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Haggai A Case Study of Challenge & Promise
THE PROMISED BLESSING
Haggai the prophet was called by God to stir up His people. He was a spiritual motivational speaker who encouraged the people to once again visit the principles and tenants of God’s Word as well as rebuild the Temple. The Bible records very little information about his personal life! Haggai is the second shortest Book in the Old Testament of the Bible. The Key verse is, “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains in ruins…”
King Solomon had built the original grand magnificent Temple that now lay in ruins. The Temple had been demolished and destroyed by the armies of Babylon. Still neglected since the reign and rule of King Nebuchadnezzar. Now during the reign of the King Darius not to different from now, the people had again slipped back into their old behavior setting God’s principles to the side in order to fulfill their own selfish desires! While they comfortably lived in their “paneled homes" yet the Temple was left in total disarray! God no longer called the Temple His dwelling place. Therefore the heaven withheld rain and the earth did not produce fruit resulting in a drought. God throughout their history has always been Faithful to the children of Israel. Haggai reminded them of His faithfulness and all He had brought them through!
As one engages in the sole twin chapters of Haggai it is easy to imagine him going through the streets encouraging the people to get busy! Making God’s Way a priority was Haggai’s priority! Zerubbabel who was the governor of Judah and Joshua the high priest were instrumental leaders in encouraging the rebuilding the Temple and they are also the other key characters in the Book of Haggai . They had been discouraged because of much opposition from neighbors. Initially Haggai rebukes them. They had allowed their priorities to become confused. Some of their hardships had been brought on because of disobedience. God told them to be strong! Haggai was quite the encourager after a mere 23 days they had now begun to get busy! He reminded them, “This is what the Lord Almighty says: In a little while once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the land, I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nation shall come, and I will fill this house with Glory, says the Lord Almighty. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord Almighty. The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house, says the Lord Almighty And in this place I will grant Peace declares he Lord Almighty.”
Although they had faced difficulties God promise to be with them held true! His promise to shake the nations was for then, the future as well as now! Have you noticed the plethora of natural disasters that have been happening throughout this world! God is speaking! Therefore the world must get better at listening! There is NO recession in Heaven! "The earth is THE LORD'S and everything in it, the world and ALL who live in it; for HE founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters. Who may stand in HIs Holy Place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does NOT lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is FALSE!" Psalm 24. In the LORD you can discover ALL that you will ever NEED! Begin to seek HIM above all else! Spend some time today in the Presence of the LORD!
God told them He possessed the silver and gold that was necessary to rebuild the Temple. All the necessary resources He would supply. He told them to go to the mountains to get the wood. He would use their willing hands to do so. God affirmed Zerubbabel using the symbol of a signet ring which was a sign that He had chosen Him! It is confirmed in the Book of Ezra that their task was finally completed in four years. Haggai demonstrates the advantages of cohesively working together! The point really was for the people to once again recognize “God’s presence among them! What a wonderful inspiring message that came forth from Haggai! How often do we get busy when we know that God has told us to do something? They put their words into action! God assured them that He would provide guidance as they gave Him first place in their lives. We can look forward to God’s continued presence in our lives. We many years later have realized and received HIS indwelling promised Holy Spirit! Thank You Lord! We too must develop an ongoing personal intimate relationship with the Lord! It will make all the difference in the world! God can and will provide in the midst of famine or a recession!
A few of the older people were a bit disappointed since the former elegant beauty and quality of the former Temple did not compare! But again Haggai reminded them that it was “The Message from the Lord that was of most importance.” It is important as we get older to remain open and malleable. Becoming strong and steadfast does not mean being rigid and inflexible! Haggai was somewhere around (75) seventy-five at the time of this prophecy. The Lord can use anyone regardless as to how old or young they are, just as long as they are willing to obey Him! God has always intended that He be the Main priority in our daily lives. They were living in Hope of the coming Messiah; Jesus Christ who was still to come some 500 years later! God wanted to change the world through them, just like He wants to change the world through us. Opposition, discrimination, being misunderstood and persecution comes along with the territory! But as His children we are not to resort to manipulation, domination and controlling ways in order to do so. When we STAND for GOD; HE STANDS with us! Through JESUS CHRIST we already have THE VICTORY!
We must remember how history records how the children of Israel had left captivity in Egypt and wandered in the desert for forty years because of disobedience. They finally made it to the promised land guided by the Holy Spirit! Later in history they were once again led into Babylonian captivity! Each time God’s principles had become secondary and the ways of the world were embraced! They defiled themselves with idol worship and pagan beliefs and practices… The followed the ways of the world! They compromised His principles! God does not force His way into our lives But there are consequences for going against what He has to say! This is why it is important to know His Word!
God promises to “never leave nor forsake us” profusely permeates throughout the Scriptures! All the activity that surrounded the building of the Temple or just being in the Temple itself is not what would change the lives of the people. We must sincerely embrace and implement the treasures in His Holy Word within our lives... Holiness did not or will not just rub off on you! The Temple was built as a designated place to come and congregate to worship collectively! Haggai also stressed the importance of them worshiping God with their everyday lives! Our body is NOW a Temple for The LORD! We honor GOD when we live a "set apart life" for HIM! We are to be "In the world, but NOT of the world!" We have been created for HIS GLORY!
Haggai’s message encouraged them to return to, REPENT and embrace God’s principles of living and sanctify Him in their hearts! It is important that we too continually evaluate our relationship with the Lord and make sure that we have not made Him secondary in our lives. Yes, Haggai encouraged them to rebuild the Temple but His main priority was reminding them that their proper loyalties should be to God and to welcome His presence in their lives everyday! As the messenger he too had to subscribe to and embrace God’s principles! “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous, not returning evil for evil or reviling, but on the contrary Blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a Blessing. For He who would love life and see Good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do Good; Let him seek PEACE and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and are attentive to their prayer…” I Peter 3
Make GOD the first priority within your life! Even when we suffer for doing GOOD! GOD in HIS time will BLESS us! JESUS CHRIST is the reason for the HOPE that lies within! PRAISE GOD! & THANK YOU LORD!!!