|Posted by Lorraine Serra on September 16, 2010 at 4:12 PM|
The exciting thing about studying God's word, as old as it is, (more than 5000 years) is that it is always so applicable to today, right now, September 2010.
Just stop for a minute and think about this....People are people...with all their warts and wrinkles, trials and triumphs, virtues and weaknesses. No matter if you are living in modern America or ancient Mesapotamia, at the heart of humanity, we share many of the same basic needs, desires and emotions.
Now, stop for a minute to think about this..... God is the same from age to age, and according to scripture we know He never changes, He is everlasting, He is "Love", and "Mercy" and His messages to us ring true because He is the Designer and knows our needs. He also knows our weaknesses. And, thankfully, He loves us anyway.
Now, an assignment......Would anyone like to find scriptures that support all of the above, or choose one or two statements about Who God is, and share them with all of us in the comments section below? It would be so great if we could use this platform to interact together as we move into our new study. You can be anonymous if that helps, but, come on...let's do this together!
(BTW, sorry I am late getting started...life happened! You know!) The good news is, God is still happening, too, all the time!
We just completed a study through Malachi, and the book residing just 2 doors down in the Old Testament, is comparable in content: Haggai also writes to post-exilic Jews, that is, the Jews returning out of Babylonian captivity to Jerusalem, where they are given the opportunity to re-create themselves, their culture and their relationship with God in His holy city, Jerusalem.
Haggai preceded Malachi by about 70 years, and is another member of a band of several prophets in this era sent by God to help restore the people of Israel upon returning to their homeland.
Haggai comes to the people as a prophet of God in about 520 BC to encourage and instruct the people for a 4 month period of time during the reign of King Darius of Persia. His message: rebuild the temple!
We will need to get the back story, though, to understand Haggai's message. The prophet Ezra fills in the story for us. It is a short book, awesome in its inspiration, and I encourage you to take time this week to read it. If God can use the pagan kings of Persia (3 of them!) to bring glory to Himself, how about you and me? This is an incredible history....please read it!
Then, Haggai comes alongside Ezra, and in his book, with rich and poetic metaphors God speaks to His people Israel and, as we will discover, He speaks to each of us about the path to lasting peace and freedom. We are all being called to build our inner temple to house the incomparable presence of God.
Do you think that is something you and I might need to hear? Is there room for improvements, renovations and redecorating inside your spiritual temple? I know there is in mine! Ah, what hope! What a message for all ages!
What we will learn is that Haggai, whose name means "Festive" (how 'bout that for your next son or grandson!) has great qualities to be a pastor. He is an awesome encourager with a message of assurance and understanding to his disenchanted flock.
Haggai speakes to a very discouraged people. They are off-target in their despondency. Can't see the light up ahead. Can anybody relate here? Hopeless feelings lead them to inactivity or unproductive, useless activity. Seems to be a human weakness through the ages, doesn't it?
Oh, but I'm excited about this study because in this beautiful prophecy of Haggai, the Lord teaches us that building and beautifying our own inner temple to house the glory of God is the only way to
have real and lasting peace. This is such a timely message!
Through the call to rebuild the temple, to
replace the splendid, incomparable former temple which Solomon built, God calls all of us to be attentive to what we each choose to build our lives, our peace and our hope upon….I pray that we can each declare that we are building it upon Jesus Christ, the Son of God whose glorious splendor
alone will fill the new temple and cause the memory of the former temple to pale in comparison.
Assignment: Look up and share scriptures supporting Who God is, and read the book of Ezra before we start studying Haggai in depth. God bless you!
Categories: HAGGAI STUDY