The Book of Haggai : Study No.3 Starting to Build (1:13-15)

Study No.3   Starting to Build (1:13-15)

(Vs. 13) “Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave this message of the Lord to the people: “I am with you,” declares the Lord.”

God is a gracious and compassionate God who puts up with a lot from us as His blood redeemed people. While He punishes disobedience and flagrant sin and rebellion He is merciful towards us as His children when we get weary in His work due to opposition and to a degree the people of Israel had succumb to this discouragement and for 16 years the temple remained unfinished. The Israelites proceeded to build their own panelled houses which in those times would have been equivalent to many of the large modern houses we see today with every amenity available.

However, God gave them time to rest from the adversity of their enemies but the Israelites had come to be used to it and had lost their fire and zeal for the things of God, something that is a conspicuous mark within wider Christendom in the western democracies today. Today we do have some ‘churches’ that have a form as such of ‘fire’ and ‘zeal’ but it is misplaced as the people in these assemblies want to see signs, miracles and wonders and spiritual ‘manifestations’ of all kinds and have their ears tickled with positive motivational messages that do not align with the Word of God.

The people of Israel in the time of Haggai were not so but because of weariness and resistance they had settled down to live their lives, build their homes and farm their crops with the attitude “Oh well, business as usual.” In doing so they lost the sense and vision of how important to God it was that His House be finished so that He could bless His redeemed people as they worshipped Him in His House in Jerusalem as a witness to the idolatrous polytheistic neighbours surrounding Israel that there was only One God who sought to be worshipped and that He was the only God.

In any revival God always takes the initiative. However, there needs to be a ploughing up of the soil of the heart to receive the seed of God’s Word followed by the water of the Spirit that will cause spiritual fruitfulness to spring up from the soil of the heart. Hosea the prophet spoke about this when the LORD said to His people through him; “Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unploughed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you” (Hosea 10:12).

God wanted His people to hunger and thirst after righteousness that He might fill them to overflowing with His light, His life and His power. They were to seek first His kingdom and to receive His righteousness, through faith, so that He could bless them in spiritual and in temporal matters because He is constantly concerned about the total welfare of His people. Now God does not just go around pouring out His Spirit on his people haphazardly. There must be a willingness on the part of His people not only to receive His power but to meet the conditions necessary that will cause Him to shower them with the anointing deluge of the Holy Spirit.

Now a farmer wants to see a crop so what does he do? Does he just sit on the porch of his farm to wait for the rains to come and expect that a harvest will somehow just spring up out of the soil? Of course not! What does he need to do? Firstly; he needs to plough up or break up the hard packed soil. Secondly; He needs to sow the seed into the ploughed up soil so that when the rain comes in its appointed time he will see a crop start to spring up and ultimately reap a harvest. As long as the ground remains broken and the seed is watered the results will be seen.

In the matter of a revival where God’s people rediscover God’s priority for them as a community of believers they will have ploughed up the soil of their hearts and received into their heart soil the seed of God’s Word, and as they keep sowing His Word into their heart soil when the rain starts to fall in its due season ultimately there will be a harvest of righteous living before God. It is interesting to note that R.A.Torrey, whom God used mightily in his day who taught about the Holy Spirit and experienced His power at work in his ministry, said that “The Holy Spirit does not go about visiting lazy Christians!” And then we read…

(Vs.14-15) “So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the Lord Almighty, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month in the second year of King Darius.

After 16 years of neglecting to continue building God’s House the people of Israel responded to the Word of God through His prophet Haggai as they ploughed up the soil of their hearts once again to receive the seed of God’s Word, and to act upon what He commanded them to start doing again and that with the same enthusiasm and zeal they had at first as a believing community when they laid the foundations of his House.

Their fear and reverence for God was very clear and when God saw this He responded with the phrase “I am with you!” (1:13). That was all He said, that was all that His people needed to hear and it galvanised the people into action and laziness and sloth and neglect in spiritual matters were laid aside and a new zeal for the work of God came into the hearts of His people to keep working for His glory and for the glory of His Kingdom. The leaders and the whole Israelite community responded as one man. One thing to remember is that in a community of believers God first works on its leaders, both those with spiritual oversight as well as those who work in administrating the affairs of the assembly, including those leaders, elders and deacons who support their pastors.

The Lord Jesus said this; “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matthew 6:22). Now who gives light to the Body of Messiah? Is it not those who have spiritual oversight being apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Now if these men are not sound in their doctrines and lack spiritual insight, and neglect to teach the whole counsel of God, and that with embellishments, then the body of the Messiah will be full of spiritual darkness and deception of every kind and the haunt of demons, a specific mark of the last of the last days in which we are now living. As the apostle Peter writes; “Now the Spirit expressly states that in later times some will abandon the faith to follow deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons, influenced by the hypocrisy of liars, whose consciences are seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:1-2).

However, those with spiritual oversight who are true to the Word of God, and do teach the whole counsel of God and what is in accord with sound doctrine, being the Word of God without compromise or embellishments, are full of spiritual insight because they handle the Word of God rightly and rightly divide the Word of Truth, the Bible. If this is the case then the Body of Messiah under their oversight will itself be full of spiritual light and insight and will be able to themselves also rightly divide the Word of truth. The blessed Holy Spirit Himself is the Spirit of all truth and not error and He is the one who leads us into all truth. As the Spirit of truth, the third person of the Tri-Unity within the Godhead being Himself God the Spirit, He  will never glorify His gifts, or those who exercise His gifts, but always glorify the Lord Jesus (John 16:12-15).

God, through His Holy Spirit speaking through Haggai stirred up the spirit man of the governor, the High Priest as well as the remnant of God’s people and they began to work on God’s House with enthusiastic endeavour once again. They had rediscovered their first love for the LORD and for continuing in the work of His kingdom! Once again they saw with spiritual insight that their God was indeed the LORD Almighty and that with Him all things are possible to those who believe and receive His Word into their spirit and feed on that Word by faith! As it is written; “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God!” (Romans 10:17). The people had started to build again!

Go to Study No.4