Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Pastor's Blog

I am with you! 9.20.2015
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God our Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us now and forever, Amen.


The Word that will be shared today is from the book of one of the minor Prophets, the Prophet Haggai wrote about the events that took place around 520-515 BC. The first six chapters of the book of Ezra provide much needed background in understanding as to why the Lord's heart was stirred to stir the Prophet Haggai so that he, Haggai, would stir the hearts of the people to examine their priorities. Next Sunday we plan to speak again from the Gospel of John with the theme being: I AM the light of the world.

1. Introduction
2. Word of the Lord: Haggai 1
3. Connecting the Old Testament with the New Testament
4. Application

1. Introduction

As we approach Sunday with anticipation and expectation of again being in the house of the Lord in worship and in fellowship, our hearts are lifted in wonder and awe because of the amazing love of God for us and towards us in Christ. When thinking rightly about Him and ourselves, we approach and enter into His Temple of worship and fellowship in a similar fashion as the people of Haggai's day did as they made their yearly journeys to Jerusalem to be with their God. History tells us that as they approached Jerusalem from afar off, at their first sight of the golden and gleaming Temple they fell to their knees in worship. In our day we might think that they were worshipping the external things of God, but that was not the case for their entire understanding of who God was tightly connected to the Temple in Jerusalem with its physical structure, vessels and holy practices.

In our seeking to be worshippers of God and to enter into fellowship with Him, with His Son and with one another (1 John 1:3), we most often focus on our happiness, our joy and our fulfillment. While that is an important part of being a worshipper of God, there is also the other side of it that we should be mindful of. As we heard in John's Gospel some time back, Our Father seeks worshippers who will worship Him and spirit and in truth. He longs to bring us back to Himself in the sense of community, in oneness of spirit, in oneness of purpose in the working together to bring more people into holy communion with Him, with His Son and with His Spirit. Perhaps an illustration will help set the stage for this thought to be developed.

Which of us has at times in our lives been so preoccupied with our own things that our family ends up getting less time and honor from us than they should. When asked about being able to spend more time together, we may respond with, "but I have a lot of things to do." How good it is when our family has penetrated our selfish world by a question such as: "When will it be our time?" It is not like our family is being demanding, but they are simply wanting to have the connection and community that a family is designed to have and to participate in. A family member who wants more time with a preoccupied loved one could relate somewhat to the heart of God in the time of Haggai. For God is about building His family and when we deem other things more important than being a participating member of His family, He is stirred to do something about it.

2. Word of the Lord

About 500 years before Jesus was born, the people of God returned from their exile in Babylon that was due to their disobedience towards God. Under the God ordained leadership of Darius, they began to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. But after those who resisted their efforts succeeded in convincing King Artaxerxes to issue an order to cease building the temple, they left off the building of it, having only laid the foundation. They worshipped God at the altar that they had constructed, offered the daily sacrifices and celebrated the ordained festival of the feast of harvest, but due to pressure from those who were not "with them" they ceased to build the house of God.

The Lord speaks to Haggai

Haggai 1:1 In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying,
2 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.
3 Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying,
4 Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste?
5 Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.

How is it working for you?
6 Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.
7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.

This what I want you to do.
8 Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD.

Here we see the desire of the Lord to have His house built, so that He could take pleasure in fellowship with them and as a result they would glorify Him. We need to be careful that we do not paint Him as some demanding God who orders His people around so that He may be idolized as a supreme dictator, but rather He is the God who rescued us from sin, wants to have relationship with us in the oneness and unity of His love and desires to increase our love for Him.

I kept you from prospering because you had your priorities wrong.
9 Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.
10 Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit.
11 And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.

The two leaders and the people change their ways, fearing, respecting, honoring the Lord.
12 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the LORD.

The Lord assures them that He is with them, and He stirred them up so that they resumed building His house.
13 Then spake Haggai the LORD'S messenger in the LORD'S message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the LORD.
14 And the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the LORD of hosts, their God,
15 In the four and twentieth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.

3. Connecting the Old Testament with the New Testament

With the coming of Jesus, the physical inanimate temple was done away with by the offering of the physical living body of Jesus on the cross, and the present temple of God consists of those who are indwelt by His Spirit and which is growing collectively into a dwelling place for God by His Spirit.

John 2:19 Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."
20 The Jews then said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?"
21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body.

Ephesians 2:19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,
21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.
22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

4. Application

The Lord had given the assurance and encouragement to His people in the days of Haggai, "I am with you," and as a result they began to build......

Our brothers and sisters in the days of Haggai were made out of the same stuff that we were, they loved God, they trusted in Him, they looked to the Promise that was to come, but they struggled just like we do. They did not have the indwelling presence of God like we do today in the Holy Spirit, but they nevertheless worshipped Him with that which that had been given. When Haggai told them that the Lord was with them, they were revived in their spirit and they got back to work.

When we are living in a situation that seems like it will never change, we have forgotten that the Lord is with us. When we have forgotten that He is for us, that He is with us and that He is in us, we let go of His promises and start to drift around aimlessly, losing all sense of who God has made us to be in Him. John Newton, who wrote Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken spelled out very clearly of who God has made us to be in Him.

Glorious things of thee are spoken,
Zion, city of our God!
He, whose Word cannot be broken,
Formed thee for His own abode;
On the Rock of Ages founded,
What can shake thy sure repose?
With salvation’s walls surrounded,
Thou mayst smile at all thy foes.

KJV Isaiah 43:1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.
2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

May the simple truth that the Lord spoke through Haggai uplift and revive your heart and soul today: "I am with you."

In Jesus name, Amen.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 20 Sep 2015 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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