In Today's Scripture Reading:
The Lord's judgment; future destruction of the Gentile nations; the people urged to rebuild the Temple; unfaithfulness reproved
The Israelites who had returned from Persia with Zerubbabel started to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem with great enthusiasm. But, when their Samaritan enemies greatly opposed them, they began building their own homes and working in their fields. Their personal interests contributed to their failure to put God first in their lives. No doubt, “legitimate” excuses were given for stopping the construction of the Temple.
As the people built their homes and developed their businesses, time to rebuild the Temple looked hopeless. Zerubbabel must have been discouraged as he thought of how much there was to do, how few willing workers there were, and how threatening the opposition was. While the Israelites continued to hope for better times, about 15 years passed and nothing more was accomplished for the Lord.
Then God moved upon the prophet Haggai to proclaim the Word of the Lord (Haggai 1:3-11, Ezra 5:1). Two months later, Zechariah also began proclaiming the Word of the Lord (Zechariah 1:1).
Haggai first announced: Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord's House should be built. Then came the Word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, saying, Is it time for you . . . to dwell in your cieled (paneled) houses, and this House lie waste (remain in ruins)? . . . Consider your ways (Haggai 1:2-5).
Upon hearing the Word of the Lord, the people renewed their commitment to rebuilding the Temple, the one place designated by God for His people to worship Him. This time they ignored the threats of their enemies and the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah. . . . And they builded, and finished it, according to the Commandment of the God of Israel (Ezra 6:14). The Temple was completed in just four years. Without the Word of the Lord as a standard, we subsequently fall prey to deception. Reading the Word of God renews our love for His Word and imparts spiritual strength needed to put Him first in our lives.
The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost (Spirit), whom the Father will send in My Name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you (John 14:26).
As King of Israel, even the Lord (Zephaniah 3:15; compare John 1:49).
Zephaniah 1:4 Chemarims =b> the idolatrous priests in charge; 1:9 leap on the threshold =b> rush into houses to confiscate the property; 2:15 carelessly =b> securely; Haggai 2:7 desire of all nations =b> the One desired by all people, the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts sponsored by Bett Brown • Staff: Mary Kay Wagner • Government Officials: Rep. Victor Snyder (AR) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (FL) • Country: Kenya (29 million) in eastern Africa • Major languages: English and Swahili • Religious freedom • 46% Protestant; 27% Roman Catholic; 17% belief in mystical powers; 6% Muslim; 3% Eastern Orthodox • Prayer Suggestion: Offer up your prayer to God, your King, who will hearken to your prayer (Psalm 5:2).
Memory Verse for the Week: Micah 6:8