Haggai For Today - Part Two

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This is the conlusion of Part One. Haggai was a man of strong conviction and a very strong mesage for Israel. It is directly porportionate to the 21st Century Christian as well.

Haggai For Today (Part Two)

Gail D Prentice

Haggai means festive.  Which means joyous, cheerful, jolly or jovial.  How would you like to have a name like that?

Haggai prophesied after the return from captivity under Nebuchadnezzar. His prophesies were about 16 years after the return.

Now to refresh our minds to where we left off, let’s go to Haggai 1:10.

Haggai 1:10-15, “Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit.  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.  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, and the people did fear before the Lord.  Then spake Haggai the Lord's messenger in the Lord's message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the Lord. 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; and they came and did work in the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, In the four and twentieth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.”

The church today can learn a lesson from the Jewish remnant of Haggai's day. Too often, we make excuses when we ought to be making confessions and obeying the Lord. We say, "It’s not time for an evangelistic crusade," "It’s not time for the Spirit to bring revival," "It's not time to expand the ministry." We act as though we fully understand "the times and the seasons" that God has ordained for His people, but we don't understand them, Acts 1:6-7, When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.”

Now, let’s move into Chapter 2.

Hag 2:3, “In the seventh month, in the one and twentieth day of the month, came the word of the Lord by the prophet Haggai, saying, Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and to the residue of the people, saying, Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?”

Who is left that remembers the House of God in its first glory?  If I were to ask you how of you remember how this church that we are in right now looked like the day you first set foot in it, who could say that they do?  Now how does it look?  What kind of comparison could you make between that time and how it is today?  Is it better… worse… about the same?  Pews are getting tattered and need recovered.  Carpet is badly worn down the center.  Did you notice the broken sidewalk?

I don’t bring this to your attention to find fault.  I have spoken with the pastor and he says that most of this is in committee right now for approval.  But do you see my point?  I am not here to embarrass anybody or to cause shame.  I want to show you where the church was and where it is as a comparison to your home.  Is your home in this condition?

Now, let’s jump down to verse 11.

Haggai 2:11-14, “Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying, If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No.  Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean.  Then answered Haggai, and said, So is this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the Lord; and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean.”

Haggai was asking the spiritual leaders of the church, the priests, do you still remember the laws?  Isn’t it amazing that they can remember the laws that were so binding and restrictive?  What has changed?  If someone commits a violation of a denominational code of conduct, the law is quickly pointed out and enforced, but when it comes to God’s house or God’s people, so quickly it just slips into oblivion and forgotten.

Verse 14 brings out that this people is in whole unclean as a nation.  The work of their hands is unclean, and their offerings are unclean.  God was not a happy camper.  He saw wealth squandered selfishly upon themselves while the House of God lay in ruins.  He saw all sorts of moral debauchery, wickedness, depravity and sin being practiced as if it were totally acceptable and it was happening in the ministry as well.

Hag 2:15-18, “And now, I pray you, consider from this day and upward, from before a stone was laid upon a stone in the temple of the Lord:  Since those days were, when one came to an heap of twenty measures, there were but ten: when one came to the pressfat for to draw out fifty vessels out of the press, there were but twenty.  I smote you with blasting and with mildew and with hail in all the labours of your hands; yet ye turned not to me, saith the Lord.  Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the Lord's temple was laid, consider it.” 

15-16… Consider this day forward, was proclaimed by Haggai as a call to remember the past and to strongly reflect to this day and every day from now on.  The temple in times past was the bulwark or stronghold for the nation. Their strength as a nation was measured by the value of the Temple.  The Temple lay in ruins and so did their personal lives.  Though they lived in extravagance, they were a moral ruin.

I remember, when I was a youngster, that the Church was the cornerstone of the community.  It was the church building that was where people went to vote.  It was the church building where communities gathered when there was a community meeting.  If a child got lost or separated from his parents, they went to a church, and so did the parents.  They knew that they would most likely find their child there.  The church was the stronghold of the community.

Laws were written around the church.  Businesses did business in accordance to the church.  Schools scheduled their activities around the church.  I remember when there was never a school function on a Wednesday evening.  That was the church’s night.  There was never a school activity that ever interrupted a Sunday or a Wednesday evening.

Whole towns, every business was closed on Sunday except the Church.  If you were a traveler and passed through town on a Sunday, you would be able to check into a motel and wait for Monday to get gas to continue your trip.

What do we have today?  Seldom do you see a business closed on Sunday anymore.  School functions are more important than Wednesday evening services.  In fact, the lust for the almighty dollar, time at the lake water skiing, or out four-wheeling ranks higher than a Sunday service anymore.

This does not even bring the doctrine of tithe into the equation.  If I were to bring this onto the table, people would slither out the door quietly.

The people in Haggai’s day claimed to have brought 20 measures but it was only 10, claimed 50 vessels of wine, but it was only 20.  They were so busy cheating the system, you would think it was the IRS and most people doing their taxes.  They lied about their earnings and their expenses, mercy, mercy, that sounds like 21st century church people of today.

17… Even after God brought calamity upon them, they still would not turn to Him.  They would not ask Him for help in their dire straits, but leaned upon their own bank accounts, granaries and barns, until there was virtually nothing left.  Doesn’t that sound like the people of America today?

18… Consider from this day forward how when you begin the foundation of God’s Holy Temple how things are going to change.  How many times have you heard, “When I get this done, things are going to change?”  How many times have you said the same thing?  It is much like a New Year’s Resolution.  Words sound good, but they are never backed up with action.

Haggai 2:19, “Is the seed yet in the barn? yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day will I bless you.”

What an unusual question.  It was not time for the harvest, but it was time to plant.  If God were to ask you, “Is there seed yet in the barn?”  What would He be asking?

Would it be that you would answer no, there is no seed in the barn, because I did not save enough to plant another crop?  I squandered it foolishly.

Would your answer be, yes, I have enough to plant to make it another harvest and enough to feed my family and my livestock until then?

Consider the state of their way of living.  They lived luxuriously while the Temple/Church suffered ruin.  They lived in extravagance while people around them suffered loss and showed no compassion.  They spent fortunes on themselves, while cheating the Church and those who were trying to minister to their spiritual needs.

Here in verse 19, God turns the table on them.  If you have seed in the barn, I will bless your planting and your harvest, from this day forward.  If you will turn your seed over to Me, I will bless you abundantly.

He goes on…  Hag 2:20-23, “And again the word of the Lord came unto Haggai in the four and twentieth day of the month, saying,  Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth; And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother.  In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the Lord, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the Lord of hosts.”

Sometimes when God starts shaking, it is the Church that gets shook first.  In this case, God sent Haggai to shake things up a bit.  Some toes got stomped on, some priests got rattled, some people got awakened out of a not so blissful slumber.

BUT, when the people finally got their act together, God began shaking out some blessings.  God brought victory over enemy kingdoms and armies, etc.

A signet is the seal of leadership.  If one were to be as a signet, they would be as a leader and as a nation!

We are faced with a situation as a nation.  Is there any seed in the barn?

We are faced with a situation as a Church?  Is there any seed in the barn?

We are faced with a situation as individuals?  Is there any seed in the barn?

If we want to be blessed as a nation, we need to find where our resolve is.  As a Church, we need to fall on our faces before God, repent and seek Him with all that is within us.

As a nation, as a Church, and as an individual we want God to shake out blessings.  We want victory over ALL of our enemies, but have we saved back anything for God?  Have we spent it all on ourselves?  Is there anything left to invest into the Kingdom of God?

If we want to stand as a signet, as a nation, as a church or as an individual, we need to ensure that we have seed in the barn to sow for tomorrow’s crop.  Should we not have any seed for tomorrow, then the crop is guaranteed to fail.

If we are not sowing into the lives of others, the lost will never be found.  Churches will fail and then disappear.

So, I ask you, is there any seed in the barn?  If not, then come collect some for your crop at the altar.  God is ready to share seed with you, if you will ask of Him.

Submitted: April 26, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Gail-D-Prentice. All rights reserved.

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