"Build the House of God"

13/07/2014 12:36

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Date: 13 July, 2014

Text: Haggai 1

Title: Build the House of God

Theme: How God spoke to His people so that... "they came and did work in the house of the LORD of hosts, their God"

Introduction:

If you are ever really interested in a current event. It's good to follow multiple news feeds about that event. Different reporters cover different angles of the same story and give a better picture of what really took place.

 

God has done that with His Word. He did that with the Gospels. You've got Matthew, Mark, Luke and John covering the life of Christ, His miracles, His parables, His story. In the OT, you've got multiple prophets living at the same time.  That is the case in our text from the book of Haggai.

 

He is a contemporary of Ezra and Zechariah. The book of Esther also took place during this time.

 

Israel has already been through the 70 years of exile in Babylon.  Daniel has passed off of the scene and Ezra has led the people back to rebuild the temple.

 

1.) They built the altars first to worship.

Ezr 3:

2  Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God.

3  And they set the altar upon his bases; for fear was upon them because of the people of those countries: and they offered burnt offerings thereon unto the LORD, even burnt offerings morning and evening.

6  From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt offerings unto the LORD. But the foundation of the temple of the LORD was not yet laid.

 

2.) They laid the foundation.

10  And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the LORD, after the ordinance of David king of Israel.

11  And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.

 

3.) The enemies stop their work for 5 years and then the work ceases for 10 more years.

1 ¶  Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the LORD God of Israel;

2  Then they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers, and said unto them, Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assur, which brought us up hither.

3  But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said unto them, Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God; but we ourselves together will build unto the LORD God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us.

4  Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building,

5  And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.

 

4.  The King by command causes the work to cease.

6 ¶  And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, wrote they unto him an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.

24  Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

 

5. God sends his prophets to stir up the people to build the HOUSE OF GOD.

Ez. 5:1 ¶  Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them.

2  Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem: and with them were the prophets of God helping them.

 

note:  God has preserved the message of these prophets in the books called by their names. The book of Haggai contains 4 of the messages which Haggai preached to call God's servants to the work. And so God's Word says in Haggai 1....

 

1 ¶  In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying,

 

How does God get people who are careless about God's work to care for God's work? They had tried to work but had been stopped. Now they were more interested in their own things. Life has gotten very busy. But, God is going to send them a wake up call through His servants. They will have to stop and think about God's work.

 

I. The condition of the people.

            A. God knew that they had a heart problem.

2  Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come,

exp.  They knew that God's work would eventually need to be done but they were putting it off.  Yes, there was a problem. The temple was run down. But, they didn't care to move forward in getting it done. God had not impressed it upon their hearts and so they were waiting. (And yet they were waiting in sinful rebellion against God.)

ill. We had a church building project at a church which we worked at. There was a large fund that was a "trust" fund that someone had given to the church. The church trusted in it to see them through any financially hard times in the church. The church leadership wanted to see it available to general fund needs. But, some in the church resisted. God made it necessary to open up that fund and then the church could be renovated. It is now a beautiful building again because God allowed those funds to be accessed.

app.  What needs this morning do you see in the church physical or spiritual. Should we really wait for God to chasten us to get them done or should we move to meet needs as they arise? The temple should have been rebuilt long ago. But, the people weren't "impressed" to get the work done. THEY HAD A HEART PROBLEM.

            B. God knew that they weren't going to move forward in His work.

the time that the LORD’S house should be built.

exp.  Not yet.  Another year has come and gone. Not yet.  10 years the work has been ceased without any work being done.  Weeds are growing up in God's building and decay is everywhere, but still they said the time to work was not yet.

question:  If the people were burdened for God's temple to be built, would they have been content to wait so long without a struggle even though the king had decreed the work stoppage?

ill.  Peter and John were told by the Sanhedrin to stop preaching. This was there response, Acts 4:19  But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.

Then they went and had a prayer meeting with the church and went back to work.

exp.  Why would God lead his people out of captivity and allow his house which represented the love of His people for Him to lie waste for 15 years? Or was it Satanic hinderance which should have been overcome by the faith of His people?

app.  Does God really not desire to build strong churches today? Is it "not yet his time to work?" Or is it time to take up the tools of building by faith believing that God WILL allow the CHURCH to be rebuilt FOR HIS GLORY?!

 

II. The conviction of the people.

            A. God spoke to them through His servants.

3  Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying,

exp.  There is a problem and God is going to correct it by way of a messenger from Him.

ill.  Correcting one of our younger children this week and saying, "When I send someone to tell you what to do, you had better obey them as you would obey me."

app.  How do we respond to God's messengers? As a pastor I need to listen to preaching. Most weeks I have my ipod with me as I do evangelism listening to the preachinig of God's Word. Why? We need God to SPEAK TO US THROUGH HIS WORD BUT IT IS VAIN IF WE DON'T RESPOND.  Are you letting God use his weak messengers to get through to your heart?

            B.  Should you be delighted when God's house is despised.

4  Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste?

exp.  They had their "creature comforts" but God's house didn't have the bare necessities. Ceiled houses were panelled houses.  They were well made homes that were very comfortable for the inhabitants.

ill.  I can see the man of the house putting his feet up in the lazy boy of their day. He has a nice cold glass of grape juice in his hand. He has put a lot of money into the beauty of his home and is enjoying just looking at all the niceties. And not 200 yards away is the ruins of the house of God.

app.  How can we have money for every creature comfort while we let the work of God become run down? I wonder how many struggling churches who are just barely able to meet their missions obligations and pay their bills, have people with the best tv package, the most expensive groceries, the nicest clothes, the best cars, the highest limit credit cards to purchase the newest gadgets....etc. I don't wonder what God thinks about it. He has just told us in His Word.  THERE IS A BIG PROBLEM WHEN GOD'S WORK HAS NEEDS AND MEN'S HOMES HAVE ABUNDANCE.

 

III. The consideration of the people.

            A. Because of their desire for comfort, God wanted them to stop and think.

5  Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.

exp.  "Therefore" because you dwell in pannelled houses and my house is run down, "Consider your ways."

ill.  When a child comes to train tracts that are unprotected, they should stop, look and listen, so that they can safely cross the tracts.

app.  God has brought his people to a cross roads. He has put a stop, look and listen into His word.

            B. They couldn't attain satisfaction because satisfaction IS FROM GOD.

exp. Why did these people have nice houses? They were seeking satisfaction in what they had - NOT IN WHO THEY HAD. The problem was that the satisfaction from things is a SATISFACTION THAT IS GOD GIVEN.

note: Things by themselves don't satisfy. Things WITH GOD satisfy. And God without THINGS satisfies. But, God must always be there for satisfaction.

                        1. Little return for their investments.

6  Ye have sown much, and bring in little;

ill.  They had farms and crops. They had invested in the planting. They had worked for the harvest. The crops had failed because SEED WITHOUT GOD'S BLESSING WAS NOT ENOUGH.

app.  We may compartmentalize our lives and say that church and work don't affect one another. But, if we said that, we would be wrong.  Their work had nothing to do with "church" and yet it did. They didn't have God's blessing on their work because they weren't right with God at "church."

                        2.  An unsatisfied appetite.

ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink;

exp.  They had physical desires. Those desires were not being met. There was enough to get by but never enough to be content.

                        3.  Material dissatisfaction.

ye clothe you, but there is none warm;

exp.  They would go shopping and buy the nicest garment and yet somehow it wasn't quite enough. They were still cold even though they had on the warmest cloak of their day.

app.  Happiness is not to be found in things. Happiness is found in Christ.

Ne 8:10  .... the joy of the LORD is your strength.

                        4. They had a constant drain on their finances.

and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.

ill.  Like the daffy duck cartoons where he has a bag of money that is leaking all the way to the bank.

exp.  They got their pay and put it into their pockets with holes and it fell out their trouser leg.

app.  They could hold onto their resources BECAUSE THEY WEREN'T USING THEM FOR GOD. Neither can we. The best way to use our money for OUR OWN BENEFIT is to use it for God's benefit.

Malachi 3:10  Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

            C.  God again puts his finger on their conscience.

7  Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.

exp.  Why would God repeat his command? Because this "consideration" contained the answer to their need for God's blessing.

transition: He continues this line of thinking with them.

 

IV.  The conclusion of the people.

            A. Take God's work seriously.

8  Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD.

exp. The book of Haggai is very practical.  He has told them, "You don't have God's blessing." Now he says, "Here is how you get it."

question:  Did the people have to feel bad and deeply convicted of their error? No. They might have felt bad and they might not have felt bad about it. What they needed was to KNOW why they didn't have God's blessing and they needed to CHANGE what they were doing to get it.

app.  You may not feel that convicted by this message. But, if you know that it is true and that there are things in your life that need to change. We need to change when God shows us error regardless of how we feel.

exp. They needed to take God's work seriously.

            B. Take God's displeasure seriously.

                        1.  You have been punished because of your ignorance of God's design.

9  Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.

exp. Husbands and wives could look at one another and say, "That's right. We've been struggling financially and everything we do keeps failing. We haven't cared about God's house like we should. That must be why we haven't had God's blessing."

app.  Do you consider every angle of failure except for the fact that IT MAY BE DIVINE CHASTENING because God's work is being neglected? (Not just financially....that was only part of their respnsability.) They had to physically build God's work.  Do you go on visitation? Do you tell others about Jesus? Do you try to build up God's house?

                        2.  God has not allowed you to be blessed in your disobedience.

10  Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit.

11  And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.

exp.  Surely they could see these instances of God's displeasure. The prophet says, "This is why." Now they have a choice. They could make excuse and say it was just coincidental. Or they could accept the fact that it was divine.

app. Surely the God Who doesn't change, works in the same ways today. Will he let His work be ignored by believers and not touch the things which have stolen their heart from Him? God won't let us be blessed in our disobedience either.

 

V. The consecration of the people.

            1. They repented.

12 ¶  Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him,

exp.  They had not been in obedience to God. They had to repent and submit.

ill.  I've heard of JW's cards which they have to fill out saying how much time they spent evangelizing. We don't do that because we are accountable to GOD AND NOT TO MEN.

app.  But, we should be rebuked by the messengers of Satan being more diligent about Satan's work than we are about God's work. We don't need an altar call, we need people to show up for visitation. We need people to show up for services. We need people to arrive for church work days. These men "obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him." Are we as wise?

            2. They feared God.

and the people did fear before the LORD.

exp.  Why had they gone so long without obeying God, because they weren't walking in the fear of the Lord. How else could they watch the temple decay when it was to be rebuilt in the day of their stewardship.

ill. Parable of the Slothful servant. Matthew 25:

25  And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

26  His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:

27  Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.

28  Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.

29  For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.

30  And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

app.  He didn't fear his master even though he said He feared him. How can the church take God's work so casually and watch his work decay and not care? There is only one way possible and that is to walk without the FEAR OF THE LORD. They may say they fear God but if they aren't doing His work they do not fear Him.

            3. God repented.

                        a. He promised His presence.

13  Then spake Haggai the LORD’S messenger in the LORD’S message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the LORD.

exp. All right. You've gotten right. Now you are on my side again. I'm with you.

                        b. He stirred up the leadership.

14  And the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people;

exp.  The people were right and the religious leaders were again burdened to lead the people in the work of the Lord.  God DID NOT JUST GIVE THEM BACK PHYSICAL BLESSING. HE GAVE THEM BACK SPIRITUAL BLESSING.

            4. They got involved again in God's work.

and they came and did work in the house of the LORD of hosts, their God,

15  In the four and twentieth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.

exp.  God got people who were careless about His work to care for His work? HOW?

conclusion:

1.) By dealing with their condition? (They had a heart problem and were putting off His work.)

2.) By convicting them. (They were enjoying their toys when God didn't have his tools.)

3.) By making them consider their ways. (Satisfaction is from God not things. They were away from God.)

4.) By bringing them to his conclusion. (Take God's work and displeasure seriously.)

5.) By bringing them to new consecration. (They repented and God did as well.)