Haggai 4. Big Picture

Ps John Rhodes   -  

4. Big Picture  [Reading Haggai 2:1-9; Sunday Oct.29, 2023]

The Israelites were celebrating a holy feast in Jerusalem. It was a short breakfrom rebuilding their temple. God spoke to encourage them and to give them the big picture. Today, the message and big picture is the same.

1. Rebuild by faith, not by sight. v3 ‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does itlook to you now? God asked if some of them could remember Solomon’s Temple before its destruction. Those who did remember would have been over 66 years old. The new temple would seem insignificant to them in comparison, but they were to continue anyway. The Church in “Western” countries may appear insignificant compared to its glorious and influential past. Faith is needed to continue rebuilding. “The eye of faith looks to the past, present, and future listening to God.” Historically, the Gospel spread from Western nations. It now spreads from all nations to all nations as we near the return of Christ.

2. Be strong, the work requires it. v4 “Be strong all you people of the land and work.” God addressed them as “people of the land” because they were hard working farmers. Rebuilding the Church is also hard work, and you must be strong to do it. Exercise, eat healthy, and rest appropriately! Monitor yourself, the work to be done requires physical strength. There is no place for laziness! Rest and recreation, yes, but not laziness. Keep fit and strong to be ready for God’s calling. Physical training is of some value (1 Tim. 4:8).

3. Be courageous through God’s presence. v5 “My Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.”

You must be confident and strong, especially in good character. Learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honourable (1 Thess.4:4). God’s presence is covenanted in both old and new covenants. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut. 31:6). “I am with you always” (Matt.28). Amy Carmichael left Ireland to be a missionary in India. She had a great burden for the many children who were being offered to idols and destined to become abused as temple prostitutes. It seemed an intractable problem, but she prayed in faith and God was with her. One girl, Preena, miraculously escaped. Amy protected and adopted her. Then more and more came to her for help and a home for them was established. Eventually laws were changed to ban the practice. (http://missionaryportal.webflow.io/biography/amy-carmichael)

What then is the Big Picture? – Note, it will be in a “little while”, although we can now see it in part throughout history, and it is “God Almighty” will do this, not us. – 1) All nature and all nations will be shaken. “I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea, and the dry land.” “Iwill shake all nations.” 2) The Church will be filled with “glory”. v8-9 “I will fill this house with glory” “The glory that will fill the temple will far outshine anything that decorated Solomon’s magnificent edifice, for it will consist of the unveiled radiance of God’s visitation.” (Merrill and Barker, Haggai). 3) The Church will be a vehicle of “peace”. v9 “In this place I will grant peace.” Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matt.5:9)