusalem under Nebuchadnezzer.
Over 46,000 did return and put in some foundation stones for the Temple. However, they left off the work as there was opposition. Furthermore, there were many disputes with those who occupied their land while they were away. Plus, they had to basically restart an entire economy, build houses that were torn down and abandoned for over 50 years. We can see why they would say, ‘The time is not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built.’

3 Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying,  4 Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste? 
God asks them through Haggai, is it time for you to live in ceiled houses while the Temple lays waste? They wouls say yes but God said no.

5 Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. 
God says, let’s think about this for a minute. How is it working out for you?

6 Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. 
The crops are not producing and people are hungry. There is a famine in the land. There is not enough water to keep them fully hydrated. There is drought. In winter time, they are in rags and cannot stay warm. They make little wages but the wages they do earn they burn through trying to stay alive.
Given that set of circumstances, the people may have answered and said, “You are right Lord. We need to sow more. We need to dig more wells. We need to get going on a clothing factory. We need to set up some banks and have a Dave Ramsay seminar.

7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.  8 Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD. 
What is the chied end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.
Who’s glory were the returned exiles concerned about?
But maybe they were glorifying God in their hearts? Maybe their hearts were for the Lord even if they did not work on the Temple?

9 Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house. 
The Scriptures tell us exactly why the people were not blessed. They were seeking their own welfare without concern as to God’s glory.
God’s says that He scattered their increase. They were working hard but it didn’t amount to anything because God did not bless it. Furthermore, God was working against them.
Why? Because they did not care about Him. He says, specifically, that because His house was waste while every man ran to his own house.
There is a great lesson here. We have lots of excuses why we don’t serve the living God. And we can say more than simply serving Him. God was concerned with the place of worship and a people of worship.
Throughout the Old Testament, the people of God often associate the Temple with the things they must do and the work that must be done. But from God’s perspective it is a place of blessing and rest. Who’s perspective is the right one?

10 Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit.  11 And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.
Because they were apathetic about rebuilding the Temple, the Lord did not bless them. In fact, you can read this list as  curses. No rain, little produce. Drought, famine. Bad wheat harvest so not enough bread. Bad wine harvest, so little wine. The oil of blessing is diminished.
Think about wheat and wine and oil. Body of Christ. The wine of forgiveness. The oil of the Holy Spirit. These were all in drought. Grace was absent.
Their labor did not produce 30, 60 and 100 fold. There was a net loss. In the land of promise, they were going backwards. No doubt, some of them thought they would have been better off to stay in Babylon.

Hag. 1:12   Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, 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 did fear before the LORD. 
Haggai’s preaching, along with Zechariah, had a tremendous affect. It produced confession, repentance and revival. The Spirit is poured out. Grace returns. Blessing comes.
Zerubbabel- Heir of Johoiachin, the cast away signet. Zerubabbel is the lasting signet, the throne of his father David, that will reign forever.
Joshua, the high priest. This is no coincidence that the re-establishment of the Temple and Covenant is Joshua.
The result of Haggai’s preaching is that the people feared before the Lord. This is to say that they became more concerned about His glory than their own. They feared what God had done and what He might do if they did not submit to Him. They returned to Him as obedient children.

13 Then spake Haggai the LORD’S messenger in the LORD’S message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the LORD.
When the people repent, the answer of the Lord is prompt. I am with you. Keep in mind that their repentance was in a few days and had only been a few days when the Lord tells them that He is with them.
Their disobedience had gone on for many years. The accumulation of curses had piled up. But God does not make us pay Him off. He takes our sins upon Himself and returns blessing to us. This is hard for us. We think we can pay off our sins or at least suffer long enough to appease God. But that won’t do. The scandal of the gospel is that you cannot do anything to make it right. You cannot pay for your sins. You cannot feel bad enough to appease God. You cannot suffer enough to make yourself feel good.
It is hard for the sinful man to simply confess all and receive full and free forgiveness. It seems like we would all run to this measure of grace but it is not so. You will only run to this measure of grace when you realize that you are so lost, that your sins are so dire, that you really have nothing to offer God but your old sinful self. That seems like nothing when compared to the price that Jesus paid for you. Your sinful self seems like nothing to offer God for His return of full pardon, life in this world with His forgiven saints, and the promise of life everlasting with Jesus Christ in heaven. But that is exactly the point. It is nothing compared to that. It is all grace. So, do you see the hopelessness of your condition without Christ? If so, you qualify. Come and rest. Come and be forgiven. Come and receive the blessing of the Lord.

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