Monday, January 24, 2011

Haggai Part II, 1:1-15

Haggai's first Sermon

Haggai 1:1-15 Build God’s House

Haggai begins by rebuking Israel for refusing to rebuild the temple. The people had been in the land almost twenty years (538-520 B.C.). They had begun rebuilding, but the work had stalled. In 1:2 the people state that the time has not yet come to build God’s house. Haggai rebukes the people by pointing out that they had plenty of time and money to build their own homes. (1:4) Haggai also tells them that they are laboring in vain because they are refusing to work on the temple. (1:6-11) What is most surprising is that Israel repents and turns. (1:12-15) In the pre-exilic prophets God constantly sent Israel prophets and Israel rejected them and refused to repent. Here are the first fruits of that great repentance, which would occur at Pentecost several hundred years later. Though only a small group, they turn back to God.

• We must not become weary of doing good. Israel came into the land with good intentions to rebuild the house of God, but somewhere along the line they lost sight of their goal and began to pursue personal gain. In our Christian lives this is easy to do. We begin with zeal, but stall along the way. Let us put our hands to the plow and not turn back. (Luke 9:62)

• Our central goal must be the building of God’s Kingdom. For Israel that meant the Temple, the place where God promised to meet them. For us that means the Church and the people who worship God. We must keep this target in our cross hairs at all times. Jesus makes this exact point in Matthew 6:33. Are you investing in what will last? Have you become sidetracked by the world or personal pleasure? What is your role in the building the Kingdom? Do you see your daily work in light of the Kingdom of Christ?

• Let us remember to hear God’s word and turn from our sins. We do not often consider laziness concerning the things of God as a great sin, but a lack of zeal for God and his house is blight on the Bride of Christ. When the Lord is kind enough to rebuke, either through the word written or preached, let us bend the knee, as Israel did, and turn back to following after God.

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Let the saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud on their beds, let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; to bind the kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron. Psalm 149:5-8