You are currently viewing Consider Your Ways | Haggai 1:1-15

Consider Your Ways | Haggai 1:1-15

Haggai 1:1-15 | Consider Your Ways

E.M. Gray spent his life searching for the one trait all successful people share. His essay entitled “The Common Denominator of Success” revealed successful people’s common characteristic was not hard work, good luck, or human relations, although these traits were important. The one factor that seemed to transcend all the rest was the habit of putting first things first. He observed, “The successful person has the habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do.”

Haggai 1:1-15 | Consider Your Ways

Let’s look at some of the reasons for our failure and we are going to see whether our priorities are at the right place.

Haggai delivered this message in the fall of the year 520 BC. That year, 520 BC, 16 years had passed since the project of the rebuilding of the Jerusalem temple began. 14 years had passed since anyone worked on the project. From the vantage point of most the reasons were justified: Political unrest, false charges of impropriety, shortage of material resources, laziness and questions surrounding incompetent leadership were just a few of the things that could be mentioned regarding the problems at hand. It sounds a lot contemporary, isn’t it?

The people who were relatively a small community who had returned from the Babylonian captivity in the project which was the second Jerusalem temple. The foundation had been laid but the construction had been halted since the year of 534 BC.

Haggai the prophet was called by God to deliver four precisely dated messages that alternate between God’s concern for the people and God’s concern for the temple.

I want to place this in the historical context of the world of the OT prophets. The world of the prophets has four basic periods of time.

Pre-exilic. That is the united kingdom and the divided kingdom. The united kingdom is basically three monarchs in a row before the divided kingdom. Those three monarchs are Saul, David, and Solomon. Each of them reigned approximately 40 years each.

After the death of Solomon the kingdom split between the north and the south between Rehoboam and Jeroboam. The north was called Israel because 10 tribes made up that region, so they called that part of the nation Israel. The bottom two merged into one kingdom, which was called Judah in the south.

The Assyrian captivity of the north takes place in approximately 722 BC. Then comes the Babylonian captivity which happened around 586/587 BC. Judah was taken into the Babylon captivity. The amount of time of the captivity was determined by how many sabbaths they had missed in their sabbatical years of 490 years of previous history. 2 Chronicles 21 tells us this.

God Does Not Forget

God Has A Memory Like No One Else

Then you have the 70 years of captivity before you have the time of the returns: One under Zerubbabel, one under Ezra, and one under Nehemiah.

The Bible predicted that would be a 70 year captivity and Jeremiah talks about it before it ever happens and tells you how long it would be.

God Can Tell You What A Gentile King Can Do With Relationship To International Politics

From the first deportation from Babylon that took place approximately in 606 BC, there were three Babylonian invasions and finally the destruction of the temple in 586 BC. But if you are dating it from the exiles, you go from 606 to 536 approximately, that is 70 years. There you are talking about the people.

Remember this books talks about the temple at Jerusalem and also the people of Israel. Remember the temple was destroyed in 586 BC and rebuilt in 516 BC. So whether you are talking about the people going out of the land and coming back or whether it is destruction of the temple and its rebuilding, both are 70 years.

It is in this post exilic period during the time of Zerubbabel and Ezra that the book of Haggai comes as a result of the prophet Haggai.

520 BC, the people have come back. They started the work, they built the foundation but they stopped because of both external and some internal reasons. So God raises up Haggai the prophet in the second year of the King Darius to bring these messages somewhere between August to December of 520 BC.

Haggai gives four messages

The first message is a message of conviction.

The second, third, and fourth message how does God want His work to be done His way?

One of the dangers we face in life is doing things your way and not God’s way. Keep in mind when we see from the life of the Pharisees in the gospels, we can be all about religious rituals and miss God’s way. So the danger is still there for us to do things our way and not God’s way.

Open your Bible to Haggai 1

The first message is a message of conviction. This is a message of what happens when we have misplaced priorities? What happens when the good life does not satisfy anymore? This is a message of conviction.

First of all there is a rebuke for not building the temple. There is a rebuke first to the leaders and then to the people.

Haggai 1:1 In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest:

You have a king Darius of Persia.

You have a civil leader, a governor who is Zerubbabel.

You have a religious leader, Joshua.

The word of the Lord comes through Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel and Joshua.

In the introduction there is a date, there is a prophetic voice, and there is a recipient with their offices. In the absence of a Jewish king at this point, this book is dated by a gentile king who is in power. This is Darius, who ruled over Persia from 522 to 486 BC.

Background of this Inscription:

So we have a real king mentioned here.

Haggai 1:1 In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest:

See the opening statement: The word of the Lord.

Divine origin, divine origination of this message.

By the prophet Haggai: There is human transmission.

To Zerubbabel and Joshua: The intended recipients with their respective positions.

Haggai 1:2 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.’”

The Lord Almighty: The Lord Sabaoth is rooted in this phrase.

These people: I have seen that sometimes when husband and a wife fight over their children, they say, “This daughter of yours or this son of yours..”

So God says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.’”

Why have you not rebuilt the temple? The people would say, “It is okay we can do it sometime later, it is not time now.”

God did not like it. The people were pursuing their own agenda in life and leaving the rebuilding of the postexilic temple unfinished. So God addresses the leaders through Haggai and says, “Here is the problem with these people.”

Now God addresses the people through Haggai in verses 3-6

Haggai 1:3-6 3Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: 4“Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” 5Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. (This is a message of conviction. Do you know what you are doing? How is life going for you?) 6You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

God says in v4 Haggai 1:4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”

See the two words here: Panel and ruin.

It is the same word for paneling their houses is used for the panel used for Solomon’s temple. God is asking, “Is it okay for you to have paneled houses, while there is no paneling on this new temple. In fact, it is not even up yet, it is just the foundation.” “How are you enjoying your paneled houses while the Lord’s temple has no paneling and probably has no walls even?”

The second word is the word ruin. God says, you have left the temple to be in ruin but look at your own life, it is lying in ruin or desolate.

God says: Haggai 1:5 Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways.

Set your heart on your ways. This is a call for these people to reset their priorities, reset their heart. The implication is that they are doing a lot of things, pursuing multiple paths of action but not the right path. God has a priority for them, they have yet to address. Which leads us to the truth that:

Procrastination Is A Result Of Misplaced Priorities

Their houses were more important than God’s house. The priority of a pleasure filled life was adopted over the will and worship of God. The people were working on the wrong house right now. That is the result of misplaced priorities. Are you working in the wrong house?

Misplaced Priorities Always Lead To An Unsatisfactory Lifestyle

When you are working with God, God is involved. When you are child of God, God is involved. And when you put him second, he is not going to permit that to go on very long.

As a result look at Haggai 1:6 You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

God gives five examples of economic failure or economic fatality.

Working harder: Making Less

Indulging more: Less satisfaction

Earn more: Seem to fall behind

All that they enjoyed, “The good life with God has become part of their bad life.”

Someone said, “When you take up God out of the word good, you only end up with a zero.”

True satisfaction and commitment come when God is firmly fixed at the top or the center of our priority that pervades all of our relationships and all of our other life.

The people thought the temple could not be rebuilt because of hard times but God is telling them, they had hard times because they had not been working on the temple.

You and I are not building a physical temple. But we are involved as spiritual temples. We are building a house for the Lord. Ephesians 2

Haggai 1:7-8 7This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 8Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord.

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways.” You are seeing the phrase “Give careful thought to your ways” in this book over and over again. Lord Almighty is found 6 times in his two chapter book and the Lord is found 6 times. So we have the Lord 12 times in two chapters. God does not want you to miss who is speaking. The people needs to understand that Haggai’s message is the very utterance of YAHWEH.

This Becomes A Reminder To Start Rebuilding The Temple For Two Reasons:

1. To Enjoy The Glory Of God

2. So That You Might Please The Lord

There is a vertical reason and there is an horizontal reason.

This is the word of the Lord, “Go rebuild.” This reminds us that God is pleased and glorified when his work is done his way. God says when you do God’s work God’s way, God is pleased with it and is glorified.

God is pleased and glorified when His work is done His way.

The word pleased is a word used often in the Hebrew Bible when God is accepting the sacrificial work and the sacrificial worship of his people.

The second reason is not only to enjoy the glory of God or the peace of God. It is not the things that God wants to bring here, he pleasure of God. The second reason, or the horizontal reason is to escape the drought of God.

Haggai 1:9 “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house.

You bring this precious stuff home that you harvested, it maybe grain, comforts, money, relationships. You bring it home and God is right there to blow it away. God blows it away. Haggai 1:9b Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house.

They are experiencing drought as a result of leaving the house of God like desolate. God’s house is lying in ruins, God makes his people experience desolation as a discipline.

Haggai 1:10-11 10Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. (Could it be that the sins of people of God have caused natural disaster to come?) 11I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.”

Don’t miss the cause-effect relationship. Because of you I blew it away, I called for a drought. The difficulties of people were a direct result of sovereign actions. This text reflects the means of discipline under the curses of the covenant in Leviticus 23 & Deuteronomy 28.

Why? Because my house likes in ruin. The work of the Lord is not happening because you are running to your own house.

Fast forward from 528 BC not to Jesus Christ but to 2021. What is the work of the Lord for you? Could it be your involvement in the community, involvement in the church, your giving, studying the word of God or could it be witnessing for the Lord?

Are you running to your house which is the opposite direction that God wants you to do, to be involved in his work. Never be satisfied that you got paneling when the work of God is not finished.

Procrastination Is The Result Of Misplaced Priorities

Misplaced Priorities Lead To A Very Unsatisfactory Lifestyle

That leads to

Sometimes God Uses Natural Disasters For Supernatural Discipline

We don’t know when it is and when it is not. The first thing we ask God in a difficulty is, “God are you trying to get my attention?”

In the OT pestilence and plagues comes for two primary reasons:

1. To expose the idols of the pagan culture

Everything that we thought we needed, everything we thought we wanted is not on God’s list of contentment.

2.A  call for God’s people to come back into a closer relationship with him

Exposing the emptiness and redirecting focus.

That leads us to a great little section here.

What does the people do? Haggai 1:12-15 12Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the whole remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the message of the prophet Haggai, because the Lord their God had sent him. And the people feared the Lord. 13Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave this message of the Lord to the people: “I am with you,” declares the Lord. 14So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the Lord Almighty, their God, 15on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month. In the second year of King Darius,

This is the first introduction of the word “remnant.”

He avoids that term until you come to this section. Because when people respond as the people of God should respond, they are then identified as the remnant of the Lord. The phrase remnant is used 10 times in this book. In spite what the rest of the nation does, in spite of what the rest of the world does, those who take God at his word and do the work of God are the people of God in right relationship to God.

The work that had been stopped for 14 years, started back in 23 days. That was not a disobedient delay. They had to go to the mountains, they had to get the wood. They had to start the work. There is natural processes even in supernatural work for doing the things for the Lord.

See three things quickly here in the response of the leaders and the people.

As I close, I want to suggest to you the pattern of their response in this section should be a model for our response today. We are not building a physical temple but we are doing the work of the Lord in our day in this period as God is directing with our families, on the job, in our churches, in our particular area of service for the Lord. But I want you to see three truths this section has:

1. Obedience Is The Right Response To The Revelation Of God.

There is a great statement that is repeated twice here. The voice of the Lord is heard through the words of the prophet as the Lord has sent him and the people received it.

The voice of God comes through the word of God as the voice through the prophet of God to the people of God. Can I ask you a question? We at City Harvest are having care cells, discipleship Bible study on Thursdays and sunder services. Did you hear the voice of God through the spokesmen of the Lord coming to you? Did you receive it as the voice of God and respond appropriately? Haggai is simply the mouthpiece. In this book, it comes to through him. He is simply a servant of the Lord in the middle of this situation. The voice of God comes through the word of God though the prophet of God to the people of God. The question is how do we respond? Obedience is the right response to the revelation of God through his word.

Oswald chambers, “The best measure of spiritual life is not ecstasies but obedience.”

It is good to have good feelings in our Christian life, it is good to feel the presence of God but the best measure of spiritual is in obedience. It is not how well you feel, but it is never apart from an obedience heart.

2. Worship Is The Right Response To The Moving Of The Spirit Of God

The Spirit stirred and the people showed reverence.

Haggai 1:12 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the whole remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the message of the prophet Haggai, because the Lord their God had sent him. And the people feared the Lord.

Obedience is the deciding factor to go according to God’s will and word, worship becomes the way that gets explained and demonstrated.

Haggai 1:14 So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people.

The stirring of the Spirit. This is mentioned three times. God stirs the spirit of the leadership, God stirs the spirit of the people.

I have a question for you. Can your hearts still be moved? Can you hearts still be stirred by the Spirit? Does God captivate you? Does the word of God just get to you? Can God still get to you? Are you available for the Spirit to stir your heart with obedience, with worship.

With the Spirit of God comes the promise of God’s presence. That was true for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and Moses and so on. It is true for us with the Great Commission, “I will be with you always, even to the end of the age.”

That is the encouragement for them to take the next step.

Haggai 1:14b They came and began to work on the house of the Lord Almighty.

3. Service Is The Right Response To The Unfinished Work Of God

The term for serve or “they worked” in Hebrew is the word that is used for sacred tasks in and about the temple in their worship. It is a word for what God was God where his name was placed, and where his presence dwelt between the cherubim above the ark. As a physical symbol of the presence of God in the temple in Jerusalem, the place where God shows to place his name.

Where does God place his name today? Where does his Spirt abide today? Is there obedience? Is there worship? Do you have that compulsion to serve God?

Chuck Swindoll, “We are often so caught up in our activities that we tend to worship our work, work at our play, and play at our worship.”

That is misplaced priorities.

Let this word become a conviction and correction to a heart reset that you and I need every day.

For more sermons, follow us on YouTube!

https://www.youtube.com/user/CityHarvestAG/videos

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cityharvestagchurch/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cityharvestag/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cityHarvest_AG