The Four Messages of Haggai

 

Hag 1:1  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, 

Hag 1:2  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. 

Hag 1:3  Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying, 

Hag 1:4  Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste? 

Hag 1:5  Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. 

Hag 1:6  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. 

Hag 1:7  Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. 

Hag 1:8  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. 

Hag 1:9  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. 

Hag 1:10  Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit. 

Hag 1:11  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. 

 

The world is changing, there are problems determining who is on your side or who against you. Immorality is rampant, the Word of God is neglected, people have basically turned their backs on God and God’s ways. Inflation is out of hand and money just doesn’t go as far as it once did. Greed and materialism is the order of the day. People spend what they don’t have yet never seem to have enough. Complacency and apathy is everywhere.

You very likely could read this in this morning’s newspaper.
However, this just described the state and conditions at the time that Haggai wrote this book in 520BC.

Things never change and the words that Haggai brought to the people in his day is as relevant to us today as it was to them.
Haggai challenges the people by saying many times:
Consider.
Five times in two short chapters, he uses this word.

Consider: Reflect seriously upon these things, whether it is consistent with the reason of things, don’t neglect them, don’t take them lightly, don’t just give a passing thought to them, but fixing your minds upon them; Consider these things.

Hag 1:5  Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
Hag 1:7  Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways
Hag 2:15  And now, I pray you, consider from this day and upward, from before a stone was laid upon a stone in the temple of the LORD: 
Hag 2:18 
Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the LORD'S temple was laid, consider it. 
 

Seriously, God says, look steadfastly at your Conduct, your Conversations, and the Consequences.
This is a message that is very relevant in our churches today.
Many Christians are busying themselves with all kinds of things but the things of God. God is not foremost in our thinking.


Haggai 1: You have sown much, and harvested little; you eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages earns wages to put them into a bag with holes.
Haggai 1:9
You have looked for much, and, lo, 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 lies in ruins, while you busy yourselves each with his own house.
 

What is happening? You may ask, We are so busy, we expect results and yet we see very little.

As congregations age and attendance dwindles. Busyness very often replaces the Word of God. People get tied up with the affairs of life and the mundane affairs of the church and forget the commission given to us by Jesus.
We scurry about trying to put things right, Trying anything to get people interested. Or we give up and leave things to others. The pastor will do it, or the elders will. He or she is more suited to that. I will just get on with life, I have enough to do, I am too busy.
The Jews had begun to rebuild the temple but because of opposition and because of complacency, the had ground to a halt.
The Israelites were in need of revival and Haggai was appealing to their conscience to stop their busyness and look at where they were headed.
God gave Haggai a message.
This sounds like a plan for today!

Haggai was old enough to remember the former temple and probably looked back to the times when God was blessing Israel.
There are many in our churches that are like the old of Haggai’s time and can look back to the 40s, 50s and 60s and early 70s when God moved in the UK.

I can remember a revival in the late 60s and early 70s when the church that I was involved with, multiplied its congregation by 200% in a very short time and these new people were not “churched”. They came out of the world, whole families and young teens. My family and I was such a family.
I can remember when the church was full with standing room only. This was not only in our church but this was happening all over the UK.

What was it that the church was doing right? Why was God blessing it?
Well! looking back, the church was Evangelical, Bible based, Outgoing and enthusiastic for the Gospel.
There were regular services, Bible studies, men’s and ladies groups, young people’s groups, prayer meetings, house groups, visiting groups and regular outreach to the community, whether by individuals or evangelistic groups..
People were taking Christianity seriously.
So, what has gone wrong?  Churches are closing left, right and centre.
Sadly, many of the churches that remain only have one meeting on a Sunday.

I remember not long ago taking my granddaughter who had just become a Christian around the local churches, attempting to show her the different types of churches and worship. I was hard pressed to find a local church that had an evening service.

Churches still have these kinds of meetings, maybe not as often, so what is missing?

Could it be that we are so busy with our own lives and busy with our particular church that we have forgotten those outside the church? WE have forgotten the very people that Christ came to save.
The commission of Christ was “
Go into the world and preach the Gospel”.

Haggai gives us the second shortest book in the Old Testament but he does not pull the punches in his few words.
He speaks of neglect in the church, inflation economically, which was causing problems for people, discouragement spiritually, and personal irresponsibility, Haggai does this using pointed questions and analogies.

As you look at our current events, the four messages of this old prophet are more than ripe for today . We need to hear all four badly!

We need to hear Haggai’s messages.

Consider your ways.
Haggai’s first message is a challenge against Apathy and Self  Centredness and Complacency towards God’s work.

God rebuked the Jews for being so preoccupied with their own houses while His house lay in ruins.  This is a clear warning for Christians today, not to live self-centred lives but to diligently apply themselves to the work of God.
Winning souls to Christ and advancing God's kingdom in the earth must be the priority of every professing Christian. It is not an option for Christians, but a command.

 

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

 

“Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your panelled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?”

We live in a time when people need the Gospel more than ever. It is not the time to place God and the Gospel on the back burner. We are seeing signs that the coming of Christ maybe near. We don’t have time to waste. We should be building the temple of God. His spiritual temple. We are the only way that God can reach the world for Christ. How will they hear unless God sends a preacher.
We must continue to share the Gospel with all that we meet. We may not see great revival in the same way that there was in past days.
However God is still redeeming His people. It is our responsibility to fulfil our commission, “Go into all the world and make disciples of all men”. WE must continue until the last soul is brought into the Kingdom. No man knows the time or the hour of Christ’s coming, so we should work whilst there is still time.


John 9:4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
It is the time to build.

.............................................

Hag 2:1  In the seventh month, in the one and twentieth day of the month, came the word of the LORD by the prophet Haggai, saying, 
Hag 2:2  Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and to the residue of the people, saying, 
Hag 2:3  Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing? 
Hag 2:4  Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts: 
Hag 2:5  According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not. 
Hag 2:6  For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; 
Hag 2:7  And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts. 
Hag 2:8  The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts. 
Hag 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. 


When we read of past revivals,

1. Pentecost 30 A.D. Peter, Ephesus, Paul.
2. The Pre-Reformation Revival 1300-1500 Lollards, John Wycliffe, Jan Hus.
3. The Reformation, 1517 Martin Luther, John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli, John Knox.
4. The First Great Awakening, 1727-1750  John Wesley, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards.
5. The Second Great Awakening 1780-1810 Cane Ridge.
6. The General Awakening 1830-1840 Charles Finney, Hawaii, Jamaica.
7. The Layman’s Revival 1857-1861 Phoebe Palmer, Lanphier, D. L. Moody.
8. The 1904 Revival, Beginning in Wales Evan Roberts, The Korean revival, the Moravian revival, The Azusa Street revival.
9. The World War II Revival 1935-1950 Billy Graham, Duncan .
Campbell, New Zealand.
10. The Baby Boomer Revival 1965-1970 The Jesus People, The Prairie
Revival, Asbury.

We wonder if we will ever see the like again. We are seeing a rise in apostasy all over the world. A great falling away, even the Reformation is being reversed, with evangelical churches swinging back to unity with Rome and a great effort to bring about a world global church, the unity of all faiths.
We read and hear about what seems to be revivals, but revivals of what?

Are these genuine revivals or are they based on experiential Christianity preaching a different Gospel of easy believism or that all roads lead to God.
The Bible is being replaced by experience, feelings and extra revelation. We have seen down through the years, how the Word of God has been eroded by revelations from people and religions such as  Islam and the Koran, Joseph Smith with the Book of Mormon. Charles Taze Russell with his Watchtower New World Translation, Ellen White with the Great Controversy. Other names, such as Herbert Armstrong, Alice Bailey and Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and many others.

We have seen the rise of the Apostolic Reformation, the Kansas City prophets, the Purpose Driven Life of Rick Warren and Peter Wagner, self styled apostles like Rick Joyner and Mike Bickle. We have seen the Bible being replaced by paraphrased versions like the Message and the Shack.
We are seeing the rise of the prosperity Gospel and the Word faith movement that preaches the lie of the devil that we can become little gods.
All these are signs of the end.
Jesus Himself warned of False prophets and false teachers in Matthews Gospel Ch 24.

 

Mat 24:4  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 

Mat 24:5  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 

Mat 24:11  And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 
Mat 24:12  And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 

2 Thessalonians 2: 1 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 
2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 
3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come 
unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 
4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.


Haggai’s second message is of Encouragement.

With all that is happening in the world and even in the church, we should not be discouraged, for we know that these things must come to pass before Christ returns.

The second message of Haggai is an encouraging sermon sent to heal the broken hearts of those that remembered the Temple’s former glory.
 

Hag 2:3  Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing? 

We must remember who was behind these great revivals of the past and be encouraged that it is the same God, the same Jesus and the same Holy Spirit that is still at work in the world today, bringing in the remaining remnant.

Hag 2: 4b for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts: 
Hag 2:5  According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not. 


God is still in control, He has not lost His power to save, He is still saving His people out of Egypt (the world), just as He brought us out of bondage and His Spirit remains in and amongst His church.

Hag 2:6  For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; 
Hag 2:7  And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts. 
Hag 2:8  The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts. 
Hag 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. 


The world may have turned away from God and His ways but we know that there is coming a day when God will prevail over the evil forces of the world. He is building His Temple, (His church) and one day, He will remove the church from the earth and He will pour out His wrath on the unbelieving world.

“and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land;” 

The most important part of this second message is the phrase, “Desire of All Nations,” this is a prophetic reference to the Messiah that would come to be the Saviour of the world. Jesus is our Hope! Jesus is still the Desire of All
Nations! He is the ONLY way, the ONLY truth, and the ONLY life.


John 14:6 I am the way, the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father but by Me.

He is the only Hope for the world.
Today we have a world that sees no future, comparing yesteryear with today and seeing nothing to get excited about. The “Desire of All Nations” stands ready to change lives, redeem, and set free any and all who will come to Him by faith.
How appropriate that the nations of the world are becoming blurred throughout the civilized world and our country in particular. We have a multicultural
audience that hungers, craves, and are drawn to the Desire of ALL Nations!
They may not know what it is they are needing, that it is only Jesus Christ that can fill that desire but it is our responsibility to tell them who it is they are in need of.

The same Holy Spirit that pricked the hearts of the listening Jews on the day of Pentecost, is the same Holy Spirit that can prick hearts today and regenerate hard hearts and turn them to Christ. He is still with us.
Hag 2: 4b for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts: 
The world is longing for peace but there can be no peace until Jesus returns.
Hagg 2: 9b and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts. 
............................................................

Hag 2:10  In the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying, 
Hag 2:11  Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying, 
Hag 2:12  If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No. 
Hag 2:13  Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean. 
Hag 2:14  Then answered Haggai, and said, So is this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the LORD; and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean. 
Hag 2:15  And now, I pray you, consider from this day and upward, from before a stone was laid upon a stone in the temple of the LORD: 
Hag 2:16  Since those days were, when one came to an heap of twenty measures, there were but ten: when one came to the pressfat for to draw out fifty vessels out of the press, there were but twenty. 
Hag 2:17  I smote you with blasting and with mildew and with hail in all the labours of your hands; yet ye turned not to me, saith the LORD. 
Hag 2:18  Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the LORD'S temple was laid, consider it. 
Hag 2:19  Is the seed yet in the barn? yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day will I bless you. 


Haggai’s third message is about how we should behave whilst we work and wait for the coming Messiah.
Haggai’s third message is a call to holiness and right living.


Hag 2:15  And now, I pray you, consider from this day and upward, from before a stone was laid upon a stone in the temple of the LORD: 

1 Peter 2:5-9 5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

How should we behave whilst waiting for the bridegroom.
Haggai uses here, obedience to the law as a way of bringing to their attention the way that each one should act.
This again is as relevant to us today as it was to those at the time of Haggai.
What Haggai is saying here is wake up from your unholy, complacent  lives and put into practice those things that are pleasing to God.


Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication,
uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

6 For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.
8 But now ye also
put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
9 Lie not one to another,
seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

In the light of what is happening in the world today, we as Christians have an obligation to live holy lives amidst a world that is becoming more corrupt. Amidst the sexual immorality, the greed, the inhumanity to man, we are to be the salt and light in a perverse world. We must show that there is a better way to live than selfishness and greed and that this life can only be found in the transforming power of God by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit.
We must listen to the message of Haggai and show the world a different way.


1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;
 

Hag 2:20  And again the word of the LORD came unto Haggai in the four and twentieth day of the month, saying, 
Hag 2:21  Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth; 
Hag 2:22  And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will
destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will
overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother. 
Hag 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. 

 

The final message from Haggai is a victorious message.

Our hope is in God through Christ.

Haggai tells Judah that in the end God will conquer their enemies, they will be victorious, and He will make them a prized possession because He has chosen them (2:21-23).
 

Hag 2: 21b I will shake the heavens and the earth; 
Hag 2:22  And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother. 
Hag 2:23b, for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts. 


Haggai is revealing through prophecy, the things that will happen at the end of the age, that God and His church will triumph over evil.
This reminds us of the words of Jesus:
Matt 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
 

We are reminded of the Apostle Paul’s words, in Ephesians.
Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

This is a completed work, all these are in the past perfect tense.

Foreknown, Predestined, Called, Justified, and Glorified.

Rom 8:29  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 
Rom 8:30 
Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 
 

We live in a time when depression is all around us, there does not seem to be any good news. What news there is tends to emotionally handicap, rather than encourage us.
Discouragement in the church is at an all time high. “What is the point”? one may ask.
Haggai’s message of victory is very needed today in our churches.
If only we would take heart and press on in the knowledge of Christ and the fact that we have read the end of the book.
The Lord is victorious.

 

Today we need the Haggai sermons.
We need the harsh message to stir us up to action, to get off our  comfortable fences, to rid ourselves of our complacency and fulfil the commission of Christ to go into the world and preach the Gospel.

We need Haggai’s message of Encouragement to help us realise afresh what we have and what we are in Christ. Not to look back in discouragement but to press on into the future.

We need Haggai’s message to examine ourselves and put right the things that are wrong in our lives. Haggai’s challenge to live holy lives to the glory of the name of Christ.

Finally, we need Haggai’s message to recognise that as the scriptures say,


Romans 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

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