Minor Prophets-

Haggai

KLMX Radio

April 2011

Bryan Kimsey

First Baptist Church

Des Moines, NM

Good morning KLMX listeners and welcome to the last day of our 5 part series on the Minor Prophets. I really didnít know much about the Minor Prophets before I started this series (and I still donít, but at least I know a little more than I did then!), but this is has been an educational series for me. I hope youíve learned something, too, and seen a little more of the glory that is God Almighty. Today weíre going to look at Haggai.

Haggai is really a three-part book as the prophet delivers 3 separate messages in the text. Haggai is writing during the restoration of the Jewish nation. Babylon has released them, allowed them to rebuild the temple, and some of the Jews have moved back to Jerusalem to work on rebuilding the temple. So, unlike the other books where God is speaking thru a prophet to a back-sliding whole, Haggai is preaching to the remnants. These are people whoíve made the decision to leave Babylon and journey back to Jerusalem; therefore they are people who are seeking to do Godís will. God still has something to say to them, though, and his message might be applicable to people like this today.

First, we get a very specific time period as to when this message was delivered:

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, (Haggai 1:1 NKJV)

And now God brings their attention to a problem:

"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 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." (Haggai 1:2-6 NKJV)

You can see the problem. The people say "itís not time to build the Lordís house" and yet they themselves live in paneled homes. Whatís going on here is that the people have put their needs before Godís. They live comfortably and in their comfort, theyíve conveniently forgotten about serving the Lord. God tells them "Consider your ways!" and then points out some of their issues.

"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." (Haggai 1:6 NKJV)

Basically, theyíre not satisfied. The reason theyíre not satisfied, of course, is because theyíre not serving God first, with these things a result of their service. Instead, theyíre trying to fill the God-sized hole in themselves with food, drink, clothes, and money. It wonít work. This passage makes me think of Jesusí statement:

"Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:31-33 NKJV)

Itís the same concept. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and then all things will be satisfying. Indeed, thatís pretty much the advice that God offers via Haggai:

Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Consider your ways! Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified," says the LORD. (Haggai 1:7-8 NKJV)

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. Then Haggai, the LORD's messenger, spoke the LORD's message to the people, saying, "I am with you, says the LORD." 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, on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month, in the second year of King Darius. (Haggai 1:12-15 NKJV)

The people heard the message of the prophet, obeyed, and got to work rebuilding the temple.

Haggai brings a second message, the date of which is also recorded:

In the seventh month, on the twenty-first of the month, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying: (Haggai 2:1 NKJV)

And the message was:

"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 temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? In comparison with it, is this not in your eyes as nothing? (Haggai 2:2-3 NKJV)

What Godís asking here is- who remembers the old temple? And how does the one youíre building compare? Of course, this remnant people canít begin to restore the temple as it was in days of Solomon, when Solomon had almost unlimited resources at his command. The natural inclination would be to get frustrated and God understands this. He tells the people- "be strong".

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. (Haggai 2:4 NKJV)

And then he offers a prophecy which makes sense in light of Jesus Christ:

'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 2:9 NKJV)

Letís go look at some New Testament passages for a second.

So the Jews answered and said to Him, "What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?" Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." Then the Jews said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?" (John 2:18-20 NKJV)

Here, the Jews thought that Jesus was talking about a stone temple built by hands, but Jesusí statement carried more weight than that, as the next few verses show:

But He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said. (John 2:21-22 NKJV)

The temple of which Jesus spoke was his own body. Since He himself was the propitiation for our sins, the Lamb of God, and the final sacrifice, it follows that there was no more use for a physical temple. We can see this in Jesusí discussion with the Samaritan woman at the well:

The woman said to Him, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship." Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. (John 4:19-21 NKJV)

"Neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem" Jesus tells here. But instead:

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:23-24 NKJV)

The combination of all these things tells us that Jesus was the superior temple and that Haggai is offering a prophecy of the superiority of Jesus as the Christ. Again, the Haggai passage says:

'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 2:9 NKJV)

In the temple of Jesus Christ, we have peace. Not peace as the world defines it- thatís really more a cease-fire than true peace- but peace of a much better kind. In Jesus Christ, we have peace with God.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2 NKJV)

The glory of the latter temple, then, is indeed much greater than the former. The former, nice as it was, was a building. The latter was the body of Jesus Christ, given for our sins, to reconcile us to God.

Haggaiís mission was to point out problems among even the remnant. They were still Godís people, but there were things they were doing, or rather not doing, that were causing them to miss out on the blessings of God. As we see:

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. '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: 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 2:17-19 NKJV)

The same is true of Christians, those of us living in the temple of Jesus Christ. If we fail to put God first in our lives, if we let the world overtakes us and divert our attention, we will lose out on blessings that we might otherwise have. Iím talking spiritual blessing first, but Iím also talking material blessings, too- as God sees fit. Note that point- you will receive material blessings not as you see fit, but as God sees fit. We had that promise earlier:

"Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:31-33 NKJV)

The things of which Jesus speaks- food, drink, clothing- are material things. God knows that we need them and heíll provide them for us. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Seek His will, not yours. Seek Jesus Christ and the peace with God that only He can provide. Until then, your life, like the Jews who were stalling at rebuilding the temple, will be missing a crucial component.

Back to Zephaniah