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Haggai 1 - Getting Priorities Straight

A. God rebukes the returning remnant for their misplaced priorities.

1. Introduction. (1)

a. In the second year of King Darius: The prophecy of Haggai gives us specific chronological marking points (Haggai 1:1, 1:15, 2:1, 2:10, 2:20). The prophecy begins in September, 520 b.c.

i. This makes Haggai the first among the post-exilic Minor Prophets..

ii. In 538 b.c. Cyrus King of Persia allowed the exiled Jews to return to Jerusalem after 70 years in captivity. Two years later (536 b.c.) construction on the temple began, led by Zerubbabel. The work stopped after two years (534 b.c.).

b. The word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet: In the difficult years of the return from exile God spoke to His people through the prophet Haggai.

i. Haggai is also mentioned twice in the Book of Ezra, the priest who oversaw the work of rebuilding the temple: (Ezra 5:1-2; 6:14)

2. An excuse for not rebuilding the temple. (2)

a. The time has not come: Haggai gave this first word in September, 520 b.c. At that time the exiles had been back in Jerusalem for 18 years - but the work of rebuilding the temple laid idle for the last 14 years.

b. This people says:

c. The time has not come, the time that the Lordís house should be built: The people made their excuse sound spiritual. The couldnít speak against the idea of building the temple, so they spoke against its timing. ďIt isnít Godís timing to rebuild the temple.Ē

  1. Haggai exposes their wrong priorities. (3-4)

a. Then the word of the Lord came:

b. It is time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses:

c. And this temple to lie in ruins: This was the real problem - not that Godís people lived in paneled houses, but that they lived in such personal comfort and luxury while the temple was in ruins.

d. Houses: ďIt seems to intimate some of them had more than one house, a city and a country house.

4. Consider your ways - and the result of them. (5-6)

a. Consider your ways!

b. You have sown much, and bring in little:

i. Haggai describes a double curse. Instead of much, little was reaped; and the little that was brought home melted away without doing any good (earns wages to put into a bag with holes).

c. You drink, but you are not filled with drink:

5. What they must do: rebuild the temple. (7-11)

a. Go up to the mountains and bring wood:

b. That I may take pleasure in it and be glorified:

c. You looked for much, but indeed it came to little:

d. For I called for a drought on the land:

e. On the grain and the new wine and the oil:

B. The response to Haggaiís prophecy.

1. They obeyed God and feared His presence. (12)

a. Then Zerubbabel . . . and Joshua . . . with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord:

b. The voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet:

c. The words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him:

d. The people feared the presence of the Lord:

2. God responds to His people. (13-15)

a. I am with you, says the Lord:

b. So the Lord stirred up the spirit:

c. They came and worked on the house of the Lord:


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