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Bible Pathways 9/27/2000

September 27

Read Zephaniah 1 -- Haggai 2

The Israelites who had left Persia started to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem with great enthusiasm. In less than two years, they had laid the foundation. But that devotedness soon faded as they became involved in building their own homes. Losses from bad harvests and long hours in the fields contributed to the distraction from their primary responsibility. Added to this was the persistent opposition by Samaritan enemies, which caused the construction of the Temple to cease after only its foundation was completed. Many "excuses" were given as to why it was not the time to resume work on the Temple.
Meanwhile, the people built their own homes and developed their own businesses. Rebuilding the Temple looked hopeless, and Zerubbabel must have been discouraged as he thought of how much there was to do, how few workers there were, and how threatening the opposition. About 14 years passed and nothing more was accomplished, while the Israelites continued to hope for better times and fewer problems.
Then God moved upon the prophet Haggai to proclaim His Word. Two months later, Zechariah also began proclaiming the Word of the Lord (Ezra 5:1; Haggai 1:3-11), which alone can instill faith, since faith comes by hearing . . . the Word of God (Romans 10:17).
Haggai first announced: Thus says the Lord of hosts . . . The people say, The time is not come . . . that the Lord's House should be built. Then came the Word of the Lord by Haggai . . . Is it time for you . . . to dwell in your cieled houses, while this House (of the Lord) lies in ruins? (Haggai 1:2-4). Regardless of all their excuses, the Lord said: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and bring in little . . . and he that earns wages earns wages to put them in a bag with holes (1:5-6).
Upon hearing the Word of the Lord, the people once again renewed their dedication to worship and serve Him first in their lives. They again began to build the Temple, the one place God had designated to receive worship from His people. This time they ignored the threats of their enemies, and the elders of the Jews built, and they prospered (Ezra 6:14); and the Temple was completed in just four years.
Like the Israelites, people today make similar excuses for failing to worship the Lord, for postponing the giving of tithes and offerings for the Lord's work, for devoting time to teaching a class, or for not arranging their priorities according to God's point of view. But, we too need to be reminded that, when we fail to honor the Lord, we earn wages to put it into a bag with holes. God has reminded us: The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, says the Lord of Hosts (Haggai 2:8).
Like the people of God in the days of Haggai, many Christians today neglect reading through the entire Bible. Without the Truth of God, they subsequently become victim of every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14). Many fall into sin because they do not actually know what all the Bible teaches about sin (Acts 20:27). Hearing the Word of God renews our love for His Word and our desire to put Him first in our lives. How can we expect the blessings of God if we do not honor His Word, which He has magnified (exalted) above all His Name (Psalms 138:2)? How easy it is to deceive ourselves when we fail to read, and then act in obedience to, the Word of God, regardless of circumstances.
The principles of God for achieving the best in life never change. Jesus said . . . you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment (Matthew 22:37-38).
Christ Revealed:
As King of Israel, even the Lord (Zephaniah 3:15; also John 18:33-37).
Word Studies:
Zephaniah 1:4 Chemarims means priests in charge; 1:9 leap on the threshhold means rush into houses to confiscate the property; 1:14 hasteth greatly means comes very quickly; 2:3 wrought means carried out; 2:11 be terrible means inspire them with fear; famish means reduce to nothing; 2:14 cormorant (pelican) and bittern (heron) means unclean marsh birds considered omens of desolation and evil; 2:15 carelessly means securely; 3:1 filthy means rebellious, defiant; 3:10 suppliants means worshipers; 3:16 slack means weak; Haggai 2:7 desire of all nations means the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who will return to set up His Millennial Kingdom; 2:17 blasting means blight, mildew; 2:23 signet means ring of honor and authority.


Government Official: Rep. Victor Snyder (AR) · BPM Staff: Shelley Robertson · Pray for Rick Hash and the Bible Pathway Radio Broadcasts on WDRP-FM, Williamston, NC · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio Broadcast in memory of Tim Peterson · Country: Egypt (55 million) in northeastern Africa · Major languages: Arabic and English · Christians are not permitted to evangelize Muslims · 82% Muslim; 16% Coptic; .6% Protestant; .6% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Remember that the Lord is faithful to keep His promises (Hebrews 10:23).
Memory Verse for the Week:
Titus 2:14

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