The Minor Prophets: Haggai, part 2

08 Aug

This is part of an on-going series on the Minor Prophets; a bible study I wrote two years ago. For more information on this study, including permission to use it for your own group, please read the introduction.

Click here to read the first part of the Haggai study

We re-start with section 3 – Haggai 2:1-9

Read Haggai 2 in the NIV

Read Haggai 2 in the NIRV

KEY VERSE: “be strong…for I am with you” (verse 4)

The first temple was destroyed 65 years before these words we spoken to the people, so very few people in Jerusalem had any memory of the original temple. For those who did, however, the contrast was stark. (The first temple, built by Solomon, is described in I Kings 6-7, and Ezra 2:10-13 describes the sadness of the people when the foundations are laid for the new temple). God, however, is not worried but the difference in appearance. In fact, he says that this smaller, simpler temple will be greater than the first! He is WITH his people, bringing his glory and his peace. His presence is far more important that the building he is present in.

In I Corinthians 6:19 Paul says we as believers are all temples of the Holy Spirit, because he dwells in us, just like God dwelled in the temple.

  1. In Haggai God says his presence in the temple is more important than how fancy the building is. What does that tell you about YOU?
Section 4 – Haggai 2:10-19

KEY VERSE: “ask the priests what the law says” (verse 11)

The Law God gave Moses for the people of Israel was so much more than a list of rules to follow – as if to please God with ritual alone, like the gods of other nations. The Law is full of pictures, a way to understand a deep truth through a ritual practice. Here God himself draws the picture. Through the laws of defilement, God explains to the people what he really desires to receive from them.

Offerings by themselves didn’t make a person acceptable, but a person could make an offering unacceptable.  Bringing an offering did not make a faithless person acceptable in God’s sight. Instead, the offering brought by a faithful person made acceptable BECAUSE of their faith. It was their FAITH God responded to. He looked at WHY they brought an offering, rather than WHAT they brought.

God wanted their HEARTS – not their sheep (their resources).

God still wants our HEARTS – not our money (our resources).

When I offer God something because I love him and want to honour him, he is blessed by my offering – no matter what it is. Jesus teaches this same principle (the HEART of an offering) to his disciples in Mark 12:41-44.

KEY VERSE: “from this day on I will bless you” (verse 19)

In chapter 1 God told the people to “give careful thought” to how they were experiencing material lack, and connected it to their failure to rebuild the temple. Here in chapter 2, God says that he will return material blessing to them, because they have noticed and obeyed. (Remember how I wrote back there that God wasn’t saying material comfort was wrong?) What I really love, however, is that God returns his blessings to them when they START rebuilding – not when they finish. God really wants our HEARTS above all else.

  1. Think of a time you offered God something because you WANTED to, even if it wasn’t easy.
  2. How do you think God felt about your offering?
  3. Think of a time you offered God something because you felt you were supposed to.
  4. How do you think God felt about your offering?
  5. What is an offering you can bring God this week that will bless him?

Section 5 – Haggai 2:20-23

KEY VERSE: “on that day…I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you” (verse 23)

Zerubbabel is ALERADY chosen by God – but not yet in place. At some point in the future, God will take Zerubbabel, and make him into the tool he has already been chosen as. Joseph and Jeremiah experienced similar delays between being chosen and being put in the actual position (Genesis 37-47 and Jeremiah 1:4-5).

Sometimes we have to wait a while before God puts us in a position he has already chosen us for. It might be a small thing, but this really speaks to me. I can’t earn God’s grace, and I can’t earn a “high” position in his kingdom. Instead of trying to force my way to the place I think I should be in, I need to be faithful wherever he calls me, wherever I’m at, even if I know I won’t be here forever. I need to be faithful even if I feel un-useful, or overlooked. God has a plan. He will make me into the RIGHT TOOL for the RIGHT TASK at the RIGHT TIME.

  1. What is your first reaction to the idea of being a tool chosen by God? Do you want to be a tool? Why/why not?
  2. Is there a place in your life God might be asking you to be faith in NOW, rather than waiting for something new to happen?
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Posted by on August 8, 2011 in Bible Resources


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