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Haggai: Confidence Forever

Posted by Lorraine Serra on December 6, 2010 at 11:28 AM

My dear study friends we have come to the end of our journey through the book of Haggai.  This book has

painted such an empowering

picture of restoration and hope for all

generations, not just for the chosen people of God.

I pray you have seen yourself in the story.


Haggai  ministered encouragement and timeless

Life-Principles to the Jews returning from exile.

Alongside his contemporaries, Zechariah, Nehemiah and Ezra, Haggai makes one thing very clear: 

GOD IS WITH HIS PEOPLE,

even in times of discipline, drought, hardship and pain.


Because God is holy and absolutely true to His word,

the voices of many prophets provided assurance to

the Jews that God was still with them, directing their

path during the rebuilding of the temple, restoring

their covenant relationship, and guiding their future.

 

Thanks be to God we know His Spirit which ministered to the Jews throughout the OldTestament is still very much alive and active in our generation, fully available to work in us as we, too, refresh our temples for King Jesus.

 

As we come to the close of Haggai, we sense that the story is just beginning.  The word of God is spoken to Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah,  in Chapter 2: 23, 


“I will make you as a signet ring, for I have chosen you.” 


 I praise God for this poetic description!   A signet ring was a precious thing to its owner, most notably, a king.

It was a symbol of authority and authenticity when sealing a letter or decree.    It was an image reflecting the power and authority of its owner.


Faithful Zerubbabel had served as the leader of these approximately 50,000 Jews who returned to Jerusalem after 70 years of Babylonian captivity.   For over 20 years  he had the zeal and dedication of a priest to lead the people in building an altar to the Sovereign Lord and make preparations to rebuild the temple according to the instructions of God.

 

How many struggles did he meet along the way?  He met with opposition and harassment from outsiders in the land, he had the work stopped by force, and then he dealt with his own people burdened by disinterest, discouragement and dissatisfaction which paralyzed the progress.


Yet, Zerubabbel led by example, holding fast to the principles of Worship, Obedience and Trust.  His motivations were from a heart purely devoted to

honoring the Sovereign God.  


Here we see a leader who served

with quiet assurance, not pomp and boasting.  I don’t think he sought any reward other than the approval of his Lord.  

 

Yet, God assured Zerubbabel through Haggai that all the enemies surrounding Jerusalem,  all those who

would see like to see this people fail, would be shaken and destroyed.  


Zerubbabel was chosen as the precious symbol of God’s authority!   He would continue in leadership and eventually, through his lineage would come to be born in Bethlehem, the King of Kings,   Him whose glory would indeed fill the temple in a manner which would obliterate the former beauty and opulence of Solomon’s temple, Jesus Christ, Savior of the World!


The temple would indeed finally be finished (Ezra 6) and dedicated to the glory of God for the edification and reconciliation of His people.  It was quite a long journey, over 20 years in the making, but God’s plan did triumph by His goodness in providing the favor of heathen kings, and words of assurance through his prophets.

 

What a story!   Can God use the heathen?  God’s glorious work which is founded on principles of righteousness will never be thwarted, not in time and history, and not in our lives either.


  We are His workmanship, His temple, created in Christ Jesus for good works. (Eph 2:10)  We have within our earthly vessels a treasure not made of gold, but of wealth untold. (2 Cor 4:7)   God’s own Holy Spirit is active in the hearts of those who seek Him.


 Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts. (Zech 4:6)


Hold on to that promise, friends!!  God’s Spirit built the temple.  God’s Spirit leads His people in victory and God’s design for each of us is that we should become more like His Son, Jesus by the power of His SPIRIT.


Even as God impressed His power, wisdom, justice and love upon His Son, we too, being sealed by His Spirit are being transformed to exude these attributes in the name of Jesus.


We can walk in the authority and authenticity of our King, as a signet, transferring the grace and peace of Christ to others.   What a glorious thought! 


Praise God for the beauty of His wisdom and grace!

 

Zerubbabel is not known for any greatness other than he trusted and obeyed God from a pure heart.  He was a descendant of David,(1Chron. 3:19) and like his kingly ancestor He put his hand to the task to build the foundation of the temple.  There would be future shake ups for the Jews, but God assured him of His presence.   No doubt, Zerubbabel wondered how he would lead this people through whatever was to come. 


I wonder if he understood that this designation as a signet would mean the coming of the Redeemer.  How awesome that his name is preserved for all time here and in the geneology of Christ (Matt 1:12)


Likewise, we know that our lives are full of mountains and valleys, crooked paths and detours.   But, God knows the path He set before us and His Spirit shapes us, chisels us, and equips us through them by growing us, stretching us  and forming in us a dynamic faith built on experience. 


So, my friends, we press on.  We won’t ever succeed in building and renovating our temples alone.  The Sovereign God is with us and never ceases to use everything that happens for our blessing and His glory.


When the three D’s try to grab hold of you,  disinterest, discouragement and dissatisfaction, apply the principles from Haggai,  certainly echoed throughout the totality of God’s Word: 


Worship God for His Majesty

Obey God by walking in the Spirit

Trust His Sovereign Plans

Serve Him With Purity of Heart.  Halleluia!


As we journey to the manger in this season of  Advent, and look to the One who was born to bear a cross, the One  who endured all and bought our salvation with His blood, may we find strength and great joy in this peace we have been given.


“The fruit of righteousness will be peace;  the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.  Isaiah 32: 17.


Oh, great God of All, Your majesty fills the heavens and the earth, and Your goodness to us is overwhelming.

Be exalted, O God,  in my temple today.  May your glory shine forth in me.  Spirit of God, correct me, encourage me, remind me that I am not alone.  May my temple  be renovated daily for Your presence, Precious Jesus, that I may bring you glory not by might, nor by strength, but by your Spirit.  Amen!



Assignment:   Give Him praise!!


If you have insights, comments, praises to share in light of the Haggai study, please be a blessing to us all and share a post.

 

God bless you!


Categories: HAGGAI STUDY

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4 Comments

Reply Lorraine Serra
9:15 AM on December 15, 2010 
Hi Jane!
So good to have you here. Thanks for joining the conversation.
Oh, my, September seems so far off, but as life speeds by, I know it will be here before we know it.
Praise God for His outreach through Women's Connection!!
Please come by again and bring your friends. What a joy to unite our hearts in the study of God's Holy Word. Merry Christmas, Jane!
Reply Jane Guest
8:10 AM on December 13, 2010 
Lorraine, I have been quietly doing the Haggai study and just want to thank you because it has been such a blessing to me. Just to be reminded of God's faithfulness and love and power and the importance of digging into His Word - the greatest gift of all. I look forwared to meeting you in person when you come to the State College Wome's Mid Day Connection in Sept.
Reply Lorraine Serra
6:59 PM on December 10, 2010 
You are so right, Linda. It is good to know we are in His grip, come what may. Help is on the way! In fact, it has been here all along!

The longer we live, the more we understand how much we need God's Word to transform us, and His Spirit to work within us. Psalm 139 rocks!
Blessings and prayers always!!
Reply Linda
5:12 PM on December 10, 2010 
Amen Lorraine. How we need to hear of God's sovereignty and intervention in our lives....over and over! We're bombarded with messages that are contrary to God's Word, especially in this generation. So much man centered "help" is at our fingertips. We don't even know we need Him until we've tried to do it without Him and made a mess of it. I praise Him and thank Him for scripture which keeps bringing me back to where I need to be and the Holy Spirit which resonates with my spirit. I was reminded of how near He is to us when I read Psalm 139:5-6 this morning......"You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high, I cannot attain to it." Wow, the God of the universe has His hand upon me. And, because I am His, He won't let me go! Love and prayers to you....