Haggai Chapter One
As we had studied in the book of
Habakkuk just a few weeks ago the Chaldean nation of
Ezra 1:1-3 “Now in the first
year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred
up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout
all his kingdom, and put
also in writing, saying, 2Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The
LORD God of heaven hath given me all
the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at
Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 3Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him,
and let him go up to
We also find virtually the same words in II Chronicles 36:22-23. This is the first return of captives. Just as there were different groups of captives
Darius I followed Cyrus as king of the Medo-Persian Empire, his activities, decrees are very precisely dated in secular history. Consequently by following the years of the rule of Darius given by Haggai we can date his prophecies very precisely as well.
two chapters of the book of Haggai there are a series of four discourses,
spoken in much the same manner as the discourses of the speakers in the book of
Job. Haggai had returned to
frequently do today within most congregations that I’ve been part of they made
a good beginning. When they arrived at
the site of
“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.” Ezra 3:2
Again as is common to the congregations where I’ve been; the spark, the zeal to work, fails to catch fire and eventually it just sort of dies away.
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
Because of their complacency and
their failure to carry out the decree of their king and the will of God that
Read Haggai 1:1-6 – Reproof of Their Neglect
v.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 She-al-ti-el, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jos-e-dech, the high priest, saying,”
So in order to try to stir them up again for the completion of this work, God sends them prophets:
Ezra 5:1 “Then the prophets,
Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews
that were in
So the first of these prophets was Haggai, who prophesied in the year 520 BC and then Zechariah, who lived at the same time and began his prophecies at the end of that same year.
v.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.”
are saying that it is not time yet for the house of God to be rebuilt. What has happened? They have become complacent. They are procrastinating. The fire that burned in their souls and caused
them to go back to the land of their fathers has gone out. They really don’t have the zeal to do this
work so they start looking for excuses.
Does this sound familiar? It seem that they have had plenty of time to establish
themselves and rebuild their lives; after all, it’s been 16 years since they
v.3-4 “Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying, 4Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste?
sixteen years and God’s patience and longsuffering has been exhausted. The Judeans that have returned from captivity
have built houses for themselves, have established businesses, in general have
started their lives over again and have become comfortable in their
situation. But the house of God, the
temple that they were sent to
Matthew 6:33-34 “But seek ye first
Seek first the
Psalms 37:25 “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”
v.5 “Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.”
Lamentations “Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD.”
So in the words of Haggai and Jeremiah we find advice that we all should follow from time to time.
v.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.”
Judeans had built themselves houses, had a roof over their heads, i.e. they
dwelt “IN THEIR CIELED HOUSES” they were still poor in many ways because they
were neglecting God. Jesus had said that
his disciples must “seek
ye first the kingdom of God” in
order to enjoy God’s blessings. The same
situation exists with
The curses spoken against
Deuteronomy 28:38-40 “Thou shalt carry
much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it. 39Thou
shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but shalt neither
drink of the wine, nor
gather the grapes; for the
And this is what is happening to them. They sow a lot of seed but the harvest is poor. They have enough to eat and to drink to sustain life but they are not filled. They have enough clothes to cover their bodies but not enough to keep warm. Their earnings are so poor that it seems as though their bag or pocketbook has holes in it. God is refusing to bless them because they are neglecting him.
Read Haggai 1:7-11 – Build God’s House
v.7-8 “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. 8Go 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.”
commentators consider that one of the reasons that the people of
“For the LORD hath chosen
He wanted a simple place where his people could worship him in keeping with the covenant that he had made with them.
v.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.”
through his prophet, repeats his description of why they are in a condition of
want and worry. We can understand that
these people, returning from 70 years of captivity, being restored to the place
where God wished to dwell with them would now expect that everything would be
wonderful. But such is not the
case. They looked for much but found
little. When their crops did prosper and
they brought home enough, God blew it away.
And he tells them why. They have
houses to live in, each one runs to his own house; but God has no place, no
house, because it still lies in waste.
heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit. 11And 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
Therefore, because of their neglect, these things will happen to them. The promises that God made as part of their covenant with him will be brought to fruition.
Deuteronomy 28:23-24 “And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron. 24The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed.”
will cease to fall from heaven; the earth will cease to provide her bounty. God has called for a drought for the
Read Haggai -15 –
v.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, and the people did fear before the LORD.”
The preaching of Haggai had the effect that God wanted. In the days of Moses the commandment was given for the people to gather to hear:
Deuteronomy 31:12-13 “Gather the people together, men and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: 13And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.
Perhaps Zerubbabel and Joshua, the high priest, call the
people together to hear the prophesies of Haggai or
perhaps they heard them from other sources, we don’t know. But we do know that
v.13 “Then spake Haggai the LORD's messenger in the LORD's message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the LORD.”
preached and prophesied, the people and their rulers believed and made
preparation to return to their task of rebuilding of the
Matthew 28:20 “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
Do the will of God and He will be with you. Simple enough isn’t it. But do men follow that advice? Very few comparatively speaking, for:
“Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:14
v.14-15 “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, 15In the four and twentieth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.”
The spirit of the people and their rulers was stirred by the words of God. They listened and they heeded. In his history of post-exile Judah Ezra records the events that followed.
Ezra 5:2 “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.”
They went to work for so much zeal that their pagan
neighbors began to complain to Darius about the progress on the
Ezra 5:8 “Be it known unto the king, that we went into the province of Judea, to the house of the great God, which is builded with great stones, and timber is laid in the walls, and this work goeth fast on, and prospereth in their hands.”
How many people today are working at building the spiritual
house of God to the extent that others are complaining about them? Don’t you think that we might be missing
something? Is it because our zeal has
failed? Is it because we have allowed
the world to absorb our time and talent?
Is it because that the church today is just as complacent and apathetic
William L. Schwegler; Sunset