This is sermon number two in a three part series on the Old Testament book of Haggai. To read the notes from the first sermon, click here.
• The people had been back in the land for ten years.
• Though they were the people of God and were asked to rebuild the temple of God, somehow, after ten years they had never gotten around to it.
• They kept making excuses for why it was not yet the right time to focus on God’s priorities.
• Haggai challenged them to consider what their priorities really were.
Verse 12 - …the entire remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the LORD their God and the words of the prophet Haggai...
• Because prophets often challenged the way people thought about things and attempted to move people out of their comfort zones, they normally got negative responses.
• Perhaps to Haggai’s surprise, this group of people actually responded positively to his message about priorities.
• The ENTIRE group responded positively and that seldom happens!
• Usually only a few individuals respond to the voice of God and the rest ignore His calling.
• Haggai’s message sunk deep into the hearts of those who heard it.
• Perhaps because they already knew it was true and truth always resonates with those who are called by God.
• The people obeyed the “voice of the Lord.”
• Though God used Haggai to deliver the message, it was the voice of the Lord that the people responded to.
• It can sometimes be hard to hear the voice of God in our lives because of all the other voices that crowd out the Lord.
• When we take time to stop and think about our actions and our priorities, we often can hear the voice of the Lord more clearly.
• We must learn to build some quiet time in our lives so we can hear God speak.
• The people also obeyed the “words of the prophet.”
• Though we must be careful about blindly following people who claim to speak for the Lord, the Lord does often use people to show us His plan for our lives.
• If we have a discerning spirit, then we will be able to find pastors and teachers who can give us the right advice for godly living.
Verse 13 - Haggai, the LORD's messenger, delivered the LORD's message to the people, "I am with you" was the LORD's declaration.
• Though Haggai had been used by God to first deliver a strong message that shook the people up, he is now used by God to offer those same people a word of comfort and hope.
• God’s message to the people was the He was with them.
• If God is with us, who can stand against us?
• We enjoy hearing messages of hope more than messages that challenge the way we think or live.
• But hope that is built on wrong living or wrong thinking is false hope.
• Therefore, we often need to hear what we might perceive as a negative message first before the positive message will really help us.
• This is true for both Christians and non-Christians.
• Non-believers must first realize they are lost and in need of Christ before they can repent of their sins and place their faith in Christ.
• We cannot “sugar coat” the Gospel in hopes of attracting more people.
• We have to tell it like it is and only then will people understand what life COULD be like if God was involved.
• John 3:16 is more powerful when we first understand John 3:18. “Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already . . .”
• Once people see that life with the Lord is much better than life without Him, then they will be more apt to commit to follow Him in a real and meaningful way instead of just looking for fire insurance against the flames of hell.
Verse 14 - The LORD stirred up . . . the spirit of all the remnant of the people. They began work on the house of Yahweh of Hosts, their God.
• The Lord stirred up the spirit of the people.
• We do not stir up our own spirits through good works, motivational speeches or external rewards.
• The Lord is the one who starts the process.
• The Lord must first do something inside of us that is deeply spiritual and transformational.
• Once the Lord has stirred our spirit, then we must decide if we will quench the Spirit, or join God in His amazing work.
• When the Jews got stirred up, they decided to get busy doing God’s work. They began to rebuild the temple.
• Though they had neglected this important work for ten long years, when they finally got their priorities right, they went to work with passion.
• Past failure does not limit a successful future if God is with us.
• Perhaps we have been only half-heartedly following the Lord for many years, but now something is stirring inside us.
• Will we allow that spiritual stirring to flow freely in and through us?
•Or will we quench the Spirit’s work inside of us?
• Dear Lord, today I sense You stirring my spirit to _____________. Give me the courage and commitment to follow that stirring completely. Amen.
• When we obey the voice of God, He will be with us like never before.
• When God begins to stir our spirits, we must decide how to respond.
• When God leads us to start rebuilding our lives on His priorities, life will be far better than it is now.