The Book of Haggai

“Is the seed still in the barn? As yet the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have not yielded fruit. But from this day I will bless you.’ ” Haggai 2:19 NKJV

This book is such a sweet blessing for me in this time and this verse, as my business has not yet yielded the kinds of fruit I expected – I am still in the provider’s hands and He will bless me and provide for me. And it is incredibly poignant for the world we live in. We are in a season of humility and repentance and yet so many are complacently asleep in the church – apathetic to what is about to go down if we do not repent.
I know, we all hoped I would stop crying “REPENT AND GET HUMBLE FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND!” But I just can’t stop. It’s not too late yet (at least I hope when it is no longer time, God will change the message).

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you and give us wisdom. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is from the book of Haggai, chapters 1-2 (embedded below the image below for your convenience).  Apathy, our choices matter, how sins contaminates, and response of humility and action.

This book also has dates – most people pass over them not realizing any significance beside historical value.  The decree to leave Babylon and rebuild the temple was 16 years before the first date in this book, which was actually the 29th day of August, in the year 520 bc! This book is built around dates so we know exactly when it happened as well as understanding the time periods. Haggai calls for humility, repentance – and a call to action – to act in obedience.  We also see through the dates that when they did take action and repent, God changed the situation in 3 weeks.
Was this “3 weeks to transformation” just for the years in the Five-Hundreds BC? Or does it also apply today? If God could change nations and people in 3 weeks – can he give us the grace and transformation in our current environment? Or is it too late? Can we hold back evil? Or are we the evil we are praying to hold back?  

Oof – yeah, I said that. It’s called apathy. It is not that you have a cold, hardened or uncaring heart – you just got lost in the dark, your eyes adjusted – so you never turned on the light. In the people of Haggai’s time – they had a hold (or a pause) in the building project (remember from Ezra) and then became apathetic and had not returned to the project.  You set out to do the work of the Lord, but the cares of this world choked it out. You still pray – quickly in the car on the way to work. But you miss the point of the relationship.  Sunday’s message was good – the blog devotional you read was good, the Social Media sermon was good – but you sit in apathy unaware of your dire condition!! (Referring of course to the universal “you”.)
God is clearing saying ‘get humble’ – and I watch the apathetic stand tall proclaiming proudly their salvation. But their pride is their very undoing. Be humble and confident in Him. Your salvation declaration should be meek bathed in His power and authority (not our own) – and the power behind that will make every demon and flesh mad.  It is a form of godliness without denying the power thereof!!

Chapter 2 begins with describing the frustration and discouragement – God made a change in them.  A three week change. And now 7 weeks since they started and they expected to be 17 years along on the project – but they were only 7 weeks along.  There expectations did not match reality – did reality match God’s will?  They lived in fear because the physical world and spiritual world did not mirror each other. (Reminds me of our modern world!)

This is reminiscent of every single work of the Lord – Moses who was discouraged because he doesn’t speak well. Joshua who needed to be more courageous, like he was in his youth (do not lose the zeal)!
God WANTS to do a work through us and for us – God doesn’t need us. Be honored by the call even if it is to clean the bathroom in a smaller than expected ministry. Be honored, humble, and obedient.

So God calls them out on their apathy, they repent and get discouraged, and God is building them back up!! God is SO GOOD!

God is having them rebuild the temple – let us think about how we are the temple! In this we are participating in the act with them – Let God encourage us with these same scriptures.

For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the Lord of hosts.” Haggai 2:6-9

In Him we are greater than our former selves. In Him we are trust fund babies – because He has all the funds! In Him we have peace! Glory to God!! Stay humble my friend – just like you will not give abundance to the haughty child who claims it as his own, neither will God – it will go to the thankful and humble one.

Chapter 3 needs its own day – but we are not allotted that.  Light will shine in darkness. But light is not contagious. Sin, corruptions and darkness spread and rub off on everything it touches – a bad apple really will ruin the whole.  You see – evil corrupts good and not the other way around. Light exposes sins and evil. Then GOD must step in with the transforming power of grace to clean it and give it light. So you walk into an evil situation accidentally and not called into it, to be the force to overthrow it – be careful because the God in you is not going to interrupt what the evil is doing – that is not how this works. We do not rub off on them. There needs to be intention. And evil doesn’t sleep and its intention is to spread.  Pulling us into captivity because we acted out of a kind heart in a situation of evil which we did not understand. Grace teaches us this lesson – and grace draws us back into repentance when found in this situation.

God has chapter 3 here just for teach us about which way things spread. And only HE can make a bad apple new.  It is a dynamic lesson in spiritual warfare and associations, contact and interaction.  Now, before some wise guy wants to email me saying that Jesus hung out with sinners – Let me give a quick lesson. You are right. And if we do not have contact with sinners who are we going to share the gospel with?! We will interact with intension and prayed up – and in obedience! If God did not send you then you labor in vain; so get out of there! This topic really needs a whole day to itself. Thankfully, you can read the chapter and God can minister to you and give you what you need.

Everything we need is given by God, including, needing a deeper relationship with Him. Yes, every day I call us to go deeper and for anyone, new here, who doesn’t have a relationship with God…

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: This month we have another great verse to pick up and swing when you need a sword in your hand!

1 John 4:4

NKJV – “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
NAS – “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”
ESV – “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
AMP – “Little children (believers, dear ones), you are of God and you belong to Him and have [already] overcome them [the agents of the antichrist]; because He who is in you is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world [of sinful mankind].”
NIV – “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Haggai 1-2  NKJV

The Command to Build God’s House

In the second year of King Darius, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying, “Thus speaks the Lord of hosts, saying: ‘This people says, “The time has not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built.” ’ ”

Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this [a]temple to lie in ruins?” Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways!

“You have sown much, and bring in little;
You eat, but do not have enough;
You drink, but you are not filled with drink;
You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm;
And he who earns wages,
Earns wages to put into a bag with holes.”

Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways! Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the [b]temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,” says the Lord. You looked for much, but indeed 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 is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house. 10 Therefore the heavens above you withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit. 11 For I called for a drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain and the new wine and the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.”

The People’s Obedience

12 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, 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 feared the presence of the Lord. 13 Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, spoke the Lord’s message to the people, saying, “I am with you, says the Lord.” 14 So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, 15 on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month, in the second year of King Darius.

The Coming Glory of God’s House

In the seventh month, on the twenty-first of the month, the word of the Lord came [c]by Haggai the prophet, saying: “Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people, saying: ‘Who is left among you who saw this [d]temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? In comparison with it, is this not in your eyes as nothing? Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ says the Lord; ‘and be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land,’ says the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ says the Lord of hosts. According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!’

“For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the [e]Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this [f]temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The glory of this latter [g]temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the Lord of hosts.”

The People Are Defiled

10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 11 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Now, ask the priests concerning the law, saying, 12 “If one carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and with the edge he touches bread or stew, wine or oil, or any food, will it become holy?” ’ ”

Then the priests answered and said, “No.”

13 And Haggai said, “If one who is unclean because of a dead body touches any of these, will it be unclean?”

So the priests answered and said, “It shall be unclean.”

14 Then Haggai answered and said, “ ‘So is this people, and so is this nation before Me,’ says the Lord, ‘and so is every work of their hands; and what they offer there is unclean.

Promised Blessing

15 ‘And now, carefully consider from this day forward: from before stone was laid upon stone in the temple of the Lord— 16 since those days, when one came to a heap of twenty ephahs, there were but ten; when one came to the wine vat to draw out fifty baths from the press, there were but twenty. 17 I struck you with blight and mildew and hail in all the labors of your hands; yet you did not turn to Me,’ says the Lord. 18 ‘Consider now from this day forward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, from the day that the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid—consider it: 19 Is the seed still in the barn? As yet the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have not yielded fruit. But from this day I will bless you.’ ”

Zerubbabel Chosen as a Signet

20 And again the word of the Lord came to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month, saying, 21 “Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying:

‘I will shake heaven and earth.
22 I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms;
I will destroy the strength of the Gentile kingdoms.
I will overthrow the chariots
And those who ride in them;
The horses and their riders shall come down,
Every one by the sword of his brother.

23 ‘In that day,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘I will take you, Zerubbabel My servant, the son of Shealtiel,’ says the Lord, ‘and will make you like a signet ring; for I have chosen you,’ says the Lord of hosts.”

Footnotes

  1. Haggai 1:4 Lit. house
  2. Haggai 1:8 Lit. house
  3. Haggai 2:1 Lit. by the hand of
  4. Haggai 2:3 Lit. house
  5. Haggai 2:7 Or desire of all nations
  6. Haggai 2:7 Lit. house
  7. Haggai 2:9 Lit. house

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