Our God of Sacrifice, Jealousy, and Love

 

Haggai “Our God of Sacrifice”

 

There are defining moments that shape the course of history. We remember many of them. When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River (taking his legions inside the line of no crossing) he set the stage for the Roman Empire as we know it. Young Martin Luther’s hammer on the Wittenburg church doors rang out a message that altered the course of the church to this day. When Hitler invaded Danzig at the end of August, 1939 it was England’s response that has shaped Western history for the past nearly 60 years. Likewise, in redemptive history (the history of God's work in people) the response of the Jews to a message they heard on September 1st, 520 BC shaped the course of biblical history. In 23 short days what had not happened in 16 long years took place. The Second Temple was started. The First Temple (Solomon’s) was destroyed in 586 BC. Herod later would not build a new temple but expand and embellish the second (Zerubbabel’s temple). So this was the beginning of the temple of Christ, the Apostles and of AD 70’s destruction. A great turning point in history.

 

message one: A Present Need of Completing the Temple (1:1-11) 9/1/520 BC. While the people were waiting before the Lord this first of four messages came.

I.                  Before we examine each division of this book, we need to look at the big picture. There are seven timeless truths about God we can trace from the pages of Haggai.

A.                The Lord is Powerful. The Lord is 14x called by His name of power in this short little book. The Lord of Hosts is Haggai favorite name for God. In using this name our Lord God Almighty reveals the vastness of His control!

B.                The Lord is jealous In Haggai God expects the ‘place of priority’ no matter what is going on in their lives! Haggai 1:2-3 "Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, saying: 'This people says, "The time has not come, the time that the LORD's house should be built." ' " 3 Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying, (NKJV). Jealous is a name the Lord describes Himself by often.

C.                The Lord is demanding Haggai 1:9 "You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?" says the LORD of hosts. "Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house.

D.               The Lord is trustworthy Haggai 2:5 'According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!' (NKJV)

E.                The Lord is changeless Haggai 2:9 'The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,' says the LORD of hosts. 'And in this place I will give peace,' says the LORD of hosts." (NKJV). The Lord is the same Hebrews 13:8 . . . yesterday, today, and forever. (NKJV). He is not tied to our museums of past greatness! He wants to live powerfully in and through us TODAY!

F.                 The Lord is loving Haggai 2:19 'Is the seed still in the barn? As yet the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have not yielded fruit. But from this day I will bless you.' " (NKJV). Though He had to judge their past sins, there is blessing on the horizon!

G.               The Lord is personal Haggai 2:23 'In that day,' says the LORD of hosts, 'I will take you, Zerubbabel My servant, the son of Shealtiel,' says the LORD, 'and will make you like a signet ring; for I have chosen you,' says the LORD of hosts." (NKJV). After the word of wrath coming on the nations, the Lord assures an individual named Zerubbabel, he will be specially used of the Lord. God has big plans for each of us. Don’t miss them!

 

Zechariah “our jealous god”

 

The second of the final three prophets of the Old Testament is Zechariah. His name means “God remembers”. Because each word of God's Word is inspired, this presents the theme of the book. Unlike the thunder of Haggai his contemporary, Zechariah gives comforting messages of encouragement! Born as the son of a priest during the Babylonian exile, he seems to have been an orphan. He was called the son of Iddo who was his grandfather.

 

Returning with the faithful remnant numbering 42,360 individuals under Zerubbabel, he joined those who came to restore the Temple worship of the Lord. His ministry dates to the second year of the King of Persia names Darius Hystapses (521-520 BC). This dates his ministry to 2 months after Haggai stood at the ruins of the Temple and preached his first prophetic sermon. Just as Haggai, God burdened Zechariah for the neglected repair of the Temple. However, God extends his prophetic view far beyond the Jews of his day. God sends him on a prophetic voyage that travels to the very end of redemptive history. He is given such detailed insights surrounding the events of the coming Messiah, the Tribulation, the Golden Millennial Age of Israel and the Reign of Christ that bible teachers of the magnitude of Martin Luther would not even write on some parts of this book. They just couldn’t figure it out. Of course they believed God was through with the Jews and all of this had to be describing the church . . .

 

I.                  PRACTICAL TRUTHS TO CONSIDER: To maximize our learning, we may begin by gleaning four broad applications from this great Old Testament prophet:

A.                Sin will bring God's judgment. Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. (NKJV)

B.                God's past dealings with sin should cause us to turn from sin. Matthew 12:41 "The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah [is] here. (NKJV)

C.                Turning from sin brings blessing. Look at Zechariah 1:3 "Therefore say to them, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Return to Me," says the LORD of hosts, "and I will return to you," says the LORD of hosts. (NKJV). Even the most wicked (Ahab) found mercy in turning. Even the wicked Manasseh was forgiven (II Chr. 33:9-13).

D.               God like His Word can never be evaded for long! See what God said in Zechariah 1:6 Yet surely My words and My statutes, Which I commanded My servants the prophets, Did they not overtake your fathers? "So they returned and said: 'Just as the LORD of hosts determined to do to us, According to our ways and according to our deeds, So He has dealt with us.' " ' " (NKJV)

 

Malachi “Our God of Love”

 

Last words are very important. Christ's last words contained His legacy for us, His Body. In Malachi we find the last words from God in the Old Testament. His last words are words of His Love! Our God is a God of LOVE. He has shown His love since He came on a search and rescue mission to the Garden of Eden. As soon as Adam and Eve had fallen God came to the rescue. He is the same today.

 

Because the Last book of the Old Testament opens with God declaring His LOVE. Malachi is a book about Loving God and what He expects from His special people. In just a glance at the book we can see there were many problems among those special people. The Lord points out and questions them about seven key areas of lacking in their lives.

 

I.                  First Lesson: Responding to the Love of God (1:1-5)

II.              Second Lesson: Honoring the Love of God (1:6-2:9)

III.           Third Lesson: exposing God's Unloving People (2:10-16)

IV.            Fourth Lesson: Trusting the love of God (2:17-3:6)

A.                God promises blessing (3:10-12). Note the elements of a blessing from Numbers 6:24-27. Be sure to often seek ways to ask God's Divine Favor to rest upon those you come upon in Christ. Sharing a blessing helps others, shows love and models true Christian love!

1.                HIS sheltering BLESSING v. 24 "The LORD bless you and keep you; (this is God's favor and protection.)

2.                HIS SHINING BLESSING v. 25a The LORD make His face shine upon you, (this is showing His pleasure at their actions.)

3.                HIS SHOWERING BLESSING v. 25b And be gracious to you; (this is God showing His compassionate mercy.)

4.                HIS SMILING BLESSING v. 26a The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, (this was a way of saying He approves of their way.)

5.                HIS sanctifying BLESSING v. 26b And give you peace." ' (this is the gift of God for the righteous only.) Isaiah 57:20 But the wicked [are] like the troubled sea, When it cannot rest, Whose waters cast up mire and dirt. (NKJV).

6.                HIS signing (our souls) BLESSING v. 27a "So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, (this is Divine Ownership, see II Cor. 1.)

7.                HIS SECURING BLESSING v. 27b and I will bless them." (this is a promise.)

V.                Sixth Lesson: Fearing our loving God (3:13-4:3)

VI.            Conclusion: God is Coming (4:4-6)

VII.         Fifth Lesson: Acknowledging God's Loving Ownership (3:7-12)

A.                God calls it Theft (3:8-9). Why are you disregarding God's Ownership? Malachi 3:8 "Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, 'In what way have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings. (NKJV) The whole tithe was an expression of God's ownership. Anything less would be denying His complete title deed to us. Because He bought us at such a high price (I Cor. 6.19-20) we should give all of ourself back to Him! The Lord is saying if you give all and hold nothing back (unlike Annanias and Saphira of Acts 5) He will pour out such blessings as we could never have experienced. He will shower us with blessings from Heaven. We will not be able to contain all that He has to pour upon us! Think about some of the words we have said to God:

All for Jesus, all for Jesus!
All my being’s ransomed pow’rs:
All my thoughts and words and doings,
All my days and all my hours.

Let my hands perform His bidding,
Let my feet run in His ways;
Let my eyes see Jesus only,
Let my lips speak forth His praise.

Since my eyes were fixed on Jesus,
I’ve lost sight of all beside,
So enchained my spirit’s vision,
Looking at the Crucified.

O what wonder! how amazing!
Jesus, glorious King of kings,
Deigns to call me His beloved,
Lets me rest beneath His wings.

 

 

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