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Haggai

Introduction

A. The Name

The name of the book is named after the prophet, Haggai, whose name means “festive” or “festival.” Many believe the name was given because Haggai was born on or near a festival day. Some suggest that his name is related to the celebration of the prophetic hope concerning the temple and the glory of God. While the first suggestion is more probable, it is interesting to note that Haggai's ministry began on a new moon festival day and the book records the festivities which will be enjoyed when Yahweh rules in the Day of the Lord.1

B. The Date

Haggai is the most precisely dated book of the Bible, with the dates of each sermon given to the exact day. The accuracy with which he records these dates suggests that he might have kept a journal. The beginning of Darius' reign is well established at 522 BC. Each of the four messages took place in the second year of his reign which would be 520 BC.

C. Historical Background.

Up to this point in our study of the minor prophets we’ve been talking about how the Israelites didn’t obey the commands in Deuteronomy 28-30, so God was going to punish them. The prophets all came and warned of coming destruction of Israel by Assyria and Babylon. God would use Assyria to destroy the northern nation - Israel, and Babylon to destroy the southern nation - Judah. Those were all pre-exilic prophets telling of the coming exile. Now we are jumping over exile (when Daniel, Jeremiah and Ezekiel wrote) to the post-exilic prophets. They wrote after the exile.

The Jews had been in captivity in Babylon for 70 years (Jer. 25:11f.) They were first deported in 606 BC. and the final destruction of the temple was in 586. When the Persians defeated the Babylonians in 539, Darius took over and changed the foreign policy concerning captive peoples. In 538 he decreed that the Jews could return to their homeland and rebuild the temple (Ezra 1-3).

After an initial stage of construction on the foundation (Ezra 3:8-13), opposition from without and within stopped the work for a period of 14 years. With the work on the temple halted, the people began to pursue their own selfish interests and once again began to experience the discipline of God upon their lives (Hag. 1:7-11).

God used Haggai and Zechariah to get the leaders and the people to once again focus on the work of God. Through the leading of God, the ministry of the prophets, the decree and the funding of Darius I, and the leadership of Zerubbabel and Joshua the high priest, the rebuilding of the temple was resumed and completed in 516 BC., exactly 70 years after its destruction.2

Does anyone know the significance of being in captivity for 70 years?

If you will remember, as part of the law, God told the people to let the land rest every seventh year. Did they do it? No. They were in the land 490 years and never observed the Sabbath year for the land. How many Sabbath years did they miss? Seventy. So God made up for it by taking all the Sabbath years at one time.

606 first invasion / 586 final invasion and destruction of the temple

536 first return / 516 temple finished

Either way you figure it (from the people or the temple) you have 70 years of captivity. You would almost think God was in control. The point is this: We can do it the easy way or the hard way, but either way, God will get His way. That's why it is important for me to have my priorities right and put obedience to God first.

How do you know if you have your priorities straight? And if you don't, What do you do about it? I think Haggai can give us some help in determining the answers to these questions.

Message Statement: Misplaced priorities in our lives can be diagnosed and treated.

Transition: So now that we understand how Haggai fits into the history of Israel, what is the Purpose of Haggai? It was to get the people to rebuild the temple - to get the people to resume construction on the temple. How does he do that? He preaches four sermons to the people which we could outline as follows:

In Haggai's first sermon he rebukes them for having their priorities all wrong. Then we see the response of the people.

Misplaced priorities can be diagnosed.

The Message of Conviction:
The Rebuke

The Diagnosis of the Problem (1:1-6)

“In the second year of Darius.” The reference to a Gentile king shows that they are in the time of the Gentiles. They are under Persian rule. This would have been a reminder and a rebuke to the Israelites. The date is August 29, 520 B.C. Haggai speaks to Zerubbabel, the governor, and Joshua, the High Priest. Zerubbabel was in the line of David, but not king, because they are in the time of the Gentiles.

We are immediately introduced to the theme which is the rebuilding of the temple. The people were saying that it is not time to rebuild the temple. They have delayed the building process 14 years.

Notice he says “This people ...” Why? This is a term of distancing. If I go home tonight and Lori says, “Do you know what Your son did today?” You can bet that I am not going to be happy with what I am about to hear. But if she says, “Do you know what Our son did ...?” Then I'm probably going to be proud.

He addresses the people in verse 4. They are living in paneled houses. Paneling had to be imported from Lebanon. There are no trees around Jerusalem. So it was expensive. This is what they were spending their money on. You see on our chart that the first section of Haggai is labeled as one of conviction. In verse 5 he says, “Consider your ways!” What is Haggai trying to convict them of?

Answer: misplaced priorities. That was the problem. They were not putting God first. They were only concerned with their own comforts.

What was the result of the misplaced priorities? What were the symptoms?

    First symptom: Dissatisfaction (1:6)

They were experiencing very unsatisfying lives.

  • You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but don't become drunk - maybe this refers to people who try to deal with life's problems by eating too much. It doesn't work. All you do is gain too much weight. I think this is an illustration of seeking life and happiness through pleasure.
  • You put on clothing, but no one is warm enough - Perhaps we could change this for our culture to say, “You buy new clothes, but the styles change.” Perhaps this is indicative of seeking life through praise.
  • You earn money and put it in a purse with holes - I think most of us can identify with this. Do you run out of money before you run out of month? To compensate for this do you work so much that you don't have time for God or family? Seeking life through possessions.

I was reading a book called Honest to God, by Bill Hybels. In it he talks about the Money monster. He says a 1967 poll of college freshmen found that most thought it more important to have a meaningful philosophy of life than to be well-off financially. But in 1986 in a similar poll, 80% said it was more important to be well-off financially. Things changed a lot in 20 years. We all know the story of the rich young ruler in Luke 18:18-30 who could not give up his wealth and politely refused eternal life. We shake our heads in disbelief, but most Americans move 14 times in their lives as promotions lead them from one place to another. Consequently, children grow up learning that more money is more important than developing long term relationships. Later on, when discussions turn to college, the dialogue focuses on which professions pay the most rather than what would suit the young person's motivated abilities. The message we instill in them is that more money will make up for lack of job fulfillment. Money itself will fulfill us. But it doesn't and we now have a society full of dissatisfied people.

Haggai condemned them for living in their paneled houses. We can see that they had become consumed with earthly things. The question we need to ask is - have we?

Even though this book was written 2500 years ago, it is very applicable for today. Haggai says, “Consider your ways.” We need to consider our ways. We need to evaluate our lives and see if we are guilty of these things. We need to ask ourselves, Am I dissatisfied with my life? Do I buy lotto tickets thinking that winning the lotto would solve all my problems? Do I wish for a better paying job? Do I wish I lived in a bigger and nicer house? Do I wish I had a new car? Something like a new car or house appeals to all three categories we mentioned earlier - possessions, pleasure and praise (or more specifically - prestige). It is amazing how much effort we put into these areas thinking that they will satisfy us, but they never do.

Interjection: Reminder to Start Building the Temple 7-11

Sandwiched in between the description of the two symptoms is a reminder to resume the construction of the temple. Haggai tells them to consider their ways and to get to work. And he gives us the motivation.

There are two reasons:

1. To please the Lord and

2. To Glorify God

This shows us what our proper priorities are supposed to be - to please God and to glorify God.

There is a temple imagery in the Bible that I think we need to be aware of:

  • In the OT the purpose of the tabernacle and the temple was so God could dwell among the people and they could see His glory.
  • When you come to the NT you see that the Word became flesh and “tabernacled” among us.... and we beheld his glory (Jn 1:14).
  • Today the Believer's body is the temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16) and what is the purpose? What are we supposed to do? Glorify God 1 Cor. 6:19-20.

1 Cor. 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (RSV)

  • Every time there is a reference to the temple there is glory (1 Pet 2:5, 12).
  • What is the point? How does this apply to us? You and I are now the physical - visible representation of the character and person of God on earth. We need to glorify God. This is the significance of the temple imagery in the Bible. I am continually amazed at the continuity I see as I study the Bible.

That is why they need to rebuild the temple - so God can dwell among them.

Now Haggai returns to his Rebuke for their misplaced priorities. We saw that the first symptom of misplaced priorities was dissatisfaction. What is the second symptom?

    The Second Symptom: Discipline (1:9-11)

1:9 “You bring it home and God blows it away.” This is God’s active role in blocking our attempts to find life without Him. How might God do this to us? Cause us to have car problems or medical bills that take away our money? Why is He doing this to them? Because His temple is lying desolate. The old rules about blessing and cursing are still in effect, and since they had their priorities all wrong, God was beginning to bring down curses on them. They were trying to find happiness in things and God was not going to let them. You might compare Hosea 2:5-7.

I can identify with this. When we first arrived at seminary, we had quite a lot in our savings account. But school tuition, bills and many trips to the doctor for the kids' ear infections wiped us out the first year. I was really mad at God. I thought He was unfair. I thought He owed me because, after all, I had given up a good paying Air Force career to serve Him full time. I was blaming God. I think God deliberately took away our money so we would not depend on it. I don’t know if it was discipline (which is possible because of my attitude) or just the taking away of all my crutches. He kept me in sales related jobs where the income was very uncertain because He wanted me to learn to depend on Him. He has met all our needs and I have learned to trust Him. I'm sure I'm not totally cured, but I can say that I have much more peace about finances than two years ago.

1:11 - Who is the source of the national disaster? God. Some people have a difficult time believing that God causes earthquakes, hurricanes, droughts, etc. This doesn't say He let it happen. It says He called for it.

I think this drought is related to the blessings and cursings of the covenant of Deuteronomy 28: - 30: where God said He would cause drought if they turned from Him.

I think this raises a question. Sometimes people are in disaster and someone may say, “This is terrible, lets bail them out.” Another might be a “Job's friend” type of theologian and say, “Let them suffer, they must deserve it.” First we need to be aware that all disaster is not discipline from God. But sometimes it might be. I think we need to be aware that this might be true, but we must be careful not to let that become an excuse for not helping people. We also need to ask the question if a nation's poverty and starvation is the result of being caught up in some pagan idolatry. Take Somalia for example. What is our role supposed to be? Is our role to just feed them so they can continue in their perversion. The answer is to minister to their physical needs and try to lead them back to God. This is one reason we shouldn't contribute to organizations that just send food to starving people. Send your money to organizations which use food as a means to spread the Word.

Again, we need to examine our lives and see if we might be experiencing God's discipline. It is sometimes difficult to tell, because not all sickness or calamity is the result of sin in our lives. It may just be the result of living in a fallen world. But it sometimes is directed at us.

APPLICATION: So far we have seen two symptoms or results of misplaced priorities: Dissatisfaction and Discipline. The things of this world do not satisfy. If we try to find happiness in them and not in God , we won't. And not only will we be dissatisfied, we will also get the discipline of God.

Transition: Now that we know how to determine if we have misplaced priorities, how do we treat the problem?

The Treatment: The response of the people

I took a class called “Spiritual Life,” and in it we are discussing as you might have guessed, how to be Spiritual. A person might be able to place out of first year Greek, but nobody skips this class because we all need help here.

Several times the professor was asked how we can overcome this or that problem and several times he gave the same answer. He said we need four things - The Word of God, The Worship of God, The Spirit of God and the People of God. I had been studying Haggai in preparation for this lesson, and the last time he said that, it hit me that his four steps fit this next passage like a glove. So lets look at 1:12-14.

    The Word of God

In verse 12 we see that they understand the origin and the authority of the message. They recognized that it was from God. Then we see the obedience of the people (12a). We see the process of the revelation of God through Haggai to the people. They recognized this and obeyed.

Knowing and Understanding the Word is the foundation of the process. It is through the Word that we learn about God. It is how we learn what His will is for us. AND it is important that we OBEY the Word.

    The Worship of God

Next we see the reverence of the people. Notice that obedience precedes reverence. A change of heart always precedes acceptable worship. Haggai emphasizes this again in the third sermon. Also compare Micah 6:6-8

We also see that the people experience the presence of the Lord (vs 13). Their obedience and worship allow God to have fellowship with them.

What is worship? When you read the Word and see the omnipotence of God, the sovereignty of God, the goodness of God, that should stir something within you. You should want to respond to God. Worship reminds us that we're addressing the Holy Majestic God and that prevents us from reducing prayer to a wish list. When you do respond by confessing your weakness and sinfulness, singing His praises, praying, etc., that opens the way for God to have fellowship with you.

    The Spirit of God (vs 14)

The word Spirit with a capital “S” is not in the text. It actually says “Lord” but Romans 8:16 tells us that it is the Spirit of God that communicates with our spirit. So, when it says “the Lord stirred up the spirit...” it was the Holy Spirit that did it. Therefore, If I obey and I show reverence, then I am in the position for the Spirit of God to lead in my life. Then I am going to produce fruit. We see in 14a that the Spirit of God motivated them.

  • Was that true in the OT? The Spirit of the Lord was dispensed temporarily in the OT for special projects to carry on the work of the Lord. He was given to the prophets during their ministries. He was given to the kings during their reigns. So it was true in the OT.
  • Is this true in the NT? Eph 5: shows us the same principles. Remember, Eph 5:18 says be controlled by the Spirit. Everything changes when the Spirit of God is in control -

1. church life - speaking to one another in spiritual psalms and hymns and spiritual songs . . .
2. marriage life - 5:22-33 . . .
3. parenting 6:1-4 . . .
4. work relationships 6:4f . . .

So the Spirit of God is the one who gives us the motivation and the power to do God's will. We can’t do it without the Holy Spirit. Paul talks about this in Romans 7-8. He had a new nature or disposition as a Christian and he wanted to do what was right, but he couldn’t. Paul uses the word “I” 24 times in Romans 7:15-25 as he discusses his failure, but in chapter 8 he uses the word “Spirit” 13 times as he discusses victorious living. Our natural tendency is to try to do it on our own, but we can’t. Victory only comes when we depend on the Spirit to do it.

Finally we see the end result - they worked (14b). What is the secret to doing the work of God? The Spirit of God.

    The People of God

Notice also what 14b says, “and they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God.” Notice the plural. “They” worked together. The Christian life is not to be lived in isolation. We cannot do it on our own. We need the community of fellow believers for support and accountability, etc. That is why the author of Hebrews said not to neglect assembling together (Heb 10:25).

There was an elder in a former church of mine who moved away, looked for another Bible Church, and when they couldn't find one, decided to listen to tapes every Sunday instead. That didn't last long before he lost interest and finally totally forsook spiritual things. Now he doesn't even go to church and he is back in the same town, where the same Bible Church is.

Contrast that with what we experience in church, when, during the praise and prayer time, people give examples of how others in the church helped them during the week. It is a testimony to how God uses the people of God to support one another and help keep you in the faith.

That is the treatment for having misplaced priorities. If we study and obey the Word that naturally leads to a worshipful attitude. God can then have fellowship with us and the Spirit can motivate and empower us to do the work of God. But we can't do the work by ourselves. We need the community of God's people to do the work together.

Conclusion: Misplaced priorities in our lives can be diagnosed through recognizing dissatisfaction with life and discipline from God and treated through knowledge of the Word, the Worship of God, the Spirit of God and community with the People of God. The result will be a satisfying life involved in doing the work of God.

The Message of Courage
(2:1-9)

After they got their priorities straight and resumed the work of God, Haggai continued to preach to them. It wasn't enough that they got back to work. He wanted to make sure that they were doing the work with the right motives. Motivation is everything. In 1Co 3:12 we see that the believer's works will be evaluated. I'm convinced that it is our motivation that will determine if our works are classified as wood, hay and stubble or gold, silver and precious stones. So let's see how Haggai motivates them.

Improper motivation

Ezra 3:8-13 gives us the background to this.

Haggai starts off by comparing the temple with the temple that Solomon built. Why do you think he did this? Would that be motivating? Solomon's temple was an awesome sight.

Perhaps God doesn't want them to be motivated by wrong reasons such as pride. If they were out to set a Guinness book of world records temple, that would be motivational in itself. But they would have been building the temple for themselves and their own glory and not for God. But this was not an option because they did not have those kinds of resources. This was a group of people who had just returned from exile and they had very little wealth. Especially since we know that God had been causing a drought and probably other disciplinary actions. So he asks how many of them remembered the former temple. It's been 70 years so only those over 80 probably remembered. There were probably a few that remembered, and what would they have said? “This temple ain't nothing like Solomon's temple.” That wouldn't have been very encouraging, so Haggai says in vs 4, “Take courage...all you people of the land.”3

He is about to tell them why they should take courage, but first he has to tell them what not to base their courage on. So we can see a principle:

Principle: Comparison is wrong

We need to just do our best with the talents and resources we have and not compare ourselves or our fruit to others.

When I think about my best friend at seminary who has a photographic memory, an uncanny ability with languages, over 1000 verses memorized, I can feel pretty inadequate and want to give up or think I’ll never be a good teacher or professor. But I have to just remember that I need to be faithful and do my best and God will use me. He glories in weakness because it glorifies Him when all of us normal people accomplish great things.

Proper Motivation

Let's go back to the phrase, “Take courage...” If their motivation is not the fact that they are going to build an awesome temple, then what is the motivation? What brings them courage?

    The Promise of His Presence (2:1-5)

“. . . for I am with you” (vs 4) - This phrase goes back to Ex 19:4-6; 29:45; 33:12f, and Isa 63:11-14. In those passages you have God promising Moses that He would be with the Israelites. The Isaiah passage says it was the Spirit of God in their midst that protected and provided for them. What did God do before Nebuchadnezzar came in to take over Jerusalem? The glory of the Lord left the temple (Ezek 10:18-19). When Israel goes into captivity the Lord asks, “Where's the Holy Spirit now?”

But now God is back and the presence of the Lord should give them courage. Thus he says in verse 5, “Do not fear!”

What is the secret to doing the work of God? It is the presence of God. Like we talked about in the last section, it is the Spirit of God..

This is the same motivation we have in the New Testament. Matt 28:20 says, “Make disciples of all nations... for I am with you to the end of the age.”

This is the same principle we see in Rom 7-8 where Paul talks about failure to do the work of God in chapter 7 because he is trying to do it with his own power. But in chapter 8 he succeeds because he draws on the Spirit’s power.

Amazing continuity!

Principle Courage comes from knowing that God is present (2:1-4) cf. Heb 13:5-6

    The Promise of His Peace (2:6-9)

The second reason that they were to have courage was because God promises that He will bring peace. This section promises that the temple will be made more glorious in the future and that there will be peace. This could be a reference to the temple that Herod built and the peace that Christ made on the cross (Eph 2:14), or it could refer to the world peace that God will bring to the millennial temple. It may refer to both. You must remember that the OT prophet didn’t know there was a gap between the first and second coming.

What phrase stands out most in these verses? “Lord of Hosts” or Lord of Armies might be another way of looking at it. The phrase is found 285 times in the Bible. 91 of these occurrences are in post-exilic prophets. This phrase pictures God as a divine warrior, king and judge. The emphasis of the post-exilic prophets was to give the Israelites hope for the future so their messages showed how God was in control of the situation.

Verse 7 - “They will come . . .” - Do you remember the movie Field of Dreams and the famous phrase, “if you build it they will come?” That's just what Haggai is telling them. “If they build the temple now, in the future the nations will come . . .”4

Here's what God is going to do - God is going to shake up the world and use whatever falls out (which is everything) to rebuild the temple and fill it with glory. The future temple will put Solomon's to shame. cf. verse 9 “The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former.”

He also says in this place I will give peace. Would this be a comforting and encouraging message to Israel? Ask any Jew today. If they could rebuild the temple and have peace in the land, would they be happy? I heard two men on the radio talk show, “Point of View,” talking about all the preparations the Jews are making for the rebuilding of the temple and reinstitution of the sacrificial system. They said that no Jew will be happy until the temple is rebuilt. That is their symbol of national sovereignty.

So the promise of God's presence and peace are given as encouragement to the people.

Principle: The remedy for a discouraged heart is to see the divine perspective (2:6-7)

The promise of His presence and His peace bring courage. Prophecy is not just gee whiz information. It is supposed to establish my heart. It should purify my life. It shows me over and over again that God is in control. It doesn't just tell me the future, but in light of the future it tells me how to live today and that I can have hope.

____________________

This book is a prophetic book so let's talk prophecy for a minute.

In the process of Biblical revelation, here is something we can see from Haggai:

  • They know about the former glory of Solomon's temple.
  • They know about the present glory - in Haggai's time - and it's not very glorious.
  • They know about a future glory.
  • What don't they know? They don't know when all this is going to happen. They don't know if God is going to use this temple that they are building, expand it and fill it with glory or if this one will be destroyed in the future and a new one will be built. Haggai wants to get them to rebuild it because he sees the fulfillment of God's promises as imminent. As far as they know, the temple they are building is the one that is going to be expanded and made more glorious than Solomon's.
  • What do we know? We know that Haggai's temple was indeed expanded. But it wasn't by God, it was by Herod who rebuilt the temple. Because of Israel's response, Jesus said not one stone will be left upon another until all things are fulfilled. So we know that God's promise to Haggai hasn't been fulfilled yet.
  • From this we can take two options:
  • The first is that God is a liar or
  • Second, God will fulfill it in the future.
  • But from Haggai's point of view it was imminent. From the disciples' point of view it was imminent. That's why they asked if it was at this time that Jesus was going to restore the kingdom. Imminency is always in view. We can never presume on the timing of God.
  • There is another interesting thing to think about. Just how imminent was the kingdom when Jesus came? Would this prophecy have been fulfilled if the Jews had accepted Jesus as the Messiah
  • Who was responsible for the building project going on at the time of Herod? Herod was and he used the money of the Gentiles. Guess what is said here in (vs 7) and in the book of Zechariah about the ultimate temple. The finances of the world would build that temple. And Herod's temple was said to be more glorious than Solomon's. God was ready for the nation of Israel to accept Jesus as the Messiah. This prophecy would have been fulfilled if they had accepted Him at His first coming.

______________________

Message of Cleanliness
(2:10-19)

Defilement (2:10-14)

Haggai now asks the people a question which the priests are supposed to answer.

If a priest is carrying something holy and he touches something unholy, like a corpse, does that make the corpse holy? The answer is no.

If the person who is unclean touches the priest, does that make the priest unclean? The answer is Yes.

What is the point?

Holiness does not come by contact. It is not transferable. But contact with unholiness does defile. Take sickness as an example. If you are healthy and your spouse has the flu, and you kiss them, will that make them well? Will it make you sick?

What is the only exception to this? Jesus - He touched lots of unclean people - lepers, the woman with the bleeding problem, corpses, etc. They did not make him unclean. Instead, He made them clean. He healed them. This should have been a big clue to the Jewish leaders, priests, etc. of His identity.

Haggai makes his conclusion in vs 14. The Israelites were guilty of this very thing. This is why chapter 2 follows chapter 1. The “holy” rituals that the people had been performing in the past were useless because, as we have already seen in chapter 1, there was no obedience. They did not have holy hearts.

Principle Holiness is not transferable (2:11-12)

Principle Sin contaminates everything one does (2:13-14)

You might say, “But I thought they had gotten their act together and were working on the temple?” They had but the next verse shows that Haggai is looking back to the time before they had resumed the work.

Dependency (2:15-19)

Haggai tells them to look at the past.5 When they were not obedient, God kept them from prospering and He smote them with wind, mildew and hail. Verses 15-17 show us that God disciplined them for their uncleanness. The reference to smiting with mildew, etc. is a fulfillment of the cursings of Deut 28:22. That's why it is so important to understand the section about the blessings and cursings of Deut 28-31 when studying the prophets. Haggai makes continued reference to that.

Why did God strike them with this discipline? What is the purpose of the discipline of God? Annihilation or Restoration? It says, “yet you did not come back to Me.” Restoration is the purpose. It is amazing the principles found in the OT.

APPLICATION: How does this principle of restoration apply to us?

What should our reason for discipline be with our children? Especially with older ones with whom you can reason. To drive them away from us? The goal of “tough love” is to bring restoration.

What should the reason for church discipline be? To permanently remove the person from the fellowship of the church? No - Matt 18: 15-20 shows that the purpose is to restore the brother.

What should the reason for marital separation be? Matt 19 is Jesus’ teaching on divorce. It follows an extended parable on forgiveness. Within the context of forgiveness Christ deals with the issue of divorce. He says if a someone gets divorced, they should not remarry. Why? Because there is no longer any chance of restoring the relationship.

2:18-19 “From this day onward” - What is significant about “This day?” It says, “from the day when the temple of the Lord was founded...” They had begun the rebuilding of the temple. They hadn't finished it. They had just started, but what does God say? The blessing is already starting.

When does God's discipline start? It usually doesn't strike immediately. He allowed the Israelites to skip Sabbath years for 490 years and become very corrupt before He sent them to Babylon.

When does God's blessing start? Immediately when we turn to Him. He is so gracious.

If you decide to have devotions every morning for a week and are looking for the results - for God's blessing - that is a wrong motive. But if you start having devotions every day from here on out without worrying about the blessing, because you want to obey and worship God, when did God start blessing you? The day you started.

Where does the idea of dependency fit in to all this?

If you are depending on material things for happiness, God will take them away (vs 17) This is the same thing we saw in 1:6 and 9 in our discussion about dissatisfaction and discipline, but if you are depending on God for happiness, He will bless you and bring all the material things you need. I think motivation is important.

Does this book motivate you on how you should serve God?

He says it is important to have a clean life in vs. 12-14 and pure motives in 15-19. If you aren't doing it from a pure heart, it is wasted. I wonder how many good sacrifices are spoiled by bad hands and impure motives.

What do we do before we go teach or preach or whatever our ministry is? Do we examine our motives? Are we preaching for the money? Most aren't but a few of the televangelists might be. Again, those are easily recognized wrong motives. But, are we teaching for the praise of others which will temporarily fill that void in our life that our spouse doesn't fill? That he or she can really never “fill” - that void that only God can fill, but which we are not allowing Him to fill.

Principle: Disobedience brings discipline, while obedience guarantees blessing (2:15-19)

Message of Consummation
(2:20-23)

This last section looks to the future when God will do two things:

2:20-22 God will overthrow the nations. Has this ever happened? Not yet. So this must be referring to the end of the tribulation.

Principle God is sovereign over the nations and kingdoms of this world. (2:20-22)

2:23. This is a very disputed passage. It says, “On that day” which seems from the context to be referring to the same day that we just talked about - the end of the tribulation. At that time Zerubbabel will be made “like a signet ring.” Zerubbabel was in the direct line of David and should have been qualified to be the king. But if you go back to Jer 22:24, you see that Coniah (or Jehoiachin) the son of Jehoiakim was cursed and none of his descendants were allowed to sit on the throne. Zerubbabel was a great grandson of Coniah, so he was disqualified too.6 Some people think this means that Zerubbabel will co-reign with Christ. But so will we, so I don't think that is such a revolutionary conclusion.

Another idea is that Zerubbabel is like a signet ring. He is the governor and the symbol of authority. He is the symbol that God is going to fulfill His promise to David and restore the kingdom. But he is not actually sitting on the throne because Israel is not an independent nation. The signet ring had been taken away and given into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon.

Principle The covenants of the Lord are guaranteed to be fulfilled (2:23)7

Summary

(1) We saw that Haggai rebuked them for having misplaced priorities and he pointed out the results which were dissatisfaction with the things of this world and discipline from God.

(2) Their response was to obey God's message and resume the work on the temple. Their obedience (repentance/confession) cleared their conscience (we might say) so that they could worship God and brought the Spirit's enablement on them so they could do the work of God.

(3) Their courage and motivation was to come from the promise of God's presence and His peace. This is the peace of mind that comes from knowing that God is in control.

(4) Haggai also dealt with the issues of living clean and godly lives so they would not defile their work and sacrifices. He also urged them to depend on God for life.

(5) And finally, Haggai gave them hope for the future by revealing that God was going to destroy their enemies and establish His kingdom with them, His chosen people.

Principles from Haggai

    1. The work of the Lord should never be procrastinated (1:3)

    2. Misplaced priorities hinder the work of God (1:4,9)

    3. The goal of God’s work is His glory and pleasure. (1:8)

    4. God sometimes uses natural disasters for spiritual discipline (1:6,10,11)

    5. Obedience and reverence are prerequisites for spiritual blessing (1:12-14)

    6. It is never too late to start obeying God (1:12-15)

    7. Courage comes from knowing that God is present (2:1-4)

    8. The remedy for a discouraged heart is to see the divine perspective (2:6-7)

    9. Everything belongs to and is under the control of the Lord (2:7-8)

    10. Holiness is not transferable (2:11-12)

    11. Sin contaminates everything one does (2:13-14)

    12. Disobedience brings discipline, while obedience guarantees blessing (2:15-19)

    13. God is sovereign over the nations and kingdoms of this world. (2:20-22)

    14. The covenants of the Lord are guaranteed to be fulfilled (2:23)


1 Mark Bailey, Class notes. 1992.

2 Bailey, Class notes p. 3.

3 Notice the phrase, "people of the land." Did the discipline of God in the OT abrogate the promise of the land to Israel? No! If it did not cancel the land promise in the OT, then I must find some passage in the NT that cancels the land promise to Israel or I must expect what? -- That God will give the land to Israel. Some try to say that the church has replaced Israel and the promises God made to Israel will be fulfilled with the church. But in order to do this, many of these passages must be spiritualized and not taken literally. This is one of those passages that causes me to think there is a definite future for Israel. It causes me to be a pre-millennial dispensationalist. Sometime in the future God will fulfill his promise to Israel. That has to be in the Millennium. It sure hasn't been fulfilled yet.

4 Some see this as a reference to Messiah because the Hebrew word is singular. However, the verb is plural and this is probably to be viewed as a collective noun referring to the nations. God has already said "I will come and I will shake all the nations." So that is probably the antecedent to the pronoun.

5 The word is translated as "onward" in the NASB, and it is a little confusing, but what Haggai is saying is from now on, understand this. When you were disobedient, in the past, God cursed you.

6 There is some speculation that the curse only extended to Jehoiachin’s son.

7 Principles from Bailey's class handouts, 1992.