This Bible Study is written by Roger
Christopherson, and made available with written
permission by http://www.theseason.org
Haggai was a wise old man, and his name in the Hebrew means, "feast", or "festival."
The Children of Judah had returned out of captivity in Babylon, and started to rebuild God's house, His temple. In the middle of construction they stopped and started to complain. The cry was over not having the materials, and even for the fact that they wanted their houses before God was to have His. The excuse of a lack of materials is what they made for stopping construction, however, they found more then enough to build themselves very fancy houses, and well built houses. Meanwhile there stood God's house, it was just a foundation.
Fifteen years had passed since the return out of captivity; and God as well as Haggai does not like it. It is then that God started to speak through Haggai about the unfinished house [God's temple].
There are many prophecies in this book of Haggai, and those who study God's word in depth, will find much more of God's message to them here. Though Haggai is directing his words to get God's people back to work on the temple, it is also directed into the future, to the temple of Christ's body, His church. Have you been tending to the building of that temple, or have you become lazy also?
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,"
This book of Haggai records the first time God has spoken to man, following the captivity. The Jews are out of Babylon now; and Haggai is speaking to "Zerubbabel", which in the Hebrew tongue means "born in Babylon", or "sown in Babylon [confusion]".
The name "Shealtiel" in the Hebrew means, "Asked for from God".
Haggai 1:2 "Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, This People say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord's house should be built."
These people are just plain lazy; they have put off building God's house for fifteen years.
Haggai 1:3 "Then came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, saying,"
Haggai 1:4 "Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste?"
Their houses were "cieled", or paneled, which was used to line the walls and arches of their houses, yet they could not find even the most basic materials to completer God's house.
Today the temple of God is His many membered body of believers, who care about His Word, and what God is saying to them.
Haggai 1:5 "Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; consider your ways."
"Consider thy ways", in the Hebrew means much more that in the English. It means to stop, and give your full attention to this matter. Set your heart and mind to the full understanding to what is being said.
God is asking you and I today, as He was asking those Jews 2,400 years ago; "What have you done to add to, or finish My temple". Since you became a Christian, have you planted one seed of the gospel into the mind of another soul? This is just asking you to consider what these words are saying. Think and learn God's Word, so you will and can be useful to the Heavenly Father. Become skilled in His Word.
Haggai 1:6 "Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes."
Haggai is talking about those people that are just not satisfied with life, regardless of what they have. It seems like most Christians are that way. They are that way because they don't stop to consider their ways. When we don't put God first, then God sees to it that our money bags have holes in them. When you forget the Lord, you will always come up short.
"Peace of mind" comes only with satisfaction and peace that God can and will give. God has the ability to see that you prosper, or that you don't. In a lifetime, the wages you get adds up to a large some of money. Now consider, just where has all that money gone. God does have a hand in just how much money He will allow you to have and to hold.
Haggai 1:7 "Thus saith the Lord of hosts; consider your ways."
God is asking, "What have you done for Me".
Haggai 1:8 "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."
God is telling them to go to the "Mountain" or "hill country", in the Hebrew text. There you cut down some trees, and make Me a house. He is telling them, just make the house of wood. God is not demanding them to build a temple like the one King Solomon built, but something simple. Give forth an effort to please me. If you do this, "I'll take pleasure in it", and then I will get my honor back, as it reads in the Massoretic text.
God will be glorified, even it it was timber, instead of marble, in the structure of His house. To apply this to prophecy, the trees in the north country [Lebanon] are the "Cedars of Lebanon". These cedars are the "House of Israel", His people, also called "the sons of the Living God" in Hosea 1:10. Jesus Christ is the Living God, and those sons of His are called Christians.
So in the spiritual prophetic sense we are to go, and gather these trees, or people, to make up our Fathers temple. The temple of God today is made up on people, who are the timbers of God's earth temple. If we call Christ the "tree of Life" [symbolic], then in the same sense, we call His children the trees. Christ's temple is made of of people who believe, love and have received Him; and that is what gives Him pleasure, while His glory He gets is through the works we do for Him.
We are to build on the temple foundation that has already been laid; and that foundation is Jesus Christ.
Haggai 1:9 "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."
When we are young, we set very high goals, and plan all the things we expect to do to make our mark of success. However, was God included in those plans? Then when we look back on those plans, we see how far we fell short of all those perfect plans. We can see those many holes that came in our money bags. As you made your money, is was never enough, nor did it so what you expected it to do. God is asking you here, "Do you want to know why?"
"Because of mine house [temple] that is waste, and ye run every man to his own hours". Because you take no thought in speaking to others, and doing my work. You don't think of My house, you think of your gold, your silver, your job, all you can think about is yourself.
This is also the message on the tithe of God. It is tied to this word "blow", or "kindle". When you blow, or kindle on a fire when it starts, it grows very fast, then ignites into a blaze. This is also how God handles your tithe, He blows on it, and if it is right, given for the proper sacrifice to Him, then when He blows on it, God's blessings will also be bursting, and the blessings will flow. When God gets the glory, and the pleasure, He will bless.
However, the holes in your money bag also are kindled by that same fire, when God is left out. Do you get Haggai's message to all the people, including you and I? It's our choice on how the fire will be kindled.
Haggai 1:10 "Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit."
This dew that falls on you, is the "latter rain". It is the wisdom that falls from God Word into your mind, and gives understanding. This latter rain is what controls what you do and what you say; and friend, that understanding, or the lack of it; controls your entire life. It tells a person whether he will be blessed of God, or have holes in his money bags.
"Stay from her fruit" refers to the fact that if you planted no seeds, their is no fruit. Our work for our Heavenly Father is building His temple, and that temple is to be built of the foundation He has laid. That foundation is Jesus Christ our Lord. The fruit then, is all that comes from the seeds you plant to advance that temple that is being built. It is the souls that are drawn to Jesus Christ, and the work that you give when you are faithful. But we must do it God's way.
A seed planted in the ground will not grow unless there are all the right conditions around it. If they are not present, the seed will die. Doing it God's way, from His Word, makes those conditions right. Where are you planting your seeds, and How? Do you get it, my friend?
Haggai 1:11 "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."
God is telling you your going to follow Him, and study His word so you can do it His way. When you do it His way, then comes the peace of mind. God said; "I will cause a drought" on you and everything you have and do. This is the subject of Chapter one; doing what we do, God's way.
Haggai 1:12 "Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedeck, the high priest, with all the remnant of the People, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggi the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him, and the People did fear before the Lord.
Remember what "Zerubbabel" means. It means "Born in Babel [confusion]". Just because you are born in confusion, it does not mean you have to stay there. Zerubbabel was born in Babylon, but He came out of it. We must also come out of confusion, and we can only do that by receiving wisdom from the Living Word" of God.
They all "obeyed the voice of the Lord", which were "the words of Haggai the prophet". They all began to believe in the Lord, to pay respects to Him, and honor Him in all they did and said.
Haggai 1:13 "Then spake Haggai the Lord's messenger in the Lord's message unto the people, saying, "I am with you, saith the Lord"."
"I am with you!" This is the sacred name of the Father; "I am", declaring He is with you. This is God's commitment to them, and it is also given to you and I. It applies today, just as it applied in Haggai's day. "I am with you."
Haggai 1:14 "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; and they came and did work in the house of the Lord of hosts, their God,"
When the Spirit of the Living God, blends with your spirit, then things happen. The house of God, or the temple of the Lord, gets built. All the timbers [people] of that house [the body of Christ] fall in place, and god gets all the glory and great pleasure from it.
Did you get the other part of the verse? They came and they DID WORD in the house of the Lord. It took work to build God's house. Without the people and their labor, the house sat dormant, just a foundation. Sure prayer is important, but the work gets the house built.
The "house of God" today is made up of the "body of believers", that make up Christ's Church on earth. We are building that house one timber [person] at a time, set in place to do his [her] part to the completion of that temple. Paul puts it this way in Romans 12:4-5; For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office. So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another."
It takes more than belief and prayer to build God's Christ; to place each member in the office God has for them, it takes work and study. This is more meaningful today then anytime in history, for it is written to the final generation. Today, Jesus Christ is putting the final touches on His house, His body of believers, and your will either be part of that temple, or you will be part of Satan's world religious system. That system is well formed today.
Haggai 1:15 "In the four and twentieth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king."
They accomplished much; not because their spirit was raised up, but because God's spirit took their work, and He blew upon it, and it multiplied. We see it did not take much time to get the house built when the Spirit joined with their spirit, and they got back to work. Then God blessed them.
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