Living by faith - Haggai 2

What if three months could transform an entire nation? Dive into the prophetic journey of Haggai, who delivered God's powerful messages and saw a remarkable response from the people. Discover how a few words from God reshaped history and explore the timeless call to reflection, courage, and renewal.

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David Loader


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Bible reading today is taken from Hagi chapter 2 it's a long chapter on the 21st day of the seventh month the word of the Lord came through the prophet Hagi speak to zerubabel son of Shel Tiel governor of Judah to Joshua son of jedc the high priest and in the remnant of the people asked them who who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory how does it look to you now does it not seem to you like nothing but now be strong oh zerubabel declares the Lord be strong oh Joshua son of jeos hosc the high priest be strong all you people of the land declares the Lord and work for I Am with You declares the Lord Almighty this is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt and my spirit remains among you do not fear this is what the Lord Almighty says in a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the Earth the Sea and the dry land I will shake All Nations and the desired Des side of all Nations will come and I will fill this house with Glory says the Lord Almighty the silver is mine and the gold is mine declares the Lord Almighty the glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house says the Lord Almighty and in this place I will grant peace declares the Lord Almighty on the 24th day of the 9th month in the second year of Darius the word of the Lord came to the prophet Hagi this is what the Lord Almighty says ask the priest what the law says now if a person comes consecrated carries consecrated meat in the fold of His Garment and that fold touches some bread or stew some wine oil or other food does it become consecrated the priest answered no then Hagi said in a person defied by contact with a dead body touches one of these things does it become defiled yes the priest replied it becomes defiled then hegi said so it is with this people and this nation in my sight declares the Lord whatever they do and whatever they offer there is defiled now give careful thought to this from this day on consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the Lord's Temple when anyone CA came to Heap to a heap of 20 measures there were only 10 when anyone went to a wine vat to draw 50 measures there are only 20 I struck all the work of your hands with blight milu and hail yet you did not turn to me declares the Lord From This Day on from this 24th day of the ninth month give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the Lord's Temple was laid give careful thought is there yet any seed left in the barn until now the vine and the Fig Tree the pomegranate and the Olive Tree have not borne fruit from this day on I will bless you the word of the Lord came to hegi a second time on the 24th day of the month tell zerubabel governor of Judah that I will shake the heavens and the earth I will overturn Royal Thrones and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms I will over throw chariots and their drivers horses and their Riders will fall each of the sword each By The Sword of his his brother on this day declares the Lord Almighty I will take you my servant zerubabel son of Shel Tiel declares the Lord and I will make you like my singet rank for I have chosen you declares the Lord Almighty thanks an um an to do the Bible reading there's words in there which I don't know how to say and uh so uh let her struggle through those but appreciate that what a tremendous time it's been today to um witness these three baptisms my hope is is that after the service that you'll try to see speak out these three guys and um and just give them a word of encouragement give them a hug whatever else and this assure them of your prayer remember when Jesus was baptized remember what happened after he was baptized he W was taken out in the desert and for 40 days he experienced intense uh spiritual warfare with Satan and my observation is that often that is the situation after baptism that uh Satan says well you've proven it to everybody out there but let's let's just try it out and uh so you three guys being baptized just be aware of that either the might not happen praise the Lord if it doesn't but just be aware that that might happen and for the rest of the church it also means that we've got to be praying for these guys particularly um over these uh well we use Jesus example for the next 40 days well I'm uh aware of the time uh you aren't but I can see a clock up there and uh so we're a bit later in starting the sermon this morning which means I'm going to talk very very fast um this morning but I hope you'll forgive me if we uh go a bit longer than our normal SS but with the baptism I think it's well worth it don't you agree I'm sure you you will with that in the old days in The Village Church they used to have the clocks on the outside of the church so everybody knew knew what time to go to church nowadays we put clocks inside the church so we know what time to go out for coffee um and so but that's why we've had all box taken down except for the one for the preacher to be able to see up there I got chapter two it's Tak me a couple of weeks just learn how spill Hagi now I've got to learn how to SP habak how many bees and how many CES that we're on Hagi today do you think father has a be how do you picture thought the danger is of course that when we think about God um we forget what um what Genesis 1 talks about where it says that God created people God created the human race in His image our tendency is to what reverse that and our tendency is to create uh create God in our image and so we start to um we start to uh give God certain characteristics which we have come up with and so important that we continually remind ourselves that um that let God speak for himself through the word of God and uh let's not let's be very careful that we're not starting to create God in our image and today I think as we uh as we've looked at the book of hago and D who preached last week and I just sharing together just during the week how much we've both been blessed uh by studying this book which either of us you had have asked us a couple of weeks ago how much we knew about hagy we'd probably run out of steam very quickly but we've been blessed by we trust that you have as well and um and so it just seems to me that there's an important characteristic of God which I would us to focus on today and you'll see that I've titled a sermon today three months that changed the nation of course it's not the months that changed the nation but it's God who changed the nation but over the period of time the um that this that we've read last week this week the um Hagi 1 and two is only covers those prophecies only cover a 3 Monon period um and uh the writer here Hagi was uh was so good in putting dates on here for us to understand what period of time one of the things that struck me when I uh read uh Hagi through on a few occasions that when you know you're going to be preparing sermons you start looking for things and one of the things that continued um to impress me was that even as an was reading this morning it just came up to me again how much there is these um this sense of this is God speaking um this is what God says so I did what U what I often did got out my coloring in pencil and uh a light blue this time and uh just read through it just looking for phrases where it's God's speaking and so I realized that as I went back and looked at them that there are these three phrases which occur several times just in the well chapter one has got 15 verses chapter 2 23 verses so just in these two verse two chapters rather there are these phrases that keep occurring the word of the Lord came my counting says five times what the Lord says seven times and declares the Lord Lord 11 times I only did it through once and so that might be one or two out and if you want to go through count and I've made a mistake please let me know because I didn't double check but plus or minus one or two so we see that there are 23 times in um in this uh in these couple of chapters that there's this affirmation that this is God speaking and so what do we understand even just from this phrase there are three things that we can uh we can really focus on him when we hear this or read this we understand this as number one is that this book is not about Hagi who we've given the name to ascribe the name of this book to Hagi it's not about Hagi it's about God it's this is God speaking and 23 times of there about we had this affirmation of God this is God this is God the second thing that we can note is that um is that you will realize uh the way that the Lord is built there there's capital L capital O capital r capital D now I've said this before and so you'll immediately would have picked that up that there's three ways that the word Lord occurs or was written in the um in the Old Testament could be written like this all capitals it can be a capital l small lowercase o or it can be all lowercase all lower case it's just talking about a person um the capital ill is talking about God but talking about him as Lord but here when you see it all capitalized that uh that's always what it has that's referring to the name of God so everywhere it says that God is speaking it's not God but but Yahweh his personal name which uh which is being used here the other thing is the third thing I want us to just think about for a couple of minutes here is that often we use very Loosely this phrase God has said to me um sometimes we um see it on TV we get some Telly vges the Telly person saying it sometimes that's very accurate of course and sometimes we hear each other say it sometimes we're guilty of saying it guilty that's not the right word sometimes we have used the phrase as well I just want to say this just be very careful of using that because it's it's a very somber thing when God speaks to us and um do not be surprised if you say to me sometimes God has told me that I might give you a bit of a quizzing on that not because I'm necessarily doubting but I well I am in a Sanctified way but I want to understand how you believe or why you believe that this is God speaking to you because sometimes as I said earlier we create God in our image and we impose on God this is what I really want God to be saying but it's not God at all think it's our wish or our desire but we also need to be having the ear out listening out for God as well because God is a God who is a revealing God who does speak to us and uh so this is probably another sermon in itself but just to just to be aware of that just to be if God has spoken to you if you hear God speaking you need to respond just as the people did when Hagar said this is God speaking to you speaking to us but just make sure that it is God and and so there the some things that come to me just from this idea about God speaking but let's just do a bit of revision and um from what Dylan shared last week and uh we might add a couple of things here too about hago the book of Ezra gives us historical background to Hagar isra is about uh is about building the Temple neemar is about building the walls of Jerusalem after the the time of Exile and um and and the thing is is that what has happened here we know from the book of Ezra is that the building of the temple has stored no no building has taken Foundation been laad some things have been done and then nothing else happened and um and so the question needs to be asked why did the building of the temple sto why did it cease for a while I'm a bit disappointed that as I read a number of commentators though it's saying in Hagi that it's really this message of you know taking a big stick to the people their Disobedience get on with rebuilding but I think it's it's I don't know whether that's really what's being stated here in Hagi which is going to become clear as I speak this morning but rather in all the opposition that's taking place here God's coming alongside to people and say hey what's a problem here um fol uh you know the building has stalled but just come together folk we're going to um we're going to start this or rebuilding and we're going to get going with it you see because Ezra tells us that there is a lot of opposition to the building of the temple and um and and it's actually the the way the opposition is talked about there's probably not just you know getting them a hard time but legal opposition they legal challenges to the people rebuilding the Temple and so this is why the this whole building is stalled and God comes alongside of them and says come on guys let's get on with it and let's start the work again so there's very little that we know about Hagi it's estimated by putting it all together that Ezra sorry that Hagi is probably in his 70s now uh I look around here can't see anybody that old thank you I got my reading glasses on so I can't see that's not true if you're of retirement age this morning I just want to talk to you um for just for a couple of seconds and I want you to think very carefully if your retirement age you're close to it about what I'm about to say to notice this that Hagi is most likely in his 70s when God is using him to change the the course of this nation over a period of three months some people when they get to retirement age fall into the Trap of becoming um grumpy old men or women and I want to say I'm saying this very seriously because it's a danger which focuses or which comes all our way I said to an by the way if I become one of them take me down the backyard and shoot me I'm going to say that because we don't have a gun in our place the sad thing is we know people who do have them but I say that sort of tongue and cheek but I do not want to become one of those grumpy old people and if you're in this age it folk that is potentially something that will come your way so just be careful of that but just to think about how come God uses Hagi how come Hagi is hearing God I want to suggest this to you is that when we are young we're full of energy and doing things is the most important thing you're aware that uh when I was young in my younger days I was in the army and uh the typical week for me for a period of time over about three years or say was I had PT twice a week battle PT once a week played sport on Saturday they had Sports training twice a week um so you can imagine that uh that in those days I was quite fit I just feel like I need to sit down right now cuz just saying that just makes me so tired but what I'm saying is this as we get older we don't have the same energy used to do all those things I was coming in after praying this morning there was a leaf down on the floor here and it took me forever just had been down and pick up the leaf and take it outside and throw it out in the garden U you know it's not a joke is it for us old that when we have to get down we think of what else can I do all I'm down here the old are laughing because they know it's true the young ones are laughing because they just think it's a jake that energy decreases fol we have more time to do other things and I want to suggest to you today as we get older we have far more time to sit quietly and listen to God and it seems to me that he Hagar rather is chosen probably in his 30s because he was hearing God it's 23 times God's faith he was hearing God which all these young Turks with all the energy just did not have the time to stop and to listen out for God it's important if you're young to take time out to listen to God it becomes so much easier as you get older so if you're retirement age you've got a choice that you can make going be more choices than just this make the choice you got to be a grumpy old man or a grumpy old woman or you going to become a Godly and more Godly person who has the time to sit quietly and say God what do you want to say to me and it might be something just for you or something through you as it was with Hagi to say the church to say to your extended family group to say to your family to say to others so we don't know much about uh about how guys in his 70s and um is say there that uh he prophesied for only three months he gave four prophecies we'll look at very briefly the encouraging thing is here is that the people responded posit positively to God's message of encouragement and I want us to think very carefully about that so here are Hagar's four prophecies we looked at one last week with uh with Dylan and so there's Hagar's prophecies the first one 1 two 3 and four and uh we have the dates and hands clicking but nothing's happening uh act one yep uh so we know because the dates are given here is that August of 29 520 BC so we can State this very accurately from history of what's said here so the P first prophecy oh the first prophecy is about call and construction so God is saying to the nation come together we've got to start rebuilding the second prophecy is about courage and change courage to act let's start building again fol but change in recognizing that the future is not going to be like the past just to hang on to that thought because we're going to come back to that in just a second the third one the third prophecy 10 of December uh um in Chapter 2 vers 10 rather December the 18th 520 is consec consecrated and Clean Stay Away From Evil things I knowbody picked it up when an was reading the story here by putting it into modern language if I've got a bowl of tomatoes here and I've got one rotten one and I put the one rotten one in with the good ones what chance is there that the good tomatoes are going to make the Rotten Tomato good it's not going to happen the effect is more the other way and this is what is is said in this prophecy is keep yourself clean don't go mixing with uh with the unclean because the unclean is more likely to impact the clean than the other one consecrate yourself be clean be pure be holy before God does that mean that we Retreat as Christians into our own thing no of course not but the Bible makes it very clear that we are to be in the world but not of the world so like oil and water you can put them together but they don't mix and that's how we are to be so that third prophecy is is stay away from Evil and the last prophecy which is given on the same day um is uh is talking about Victory about being Chosen and about being about having the victory so there are two key verses um Dylan highlighted the first one last week in chapter one now therefore thus says the Lord of hosts consider your ways and thoughtfully reflect on your conduct be careful about the choices you make that's what the key verse is be careful about the choices you make and for these people that had to make a choice are we going to listen to the prophecies that how God's bringing this is what God says are we going to listen to God or we going to go our own way um and they chose let's go God's way and we need to understand very clearly how important making these choices are I to go to the sunshine case and I drive down you can and R down to the highway and I turn right instead of left it doesn't matter what choices I make after that I'm going the wrong way see it's the critical choice that is made at that point and the only choice is that's going to change is if I do a uturn come back to that point and then head in the direction fol you need to understand very clearly that God has his way and it's important just as somebody has shared this morning in their testimony that when we get to that point of decision that we choose to go God's way because if we choose to go our way and not God's way it doesn't matter what choices we make after that it's not going to get us going down God's way other than the fact we do a YouTu come back to that point say Okay God let's do it your way and the key verse from chapter 2 verse 9 is this the future Splendor of this Temple will be greater than the Splendor of the first remember that first some of you are old enough to remember that first temple well this new Temple we going to build is going to be far better and for us wherever we are in life remember where we are now the future if we go with God the future is not going to be the same as the past we need to understand that and if we're going with God it's always going to be better because it's God's way going be no not necessarily it might be but may not be but it's always going to be better because it's God's way so as I go through these verses um through these two chapters I've developed a 10-step plan picking out 10 key verses which it seems to me that if you highlight these underline them or whatever that uh that this is this is a 10-step plan for the whole of life so here here they are chapter 1 verse 7 choose make a choice and we've made already commented on this about the critical choice about choosing God number second uh number two the second thing is this in chapter 1 and verse 12 is obey you've got to choose where you going to go your way or obey God always choose God and chapter one in verse 13 talks about God's presence I am going to be with you wasn't that also somebody shared this morning doesn't matter what I face I know that God's God's on my side God's with me and so we need to be aware of that but the reality is is that not only do we have God's god with us but we still have to do our part as well chapter one of verse4 is work so I'm with you but you still got to work it's God and me working together we've talked about that before remember that talked about wheelbarrows and so on there how are we to work there two subsets here we're working because we are being strong in chapter chap 2 and verse4 and we are not fearing why aren we fearing because God's with us so God's presence is with us we work we work strongly and we work not without any fear see this is how the enemies of the people in the rebuilding of the temple in their legal challenge the impact of what that had on these people they were fearful and they weakened God says hey I'm with you time to get rebuilding show your strength don't fear and chapter uh number seven is the future is going to be better than the past it's going to be better talks about glory and peace there then stay pure we've talked about that as well there's going to be blessing and finally there's going to be Victory so we' put all of those we've mentioned all of those along the way but putting them all together it seems to me that there is a 10-step process a 10-step plan for all of us in life starting right at the beginning with that critical Choice making the right choice flowing it all the way through knowing that we're walking instead with God so how do we wrap this up here God's encouraging word to us um I want to say how much this is a message of encouragement that God is really a god of encouragement um is your picture of God as being like a Headmaster or being like a stone disciplinarian whatever but this picture shows us a different side of God that he's not like that but rather that God is an encouraging God and this fits the picture that we know of God elsewhere consider remember the story that Jesus told the parable of the Prodigal Son um the son who said I just want my money now and go and spend it and he spended on wine women and song got the end of his tether he came back and when he came back there is his father standing at the gate with a stick what was the stick that he was holding was it a stick to beat him around the the backside and say how dare you waste the money which I've given to you was it a lighter stick ready to light the barbecue to start the celebration and sometimes we think that when we are in life that God is functioning with a big stick it's not the Stick of discipline but rather The Stick of encouragement come on in you've been gone for ages let's celebrate so glad that you're back or consider Peter so that's a parable but this one's a true life story remember Peter said to Jesus before Jesus was crucified I don't care what happens I'm going to be with you right to the end and then um then Peter denied Jesus swore did all sorts of wrong things Peter was so disgusted with himself remember he was a fisherman and now Jesus who'd St all his claims on Jesus that now Jesus is now dead and Peter says everything that I st stake my life on is gone and he says this I'm going back fishing I'm going back to what I used theight I'm going back to fishing so the other disciple says we're coming with you so if they go fishing and fishing all night come in and Jesus is there what was jesus' response to Peter at that time was Jesus response Peter I'm going to give you a weapon right now you promised that you'd be with me right through and you deserted me and not only did you desert me then but you desert me now because you want to go back fishing is that what Jesus said pet Jesus comes to Peter recognizes Jesus says lovingly to Peter Peter do you love me more than these um what do you think he was talking about um do you love me more than these other disciples or do you think he was really saying do you love me more than you love these fish do you love me more than you love these these fish is it me or the fish and three times Jesus says that and and he comes to this point of saying to Peter Peter remember he said to Peter at when he first called him come I'll make you fishes of men but now he says feed my sheep so this encouraging this encouragement about it and and Peter took on board that because you read one Peter he says to all the leaders in the church tend the flock of God and when the chief Shepherd appears so he's taken on board I'm no longer a fisherman but now I'm a Shepherd why because Jesus God encourager comes around and puts his arms around and says hey Pete you're messed up but it's not the end come on back and uh and let's the future's going to be different from the past going to do uh make this new beginning so this is God's encouraging word take careful thought to your life think carefully about the way you're living am I really deciding or making decisions to follow God are you stuck today and you might be stuck because of all sorts of reason you might be stuck because of sin in your life you might be stuck because of the difficulties you are facing in life you might be stuck because of relational issues because of habits that you have because of a whole range of things you were stuck and you just can't see your way out of it and just like these 10 step process God is saying to you these words trust me follow me thirdly choose my way this is God speaking choose my way every time in life and fourthly r Li on my Supernatural power five use your God gifts and abilities it's you and God working together in this act courageously your future will not be like your past God will take you on another step in life then he says to us today Rest in Me Remember words Jesus the encourager God the encourager says come to me all you who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest it's not putting our feet up I'll give you a rest take my yoke upon you because that means hey I'm giving you a rest but you got to work with my yoke and learn from me we're working together it's you and me together in this so this to me is the message of ha God a message of encouragement so many years ago 2 and a half thousand years ago or whatever but lessons from that which come back to you and to me so what's your picture of God how do you view him all sorts of things but remember this he stands with open arms to each one of us encouraging I me follow me I'm with you I'm on your side it's B in prayer are you stuck at the moment whatever your circumstances are um it's 10 steps here step number one is to choose God you going to make that choice right here right now where God says here I am do you love me more than these whatever that these might be not fishing I guess family relationships or whatever it is security maybe we've been Wayward and we think oh so far gone there is no way back to God now the father standing at the gate looking out for us saying come back we'll have a feast and celebrate my son my daughter who is lost is now found [Music] again to need to respond to God in whatever way just in your in your own way maybe even if we've been witness to baptism might been wrestling with the whole idea of baptism she's God's wife that's the white guy whatever it is just a mind don't say anything out loud God can read your thoughts he's waiting their arms open to receive you maybe for the very very first time or maybe as you walked with him you need that just stir Al your word clearly tells us that those who honor you that you will honor them this morning we choose well I choose most of us choose we choose your way father we want to go your way those who are still wrestling Lord do not give them rest as my prayer until they find their rest in you you the comforting the encouraging in whose arms we want to be found. Amen.