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Sermon: Greater Days Are Ahead


Greater Days Are Ahead

We have a glorious past, but the future can be even brighter

Haggai 2.9

Savage Street, 03.29.2015


  1. The Babylonian captivity started in 
    1. 606 BC when Daniel was taken.
    2. The second siege was in 597 BC when Ezekiel was taken.
    3. The third siege in 586 BC
      1. was the end of Jerusalem and
      2. Solomon’s temple.
  2. The captives were released 
    1. after Babylon fell about 539 BC
    2. at the hand of the Persians.
      1. King Cyrus decreed the release of Jews (Ezra 1.1–4).
      2. 70 years after the first attack,
        1. the first wave of Jews returned to Jerusalem in 536 BC.
        2. 42,360 Jews plus 7,337 servants
          1. arrived in Jerusalem and
          2. set up the altar (Ezra 2.64–3.13).
          3. They also began work on restoring the Temple.
  3. Soon the work of restoring the temple stopped (Ezra 4). 
    1. It was stopped because the Samaritans desired to help, but
      1. they worshiped Jehovah and idols (2Ki 17.32–33),
      2. making them unworthy of such a work.
    2. Therefore, the leaders rejected the request of the Samaritans.
      1. So the Samaritans hindered the Jews’ work
        1. by getting King Artaxerxes of Persia to decree a cessation,

          23 Now when the copy of King Artaxerxes’ letter was read before Rehum, Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem against the Jews, and by force of arms made them cease. 24 Thus the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem ceased, and it was discontinued until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia (Ezra 4.23–24).
        2. In Ezra 5.1 the prophet Haggai began his work.
      2. The work began and ceased in 536 BC.
        1. It started again during Darius’ second year,
          1. which was the year 520 BC.
          2. Therefore, it was 16 years that the work was dormant.
        2. From the end of Ezra 4 to Ezra 5, 16 years transpire.
  4. Discouragement among the Jews was heavy. 
    1. They had already been out of their land for 70 years.
      1. They returned in great zeal with high expectations.
      2. Soon there is opposition from the outside.
    2. So 16 years go by with no work being done.
    3. Then God sent Haggai in power to exhort the Jews to work.
      1. It worked and the people had a new found desire to work.
      2. Darius, a king after Artaxerxes, removed the opposition.
      3. Ezra chapters 5 and 6 show what happened.
  5. Power fills the Scroll Of Haggai
    1. There are only 38 verses, but
      1. he says “Thus says the Lord” or something similar 20 times!
      2. Six times we are told that the word of the Lord came by Haggai.
      3. There are other mentions of God in the Book.
    2. He only preached the four months from September to December.
      1. Zechariah started preaching at the same time and
      2. continued preaching longer.
      3. The Jews completed the temple in four years.


  1. Haggai 1 – Exhortation to Rebuild the Temple 
    1. Put the house of God first:

      1 In the second year of King Darius, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying, 2 “Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, saying: ‘This people says, “The time has not come, the time that the LORD’S house should be built.”’” 3 Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 4 “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?” 5 Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways! 6 You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat, but do not have enough; You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, Earns wages to put into a bag with holes” (Hag 1.1–6).
      1. The people said it is not time to build.
        1. Bad economic times.
        2. Opposition.
        3. Too busy doing other things.
        4. It was not convenient.
          1. They served God out of convenience
          2. rather than conviction.
        5. God in turn asked them,
          1. if it was a time for them to live in luxury
          2. while the Temple laid waste?
            1. They were selfish.
            2. Second Samuel 7 shows the different view of King David.
              1. He shows that the sin is not in having a nice house, but
              2. in the attitude that forsakes God,

                2 [David] said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells inside tent curtains” (2Sa 7.2).
      2. Haggai 1.6 shows that they had sown much, but
        1. brought in little.
        2. God had not blessed them.
      3. They wanted to live in luxury while God’s work suffered.
    2. Prioritize:

      7 Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways! 8 Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,” says the LORD. 9 You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?” says the LORD of hosts. “Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house. 10 Therefore the heavens above you withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit. 11 For I called for a drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain and the new wine and the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands” (Hag 1.7–11).
      1. Does the church ever suffer the same things for the same reasons?
      2. Does the nation ever suffer for these reasons?
      3. Do individuals suffer for the reasons listed here?
    3. Fear and Obey:

      12 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, 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 feared the presence of the LORD. 13 Then Haggai, the LORD’S messenger, spoke the LORD’S message to the people, saying, “I am with you, says the LORD.” 14 So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God, 15 on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month, in the second year of King Darius (Hag 1.12–15).
      1. Combine this with Ezra 6 when God worked through Darius.
      2. Do not forget that God works in our world.
        1. Whatever excuse we have for not doing His work,
        2. He can remove when we repent.
  2. Haggai 2.1–9 – Encouragement to Continue Rebuilding:

    1 In the seventh month, on the twenty-first of the month, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying: 2 “Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people, saying: 3 ‘Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? In comparison with it, is this not in your eyes as nothing? 4 Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ says the LORD; ‘and be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land,’ says the LORD, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ says the LORD of hosts. 5 According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!’ 6 For thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; 7 and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the LORD of hosts. 8 ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the LORD of hosts. 9 ‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the LORD of hosts” (Hag 2.1–9).
    1. First, God wanted them to remember the former glory of the previous temple.
      1. With that picture in mind
      2. they were to look at the current temple.
        1. They saw destruction, but
        2. they also saw an uncompleted work.
    2. Therefore, God told them to be strong,
      1. speaking to both leaders and followers.
      2. Even as He tells us,

        10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (Eph 6.10).
    3. Next the Lord told them to work.
      1. We may not feel like it, and
        1. we may find excuses, but
        2. living by faith means you know that the Lord knows the right way.
      2. Haggai said work, for God is with you, even as Jesus is with us,

        20 “…even to the end of the age.” Amen (Matt 28.20).
    4. Knowing of the problems they faced, God finally said not to fear (v. 5).
      1. Fear not, for God will shake all things.
        1. This was actually a promise about the church,

          26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” {Hag 2.6} 27 Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear (Heb 12.26–28).
      2. This Church is part of that Kingdom that cannot be shaken.
        1. Let us never have a defeatist heart, but
        2. have confidence that we can overcome our struggles.
    5. If the Jews followed the instructions of Haggai,
      1. the Lord promised that the latter glory
      2. would be greater than the former glory.
        1. The latter glory of this congregation
        2. can be greater than any its known, if we:
          1. Put the church first,
          2. give time and energy to the church,
          3. build each other up,
          4. obey and fear God,
          5. be strong,
          6. work, and
          7. do not fear.
    6. One more thing:
  3. Haggai 2.10–19 – Be Holy:

    10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 11 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Now, ask the priests concerning the law, saying, 12 “If one carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and with the edge he touches bread or stew, wine or oil, or any food, will it become holy?”’” Then the priests answered and said, “No.” 13 And Haggai said, “If one who is unclean because of a dead body touches any of these, will it be unclean?” So the priests answered and said, “It shall be unclean.” 14 Then Haggai answered and said, “So is this people, and so is this nation before Me,” says the LORD, “and so is every work of their hands; and what they offer there is unclean. 15 And now, carefully consider from this day forward: from before stone was laid upon stone in the temple of the LORD— 16 since those days, when one came to a heap of twenty ephahs, there were but ten; when one came to the wine vat to draw out fifty baths from the press, there were but twenty. 17 I struck you with blight and mildew and hail in all the labors of your hands; yet you did not turn to Me,” says the LORD. 18 “Consider now from this day forward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, from the day that the foundation of the LORD’S temple was laid—consider it: 19 Is the seed still in the barn? As yet the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have not yielded fruit. But from this day I will bless you” (Hag 2.10–19).
    1. He taught that uncleanness is contagious (vv. 12–13).
      1. A healthy man in our midst will not make us healthy, but
      2. a sick man can make us sick.
        1. A righteous man in the church will not make others righteous, but
        2. sin in the church can spread to others,

          6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? (1Co 5.6).
    2. Then the blessing of Haggai 2.19 appears.
      1. If not purged out, then
      2. Haggai 2.15–17 says poverty and failure follows.
  4. Haggai 2:20–23 – Promise of Future Bliss:

    20 And again the word of the LORD came to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month, saying, 21 “Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying: ‘I will shake heaven and earth. 22 I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms; I will destroy the strength of the Gentile kingdoms. I will overthrow the chariots And those who ride in them; The horses and their riders shall come down, Every one by the sword of his brother.’ 23 ‘In that day,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘I will take you, Zerubbabel My servant, the son of Shealtiel,’ says the LORD, ‘and will make you like a signet ring; for I have chosen you,’ says the LORD of hosts” (Hag 2.20–23).
    1. The Lord will defeat all our enemies.
    2. The Lord will exalt us.
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