Haggai, part 2

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Haggai chapter two. If you’re if you’re just picking up with us and you’re wondering what this book is about, I’m going to give a little bit of backdrop for us and show how this this passage of Scripture applies to our life. And the title of this morning’s message is, what do I do when I’m in over my head? Because it fits precisely where Haggai chapter two falls into place for us. And one of the things that we’ve been following as a theme for us as a church family is we are we are a fairly new church. We’ve been in this city for about six years, but our beginning was very meager, to say the least. And and so we started in a just a living room, just gathering with some believers. And we’ve been growing ever since. And we talked about last week, we’ve been growing at about 30% over the last six years. And and we’re still looking beyond what God has for us. And that’s exactly where Haggai fits into our lives. This book was written over 26 right around 2600 years ago, but the thoughts of that God incorporates in the book of Haggai is still very practical to us today. And so we’re we’re searching through this text as the people of Haggai were going through this experience to glean from it what we can learn, what God would desire for us to know. And sometimes we get to a place, especially when you walk with the Lord, that you just say, you know what? I’m in over my head.

I don’t God, I don’t know how to share you in this. I don’t know how to be a light for you in this. And I just want you to know when you walk with Jesus. Really? That’s about every day. Every day as you walk with the Lord, he, he, he gives an opportunity to stretch you in your faith. And rather than trusting yourself to trust in him. And and so the book of Haggai puts us in a place specifically for us as a church family. We’re looking at our future, and there’s a lot of question marks as we continue to grow and how that’s going to happen. But we’re just trusting in the Lord for what he has for us. In this book of Haggai, written almost 600 years before Jesus came, the nation of Israel has just returned from captivity, the nation of Israel. In 722 BC, the northern tribes, ten tribes to the north, and Israel were taken into captivity by the Assyrians. And then 586 BC, the southern tribes of Israel, two of them were taken into captivity by the Babylonians. That that siege against the southern tribes of Israel started in 606, concluded in 586. In 536, under the Persian rule, the king Cyrus allowed the nation of Israel to return to rebuild the temple that was destroyed when the Babylonians came in and conquered.

And so when you jump into the book of Haggai, you jump into a specific place in time where the nation of Israel has has now returned to their land. Out of all the people that were taken captive, only 50,000 returned to rebuild their land and rebuild their temple. Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, or historical books that take place during this time period and the prophetic books Zechariah, Haggai are just a couple of those written during this era in which Israel is getting back on their feet and rebuilding what was lost. When they left with 50,000 people. They left with all the ambition in the world, thinking of all the possibilities of what could happen as they reenter into this promised land. And they see, they see God moving in their lives again. It was said by one commentary, said this it’s one thing to get God’s people back to work, and quite another thing to keep them on the job. And you think maybe in our in your life there was something that you’ve encountered in life that you were really ambitious, really excited for, couldn’t wait to get started. You got into it, you met a couple of bumps in the road, and then you begin to question whether or not this was where you should be or what you should be doing. It begins to be a challenge in in that leading in your life. Is it something that God desires for you? Is it not? And so this is where the book of Haggai begins.

And in chapter two and verse one of Haggai, when Haggai, there we go. When Haggai begins to read to the people, or share what God has laid upon his heart, Haggai dates the time in which he’s sharing, and this comes in the month of October. In about 520 BC, the first verse would tell us that according to the Jewish calendar, they follow a lunar calendar. So it’s not the same as our calendar today. But it says on the 21st of the seventh month, the word of the Lord came 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 temple in its former glory? How do you see it now? Does it not seem to you like nothing in comparison? Israel arrived back in the Promised Land in 536. By 520, the temple is still not complete. God raises up Haggai to challenge the people in the rebuilding of the temple. Chapter one tells us that Israel got diverted from the calling of going back to the Promised Land and rebuilding this temple, and they started to focus on their own homes. In chapter one of Haggai told us that they build built paneled houses. Look out the paneled houses.

But the point is that they got sidetracked from what God had called them to do. And the reason was when Israel got into the Promised Land to rebuild the temple. When Israel was looking around them, they began to notice that the other nations were starting to oppress them, come against them, and try to thwart their work on rebuilding this temple. And Sir Israel used that diversion to get them to stop the work. And and finally Haggai comes in. He shares this message with them. Israel gets back into working on this temple, and Haggai is honest with them. Because when they left Israel and went to Babylon in captivity, it was for some people just 50 years ago. And some of these people make the journey back to Israel again, back to their promised land. And they remember what Solomon’s Temple looked like in its glory. And Haggai just asked him. Does this temple. Look like it’s former glory. How do you see it now? Does it not seem to you like nothing in comparison? It’s interesting, if you were to read the Book of Ezra in comparison to to this book of Haggai in chapter three of Ezra, it’s talking about the rebuilding of the temple. In verse 12 it says, it says in verse 12 that that some people weep when they start rebuilding the temple, and some people cheer. The ones that had no idea what the temple looked like in its former glory had nothing to compare it to.

And so they’re they’re all excited about what God’s doing, the people that had something to compare it to when they step in and they start to see what they’re doing now, they they start to weep, knowing that the glory of what the temple was and what it is now, it’s nothing in comparison. And and so they’re saddened by it. It’s kind of like this at, at ABC if you’re just if you’re just jumping on now, I mean, the ones that were that started in the beginning with our church, you know, we look at this, this building maybe, I don’t know, I’m just kind of reading minds a little bit. We look at this building, we’re like, yeah, look what we got. We got a bar. And then some people, when you show up on Sunday morning for the first time, you look at the outside, you’re like, where am I? What is this? It’s all it’s all compared to to perspective. We see it honestly. It’s a place where God has has shown his hand to us, and knowing where we started and where we’re going, it’s an incredible thing. And that’s that’s where Haggai comes into the picture. And he’s honest with the people. Saying, you know, if you compare what it was to what it is now. You’re right. It doesn’t hold a candle to. To what Solomon had built. For the people of Israel.

But now Haggai takes the perspective of the people’s minds, and he begins to focus it on what matters. It’s not about comparing. We said last week. When? When God calls you to something, he doesn’t expect you to be Superman. What God desires is for you to be faithful with what he’s given you. And if we just took a tally around us in this room, according to our gifts and talents and what God has given us in this life, it’s going to be different. And God doesn’t call you to be me or me to be you. God calls me to be faithful to him. And Haggai brings the people of Israel to a place to recognize. You know what? You don’t have what Solomon’s given you, but you have what God has given you. And God will meet you where you are, and he will transform your life to accomplish what God has created you for in him. Haggai helps them see how to get their. And so in verse four he goes on and says this. But now take courage. Zerubbabel, declares the Lord. Take courage. Also Joshua Zerubbabel’s the governor Joshua was the priest, son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all you people of the land. Take courage, declares the Lord, and work. For I am with you, declares the Lord. For of hosts, as you promise, which I I made when you came out of Egypt. When Haggai shares this message, the nation of Israel, he picks a very timely position in their history to do so.

When Haggai shares this message. It’s coming in the month of October, in the middle of the Feast of Tabernacles. The Feast of Tabernacles is a reminder to Israel to celebration that they had annually to remind themselves where God has brought them. In First Chronicles chapter 28. It happens a few times within the Book of Chronicles when when David hands off the the leadership of the nation of Israel to his son Solomon, God had called Solomon to build the temple. And so when when David hands off this this calling and this position as king to Solomon, David repeatedly said in first Chronicles, chapter 28, in chapter 22, and in verses uh 13, God had said to Solomon repeatedly, be strong. Be strong. When Haggai talks to the nation of Israel. And the rebuilding of this temple. He quotes King David. Speaking to Solomon. And the building of this temple. Be strong. David said to Solomon, be strong and courageous and act. Do not fear, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God my God is with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished. God doesn’t expect you to be Superman. What God desires for you to be is just faithful. God. God meets you where you are and he works through you to transform your life.

God’s not like this. Okay? Who wants to help me? Oh, Tim. No, not Tim. All right, let me pretend. Let’s act like Tim didn’t stand up here. Let’s ask someone else. God. God has called you. God has gifted you God. God has made you unique for the purpose he has created you in this world. No one can do that but you. God doesn’t expect you to be someone different than who you are. God wants to use you. In fact, if you were to read the book of First Corinthians in chapter one, the second half of First Corinthians, chapter one is all about how God uses the weak things of the world to confound the wise. God uses the small things of this world to take down the powerful. You know why God likes to do that? Because there’s no other justifiable reason to explain it other than his hand at work. In our weaknesses. Where God really shines. It’s important for us to remember that God’s hand has been with us or is with us. And Haggai just starts with that reminder for the nation of Israel. But God has brought you back to your land, and he didn’t just bring you back to your land just to dump you. But he led you back to your land because he wants to use you. He wants to walk with you. And so on. The Feast of Tabernacles we’re called, sometimes called the Feast of Booths.

He stands before Israel, who’s building the temple? And he reminds Israel of what David said to Solomon when Solomon takes over the temple. You can imagine in Solomon’s own place at the end of of of the building of the temple. Maybe in his mind he knew what glory the temple would hold, but to stare at the possibility of failing, or to stare at the possibility of even beginning this work would have seemed overwhelming to him. Do you know how we know that? Because David would have never said, be strong and courageous. If Solomon wasn’t challenging that calling on his life. Those are words you speak to people when you realize that they recognize a challenge before them. Be strong and courageous. On the Feast of Booths is when the this Temple of Solomon ends up being dedicated in First Kings chapter eight. Since during the Feast of Booths, that that Jesus comes along and John seven and he and he says, and eight as well, that, that if anyone are thirsty, let him come unto me and have a drink. Can imagine in John seven, during the Feast of Booths, when Jesus Jesus makes such a statement at the end of the Feast of Booths, there’s a particular ceremony where they they pour water as an offering to God. And as this ceremony is taking place, to identify not not that the importance of this, this ceremony, but Jesus, who this ceremony points to, he stands in front of the whole crowd in the temple and says, I am this living water.

And it goes on and says, I am also the light of the world. This feast was important for Israel. God told Israel in Leviticus 28, when the nation was taken out of Egypt in slavery under the hand of Moses to celebrate this Feast of Booths. Ezra would literally get into tents during a harvest time and remember how God provided for them. And so if you want an excuse to go camping, your spouse is not with you. Just be like, it’s biblical feast of booths, right? They camped in tents. We camped intense. I’m. For Israel, this feast was a reminder to them. Of God’s provision. God’s hand. Of God being with them. You know, I think God does that for us. Because there comes a time in our lives where the road doesn’t always look easy. And those times in our lives we need to be able to set before the Lord. And recognize. God doesn’t lead us just to leave us. But God leads us and he continues to lead us and provide for us just as he’s begun. Not only was God with them, but God also promises. In this passage he says in the very end of verse five. As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, my spirit is abiding in your midst.

Do not fear. Not only was was God with them. But God is still with them. And God’s going to continue to be with him. His spirit is with them. You know, one of the things you read as you read on the book of Haggai in chapter two, if you see in verse 17, God even tells them, listen, it wasn’t me that was ever not with you. You’re the one that left me. If you’re experiencing trials and challenges, and this isn’t always the case for us in life, I don’t want to make us think that this is what happens every time we have a bad experience. But in verse 17, God’s saying, I’m allowing the difficult circumstances into your life because you’re not with me. I want you to recognize that I’ve always been with you. But it’s you that have left me. A.w. Tozer said this. I think it’s helpful for us to recognize that if if we know God’s with us, how to respond as people in the power of his strength and not our own. But Tozer says this If God were to take the Holy Spirit out of this world, much of what we’re doing in our churches would go right on and nobody would know the difference. His point is this if God is really with his people, it gives us the the ability to dream big in him. To to think of the things that he could do not to not to dream within our own power.

Because when it’s accomplished within our own power, there’s no real recognition that that God really provided in those moments. But when we imagine the possibilities of what God could do in our lives as we’re trusting in him because of the power of His Spirit that rests with us, he gets the glory. The things that you think in your life, it’s never possible. Unless something supernaturally happens. I think that’s the way God desires for us to dream in him. I’m going to tell you. Living that way. Scary. Remember every step we’ve taken as a church. Every time we went to sign our name to a dotted line on some lease or some building project, we could not afford where we were about to go. Usually results with me having heartburn for a couple nights. And I go back into my office and looking at our church and what God’s doing here and how it’s growing. And I think about what the next step is for us and expanding and growing and and to be honest, there’s always a part of me that says, and I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to I don’t want to do it again. But here’s what I don’t want to do. I don’t want to see God’s people limited for what God’s called them to do. I don’t want to hinder God’s church from being who God’s called us to be.

And so it puts us in a place to trust. And that’s just in a building perspective. But you think in your own personal engagement in this world. How easy it is to talk yourself down from standing for Christ. When you think of people in your life, you’re like, man, they need Jesus. God, if I could just taste the goodness of who you are and just experience your grace and mercy and and let you set them free. But they’re impossible, right? There’s no way that’s ever going to happen. Nah, it would take a miraculous event. And I’m just me and. Not only has God been with you. But God is with you. And God didn’t lead you just to drop you. But he wants his word to prevail, and his desire is to use you for that. And so the nation of Israel, they’re they’re picturing their temple, and some are weeping over the fact that the temple looks nothing like the beauty of what it was before. And some are celebrating because they had nothing to compare it to. And so they’re just so happy that they have something. But but either way, Haggai uses in verse six this moment to just say to the people, now I want you to start dreaming for just a minute. It’s not. It’s not about where where you start. It’s really about where you finish. And if you’re just faithful to him, just just looking at what God can do and dreaming in his strength and not your own, it is.

It is incredible to think about the way God can move. And so Haggai says that in verse six, for thus saith the Lord of hosts once more, in a little while I’m going to shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land, and I will shake all the nations, and they will come with the wealth of all the nations. And I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of host. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of host. The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts. Now I’ve said this, but let me say it again this word Lord of hosts, he just continues to repeat it within this passage. So it’s worthy to recognize this word. Lord of hosts signifies a king ready for battle, surrounded by his army. This is a God ready for action. Calling you to join him in this action. And so Haggai is sharing this thought. Listen, he he is this God prepared to let his word go forth to shake the kingdoms and allow you to be a part of it. You think this temple is small? You think this temple has humble beginnings, but it’s from here God is going to shake the world.

And he did. This was the temple that was built under Zerubbabel. Through which Jesus would come. To reach the nation’s. Not only. Did God use this place to shake the world then? The book of Hebrews in the New Testament tells us that God will continue to shake the world. In chapter 12, the writer of Hebrews quotes Haggai chapter two and verse six. That’s something that only that has taken place, but something that will continue to take place. Now, I know when when we read about future events, everyone likes to break out their eschatology charts and tell me, tell people exactly when Jesus is coming and exactly how that’s going to look. But I’m just going to tell you, according to this verse, this is what it says, okay. I’m going to read it, and I’m going to tell you what it says. And he shook and his voice shook the earth then but now he has promised, saying, yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven. This expression, yet once more denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude by which we may offer to God and acceptable service with reverence and awe. For our God is a consuming fire.

Here’s what he’s saying. Jesus wins. Look, regardless about the way you think anything is going to work out, the most important thing is Jesus wins. This temple of humble beginnings, this temple where people were crying over thinking about its former glory. It’s in this and faithfulness to this that Jesus comes through this and God promises all nations will be shook. It’s not about where you start. It’s about crossing the finish line with Christ. God can use the simplest things for his glory. You know what he really wants to use in all of it. Faithful people. That’s all he’s looking for. The faithful people. God can transform anything. With faithful people. In verse ten. He goes a little further, reminds us this. Haggai gives one final illustration. He says, if a man carries holy meat into the fold of his garment. And touch his bread with his fold. Or cooked food, wine, oil or any other food, will it become holy? And the priest says no. Then Haggai said, if one who is unclean from a corpse touches any of these things, which the latter becomes unclean, the priest answered, it will become unclean. And like I said. So is this people. And so is this nation before me. Haggis, these priests, these couple of thoughts, he says, listen, if you have something that’s holy, dedicated to God, and you go touch something with it, do you have the ability to make it holy? Does that make something holy? No.

Well, if you and your unholiness begin to interact with things that are sacred to use for God, does it? Does it taint or does it? Does it make it unholy? And the priest says, yes. And here’s here’s God’s point. You don’t have the ability to make things sacred for him. What you have the ability to do is give yourself to him. It’s not your job to make it sacred and holy. It’s God’s. But what God wants to make sure that you do is take what he has created for him, which is sacred and holy, and allow him to use it for his glory. Haggai chapter two. He’s reminding the people of Israel. Listen, it’s not up to your strength to do this. It’s. It’s up to me to work this through you. And what we can do as people isn’t make things better. But what we can do, and we do it within our own strength is take things from him. What God intends for him, we remove from him by giving ourselves to other things apart from him, which is what Israel was doing. It tells us in verse 17 and in chapter one, when they devoted themselves to the building of, of their homes, apart from what God had called them to do. God’s desire. Is just you. We give ourselves to him and he’s the one that brings life to it. God. Has done this for the people.

To give them an opportunity to to turn back from them to, to shake the nations through them. In verse 17, yet you did not turn to me, he says. But God, when he calls us as people, reminds us that when we take our hearts, he is a. He is a God of second and third and fourth chances. That when we take our hearts and and we turn them over to him, God, God does not reject that. Listen this in Psalm verse nine and ten, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. And Jeremiah 19 you will seek me and find me when you seek me with your heart. God didn’t make you in his image so that you couldn’t connect to him, but rather he. He created you in his image for the purpose of allowing you to connect to him. God wouldn’t tell you to rest in him if he didn’t want you and in him in Matthew 11 he says this come to me, you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. God would not willingly reward you for seeking him. If he were only going to reject you for doing so. In Hebrews 11 it says in verse six, without faith it’s impossible to please him, but he rewards those who diligently seek him. In Hebrews 13 five For he himself has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you.

I think there’s a beautiful picture in the book of Zechariah of what the people needed to hear. Zacharias remembers, written the same time as the Book of Haggai. It’s interesting when you read the book of of Ezra. You see in chapter five and verse one, it tells you that Haggai and Zechariah are prophesying during this time. Same thing. And in chapter six and verse 12 to 14. But when Zechariah writes in his book, he talks about the priest Joshua. And you can imagine these people when they’re coming to the land. They don’t have a lot. They were in captivity. They’ve been set free. They’re just coming across the country with whatever they can fit in their hands. And and they’re not people of, of great wealth. And they’re trying to rebuild what God had called them to build. And they recognize they don’t have what it takes. And they’ve just left this place at being taken into captivity because they were living in sin before the Lord. And God had told them that if they follow him, he would bless them. If they leave him, he they would experience difficulty, and so he brings them in captivity. And now, because of the disobedience, they were there. But now they’re coming back to rebuild what was lost and the demeanor of the people. It’s probably not at its height. But God takes Joshua as the high priest. And he uses Joshua as an example of what God wants to do.

And he says, Joshua the high priest, standing before the angel of the Lord and Satan. Sending his right hand to accuse him. And the Lord said to Satan, the Lord rebuke you, Satan. Is this not a brand plucked from the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel. He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, remove the filthy garments from him. Again he said to him, see, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and will clothe you with with festal robes. Then I said, let them put a clean turban on his head. So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments, while the angel of the Lord was standing by. If you read the context of this whole story, you’ll see that as Joshua was standing there, there’s the angel of the Lord representing him on one side, and there’s Satan on the other. And by the way, the angel of the Lord. Most people think is is pre-incarnate picture of Christ and Satan standing on the other side of him. And when Joshua is standing before that, Satan has come to accuse Joshua. He he’s an accuser of the past. Satan is really good of taking your past and just putting the shame and guilt on you. And here’s Satan comes to accuse Joshua before the Lord and and before before Satan even gets to open his mouth to say anything about Joshua.

God looks at him and says, he belongs to me. Shut your mouth, Satan. And here’s the interesting part of the story. God acknowledges with Joshua, he’s covered in filthy garments. This word filthy is a little bit cleaner than the picture that’s painted for Joshua in the Hebrew text. This word for filthy is literally dung. He’s got it all over. He’s as dirty as it gets and no one wants to sit beside him. But this is what God does. Joshua belongs to him. God has called Joshua. In the midst of that picture. To do incredible, glorious things for God. Looking at a temple that’s just in pieces, looking at a group of people that are just ragtag returning to the city. God has called them to do incredible things. It’s not up to Joshua. It’s by the power of the Lord. Joshua just surrenders himself to it. And so God takes off these garments. It’s not Joshua who takes off these garments. The Lord takes off these garments, and he clothes them. Not only does he clothe his body, but he also tells us, clothe us, clothes him in a turban on his head, which is a sign of dignity, honor and royalty during the time. God honors Joshua. Joshua’s picture is a picture for the nation. That in Christ we come before him in a place filling lowly, in a place not having the strength and a place, not knowing what tomorrow holds, but knowing our King was with us.

Our King is with us, and our King, regardless, can shake the world through us. If by our heart we just surrender to him, and God takes off those garments and clothes us in something new. He raises you up. For us and a future and what God’s called you to. The picture of Zachariah is the picture of all of us. God’s been with us as a church. God desires to walk with us in this life. God doesn’t leave us, he will never forsake us. It says in Hebrews 13, but sometimes in verse 17, it’s not God who leaves us, but it’s us who leaves him. And and the places that we leave him are in the places of uncertainty and the places of challenge, and the places where life seems overwhelming. But it’s in those places that his glory really shines. So here’s my encouragement. If life has got you in a place that seems difficult. And the challenges seem great. What a beautiful opportunity it is to recognize what God has done in the life of Haggai and these people, because it’s the exact place where God can also use you to allow his glory to shine through your life. Don’t run. Don’t cower. Don’t hide. And this, Haggai said, quoting David. Be courageous. Be strong. Because what God desires to do is shake the nations, and the person God desires to use is you.

Haggai, Part 1

Baptism Sunday