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Haggai

Do Not Neglect God

By William R. Cunningham
September 20, 2015

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Who Was Haggai?

Haggai was a prophet during the reign of King Darius I, The Great (522-485 B.C.).  Very little is actually known about Haggai.  He was what is known as a minor prophet in the Hebrew Bible (Christian Old Testament).  His ministry occurred during the time of the return from Babylon captivity. His contemporary was Zechariah.

The work of rebuilding the temple was stopped and it was in ruins.  At this period of time the word of the Lord came to Haggai to those remnants (those returned from captivity) concerning the condition of the House of God, i.e., the Temple.

King Darius I

Darius I was the King of Persia from 522 – 486 B.C.  He was a very capable administrator and organizer.  He standardized the coinage system and weights and measures.  He built a network of roads and established trade.  Darius also established a postal system in addition to initiating great building projects.

OF significance to the Jews was that Darius continued the policy of Cyrus The Great of allowing the Jews to return to their homeland to restore their worship in the Temple.  Darius even subsidized the project.

Darius died in 486 B.C. and his son, Xerxes I, The Great, inherited the throne.

Chapter 1

The word of the Lord came to Haggai on the second year, first day, and sixth month of King Darius.  The actual date is known due to extensive Persian records.  This date was August 29th 520 B.C.  Haggai was prophet to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, and Joshua the High Priest, son of Jehozadak.

At this time Judah did not have a king of its own.  This was during the time of the Gentiles when they were ruled by other nations, in this case the Persians.

The Jews who were back in their homeland (Jerusalem) were saying in so many words that it wasn’t time to rebuild the Temple (House of God).  The people, according to verses 3-4, were building their own houses and leaving the temple in ruins (or that may have been a reference to the wealthy or rulers (since the average house would not have been paneled).

Verses 1:10-11 declares that their plight was due to the fact that they neglected to House of God and instead were building nice houses for themselves or at best going on with their own lives and neglecting God’s House.

  • God appears to be particular about loyalty to him
  • Neglecting the Temple means that they were also neglecting worship;
  • The drought was also on everything their hands produced and not just the animals, land, etc.

Zerubbabel, Joshua, and the people heeded the word of the Lord from Haggai.  God stirred up the hearts of the people, Zerubbabel, and Joshua and they began the work to rebuild the temple.  They also had the word from Haggai that God would be with them.

Point to Note

By neglecting God’s House (the Temple) the people were also neglecting worship since that was the primary purpose of the temple.  They were therefore neglecting God. Their relationship with God suffered because of this.  By not caring about the Temple (the center of worship) they were expressing their disrespect for God.  They did not hold God in high esteem or consider Him worthy of worship and so they didn’t worship Him and therefore did not care about building the Temple.

The Temple was the place where God was worshipped and this worshipped happened in various ways by various activities, e.g., sacrifices.

Worship – reverence offered God, respect, worthiness, respect, reverence paid to a God, Extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to God.

Chapter 2

There were some people, including Zerubbabel and Joshua that saw the Temple in the past in all its glory.  It seems that they may have been looking at the current state of the Temple and being very discouraged.  The Temple in the past was extravagant.  People would make the Temple in that manner to make it worthy of the deity that would be worshiped there.  In this case the people who were old enough remember the glory of the Temple in the past and how it was worthy of God’s presence.  They may have not felt the same way about the temple now.  They perhaps thought that God would not want to come and reside in the temple that they saw to be unworthy.
It is also possible that some thought that God had abandoned them since they were in Babylonian captivity until the Persians defeated them.  Now they were under Persia rule.

Nevertheless God instructed them to work.  He said for them to be strong and that he would be with them, which He promised long ago (Exodus 33:16-17).

God said that the future glory of the Temple will be greater than its past glory.  Great treasures will find its way to the Temple as God will shake nations.  He is going to fill the Temple with His glory.

Verses 2:15-19

  • The people were defiled so all they did was defiled.
  • Holiness or consecration is not transferred through things that the consecrated or holy object touches.  Defilement is transferred second handedly so to speak.  For example, If I am holding a consecrated object in my pocket and a spoon touches my pocked then that spoon will not be made holy.  If on the other hand I was to touch something that is ceremonially unclean and then touch something else then that something else will also be ceremonially unclean.
  • The people were like that.  They were defiled because they neglected God’s house so therefore everything they did became defiled resulting in no prosperity.

Now they would be blessed, because they were moved to begin work on the Temple.

Verses 2:20-23

  • God was going to prosper Zerubbabel.  Rulers (armies) will fall.  God said that He would take Zerubbabel and make him like His signet ring.

Signet Ring

A signet ring was a ring that contained the seal of a king or high official.  It is much like a personal signature.  The signet ring was used to give authority to a document.  This confirmed that the document had the authority of the one who “signed” it with the signet ring.

Points to Consider

  • Worshipping God is critical
  • Worshipping God is demanded by God.
    • Worship indicates what God means to you
  • Lack of worship could bring a lack of prosperity to you
  • God should not be neglected in our lives
  • We should not be so busy with other things and neglect the things of God.
  • God used natural things (drought) to get the people to consider their ways.  Note that the drought was due to the people’s actions.

 

Conclusion

Do not neglect the things of God.  Do not neglect God in your life. We should indeed acknowledge God in all of our ways (Proverbs 3:6).  Jesus said it plainly.

Matthew 6:33 (HCSB) - {33} But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.

And.

Matthew 4:10 (HCSB) - {10} Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him.”

Your relationship with the Lord is the most important thing you have and your life should reveal that.

 

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