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Haggai – Consider your ways!

Author: Haggai 1:1 identifies the author of the Book of Haggai as the Prophet Haggai.

Date of Writing: The Book of Haggai was written in approximately 520 B.C.  Scarcely anything is known of his personal history. He may have been one of the captives taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. He began his ministry about sixteen years after the return of the Jews to Judah (ca. 520 BC).

Introduction

When you read this book you will notice that the theme of the prophecy of Haggai is "get busy and build the Lord's house." Now, although you may be crowded in your church, and have need of more space, the church building is not the house of God. In Haggai's day it was a picture or shadow of the true house of God. These shadows (as we learned in the New Testament) pointed toward the true house of God which is the believer, and collectively, all believers -- forming the great house of God which is the church, the place where God dwells. That is what God is interested in building.

4 messages preached by the prophet in this book

In this prophecy there are four messages dated by the calendar. Each one reveals an excuse given by the people for not working on the temple -- both their excuse and the real reason behind that excuse. Haggai delivers four messages to these people -- all within the space of about a year and a half, all concerning the building of the temple. But their deeper message, as I have already suggested, applies to us, the temple or the great house of God that he has been building for 20 centuries now. So we will read this prophecy not only as a message of the prophet to the people of his day about building the temple, but also as a message to the people of God everywhere concerning their responsibility in building the great house of God, the temple that the Holy Spirit has been building out of human hearts.

Purpose of Writing

Haggai sought to challenge the people of God concerning their priorities. He called them to reverence and glorify God by building the Temple in spite of local and official opposition. Haggai called them not to be discouraged because this Temple would not be quite as richly decorated as Solomon's. He exhorted them to turn from the uncleanness of their ways and to trust in God's sovereign power. The Book of Haggai is a reminder of the problems the people of God faced at this time, how the people courageously trusted in God and how God provided for their needs.

 

 

Key Verses:

Haggai 1:4-7 Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste? 5 Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. 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. 7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.

Haggai 2:9 The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.

Brief Summary

Will the people of God reconsider their priorities, take courage, and act on the basis of God's promises? God sought to warn the people to heed His words. Not only did God warn them, but He also offered promises through His servant Haggai to motivate them to follow Him. Because the people of God reversed their priorities and failed to put God in first place in their lives, Judah was sent into Babylonian exile. After the 70 years were fulfilled, Daniel, who prophesied in Babylon, tells us that God began to move to bring the people back to the land. They came first under Zerubbabel, who is mentioned in the opening verse of this prophecy of Haggai. Zerubbabel, who was descended from kings, was the captain of the remnant that came back from Babylon. When they came to Jerusalem, they found the city in ruins. The walls were broken down and the temple was utterly destroyed.

A group of Jews returned to their land with great joy, put God first in their lives, worshiped Him and began to rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem without the aid of the local people who lived in Palestine. Their courageous faith was met with opposition from the local people as well as the Persian government for approximately 15 years.

 

Foreshadowing’s

 As with most of the books of the minor prophets, Haggai ends with promises of restoration and blessing. In the last verse, Haggai 2:23  In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts. I believe here we see the coming Messiah is mentioned. He will descend from Zerubbabel and house of David; resuming of the messianic line interrupted by the Exile.  Zerubbabel reestablished the Davidic line of kings which would culminate in the millennial reign of Christ. Zerubbabel appears in the line of Christ on both Joseph’s side (Matt. 1:12) and Mary’s side (Luke 3:27).

 

Practical Application

The Book of Haggai draws attention to common problems most people face personally and in the church as a whole. Haggai asks us…

1) To examine our priorities to see if we are more interested in our own pleasures than doing the work of God.

2) To reject a defeatist attitude when we run into opposition or discouraging circumstances.

3) To confess our failures and seek to live pure lives before God.

4) To act courageously for God because we have the assurance that He is with us always and is in full control of our circumstances.

5) To rest secure in God's hands knowing that He will abundantly bless us as we faithfully serve Him.

            Haggai is an amazing book about real people faced with real situations and what they did, or didn’t do. The fact that the Lord reminds them on two occasions to “consider your ways” is a stark reminder to us to consider our ways. Every day we must take stock of our lives and the direction we are going. We must consider what we are doing and for whom we are doing it; always reminding ourselves that the Lord should and must be first in our lives. Too often our focus is on our own material possessions instead of heavenly things. Our thoughts on what we have and what we want instead of what we have in Christ and what He wants for our lives. The book of Haggai reminds a people just like you and I to concentrate first and foremost on the place God has in our lives. If we take an honest and serious look at our circumstances they may help us realize God is not in our thoughts or our lives. This kind of inspection happened on a grand scale to a whole people or nation the Jews; but for us, it needs to happen on an individual basis and so the local church and body of Christ might get its priorities in line with God’s will.

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted                                                                                                                     Dan Eberly

Mark 16:15 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."

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Co-Laborers Together
Daniel & Katherine Eberly

Agharina,
Dripsey Cork, Ireland

E-mail: eberlydc@juno.com
                        or
             dceberly@gmail.com

Sending Church

First Baptist Church of Southard
Pastor William Gaul
31 Hilltop Rd
Howell, NJ 07731
732-364-7636

 

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