The final trilogy of Old Testament prophets is known as the “Postexilic Prophets” (Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi) because they address their messages to the returnees in Jerusalem following the Babylonian exile. The people wasted no time beginning to restore their beloved temple – but delays and distraction soon undermined the work, setting the stage for Haggai to appear with a new word from the Lord. In four brief but powerful messages (i.e. 1:1-15 to High Priest and Governor; 2:1-9 to Civil authorities; 2:10-19 to Priests; 2:20-23 to Zerrubabel), Haggai exhorted the people to put first things first. With renewed courage and commitment, the citizens responded by completing the temple and clearing a place for God in their hearts.
“God’s Sleeping Army”- The Prophecy of Haggai
Introduction: After 15 years of delays, people turned their intense hopes away from the work for God, and settled into lethargy, complaining, apathy and for some – discouragement! Haggai is mentioned as one of two prophetic voices who call the people back to God’s work, after the army had gone to sleep (Ezra 5:1, 6:14,15).
I. God’s Call to the Apathetic Believer (1).
A. The problem related (1:1,2). Principle: God addresses the real problem by uncovering our use of excuses.
B. The prophecy related (3-11). Principle: It is not just how hard you work, it is whether you work in harmony with God’s word that brings the sense of success.
1. Their “treasure” misplaced (cp. Mt .6).
a. They work hard with less result
b. They barely “got by” (6).
c. They sweat, but cannot replenish themselves with drink (6).
d. Their lack is very uncomfortable (6).
e. They thought they could save but that was unrealistic! (6).
2. They need to listen and obey! (7,8). Principle: God offered specific and measurable goals to demonstrate obedience- not only in their heart, but in their sandal leather!
3. Listen, or it will get worse! (9-11). Principle: The time between judgment and the promise of it is GRACE time. Act then and save yourself more pain!
a. I will disperse what you have (9).
b. I will “slim down” your goods! (10,11).
c. The people revitalized (12-15). Principle: Often when we begin to obey God after a period of discouragement, He offers more encouragement to keep us headed in the right direction.
1. The people’s response (12).
2. God’s encouragement (13).
3. The people got started (14,15).
II. God’s Call to the Discouraged Senior Believer (2:1-9).
A. The problem identified (2:1-3). Principle: God realizes the effect of the older believers on the younger, and singles out those who have a greater testimony to call them into account.
B. The people encouraged (2:4-9). Principle: Trusting God’s promises will lift the team through the toughest part of the work!
1. Leaders be strong! (4).
2. People be strong! (4).
a. I promised (5).
b. I am still here (5).
c. I will bless soon (6).
d. People will turn their heads! (7) .
e. My glory will return (7).
f. It’ll be better than ever! (8,9).
III. God’s Call to the Contaminated Believer (2:10-19).
A. The problems of the contamination of groaning and murmuring (10-14):
1. Holiness cannot be obtained by osmosis it is a deliberate act. (11).
2. Contamination (unlike holiness) spreads easily (12).
B. The prophecy of contamination: the people have spread it from the leadership
C. The prescription for the contamination (15-19).
1. Take a good look back in your history and observe how things worked – things
were not as good as you remember them (15-16).
2. Life was tougher than you recall, and you were less responsive than you remember (17).
3. It isn’t over until I say it is over! (18-19).
IV. God’s Call for the Future (2:19b-23).
A. The promise of God’s blessing (19b).
B. The process of God’s blessing (20-23)
1. God will exert power over the natural forces (21)
2. God will intervene in the affairs of powerful world leaders (22a).
3. God will confuse the might of the enemies (22b).
4. God will offer a seal of approval in his leader (23).