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Call to God's Remnant

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
June 10, 2020 8:00 am

Call to God's Remnant

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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June 10, 2020 8:00 am

Again and again, Gods people forget Him. But God has not forgotten them. This was true when God spoke through the prophets Nahum and Haggai, and it is true today. We learn what the fulfillment of the prophecies teaches us, Gods reaction when we neglect His work, and why the judgment of the nations is an encouragement to Gods people. Learn how Nahum and Haggai can teach us that the only way to avoid Gods wrath is to repent and seek His blessing.

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Looking to the Bible studio reviewing Internet Ministry of convincing evangelicals featuring the Bible teaching of Dr. James Bortz for more information please contact us by calling toll-free one 804 88 18 and now the alliance is pleased to present the Bible study our bearing you to think and act biblically minor prophets hi DISA wonderful book for a church to be talking about when it's in the midst of the building fund is not the reason I've chosen it. However, this is just the way it falls out by the providence of God and our exposition of the minor prophets.

I suppose if I were doing it intentionally. I would've begun preaching on hi guy back earlier in the month of September.

So the cumulative effect effect of what IDI has to say would be evident at the time you receive the pledges as it is. This is just for people who have not been listening to God and to have guilty consciences, and it's in the nature of a second chance. There are people who regard history is essentially a series of moments in which great challenges are presented to people or leaders in which they go one way or the other people who think this way would take an event like Hitler's invasion of Dan Sagan August 1939 has such a moments.

England had threatened to go to war if Hitler would invade dancing question was what England do it. Would England take itself in the war and so resist Hitler's advances or when the occasion just go by the board send would the aggression on the continent continue that England chose to go one way determines the history of the Western world was certain extent for decades afterwards. I don't know whether that's an adequate view of history or not. It certainly highlights an aspect of it, but I do know that the year 520 BC was not kind of a time and that kind of a year for the people of Jerusalem as a history of the. That goes back 16 years before this. In the year 536 BC, the Persian emperor Cyrus issued a decree saying that all of the Jews in the Babylonian Empire were free to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple, got it obviously put it in the mind of Cyrus to grant that decree. It was in keeping with a general policy of the Emperor prior under his rule to allow captive peoples to return home, but this decree went out to at that point the Babylonian captivity of the Jewish people that takes place between the ending of Zephaniah are back at the previous books in the Old Testament Canon and hi guy. The book they were studying now takes place people went back but very many of them at the time 42,000.

According to Ezra +7000 servants and some others when they went back they immediately began the task for which they returned, they began to rebuild the temple. First of all, they cleared the temple court of all the rubble that was there I found the base of the great altar. They set the burnt offering altar up on the base and then the daily sacrifices were instituted again. They began to do other work and within a relatively short time, within less than a year. They'd already restored, cleared and relayed the foundations for the temple.

There were difficulties the neighboring nations began to object here is Jerusalem beginning to rise again out of the rubble of the Babylonian conquest. The Samaritans were particularly difficult. They'd come down earlier and it asked to have part of the building. They were denied the privilege. Now they stirred up trouble. Eventually they got Cyrus's successor Cambyses to issue an edict forbidding the rebuilding. I didn't have the same weight as the original edict because I needed the came forth out of babble and could never be changed, but was sufficient to cause the building to come to a stop, and then time began to go by the people became preoccupied with their own affairs.

They got used to worshiping amid the rubble of the temple and before you know it 15 years had gone by and they were well on their way to becoming merely secular occupants of an impoverished secular life and it was the year 520 BC that point God, since this profit that we are now to study IDI and send them with the right message and the message was simply this, it is time to rebuild the temple, God bless that message and use it in such a way the people were recalled to spiritual priorities.

God began to do a work which blossomed not only in their time, but for generations afterward. There's a whole section of the Old Testament deals with this. There are three of the minor prophets that have to do with it. These minor prophets that in the Old Testament IDI Zechariah in Malachi Haggai and Zechariah were more or less contemporaries Zechariah began his ministry several months after Hagy during the same timeframe and then several years after that a good bit after that Malachi came but he's still a prophet of this period of restoration along with these three profits.

It's very profitable to read historical books of Ezra and Nehemiah, which give the history of the times, these books can be fit in the history that you find in Ezra Nehemiah going understand Hagy, I would have to understand that this was not a terribly bad. In the history of the Jewish people, at least not these people know Maggie I was writing his work. The people that had been so insensitive to the words of the prophets. 70 years before the people to whom the minor prophets spoke in such judgmental term saying that if they did not turn from their wicked ways. God was going to send the Babylonians to destroy them in their city. Those people weren't listening to the word of God.

This wasn't the kind of situation Hagy I think it's true, the people had begun to neglect the building of the temple and they had become preoccupied with their own personal affairs. They had an inverted sense of priorities in the book is written in the preaching was done to correct that inverted sense of priorities, but these were nevertheless the right people in the right place.

Trying to do the right work for the right reason really worth taking that a little bit, one at a time. These people were obviously the right people because these are the ones that had been spiritually sensitive when the decree was given by Cyrus saying that the Jews could return and build their temple.

These are not all the Jews in the world at that. Jews were scattered widely after the fall of Samaria in the north and 721 BC date were scattered even more widely and a large number deported to Babylon at the time of the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC, there were still thousands upon thousands of them back in Babylon, but this was a smaller group. This was a remnant. This was the 50,000 or less who said well yes we really want to be responsive to what God is doing. We really want to do God's work. We really are zealous for the glory of the Lord of hosts. So these people left their homes in Babylon and make their way in this difficult journey back to their homeland to engage in this work if there were ever right people remnant desirous of the glory of God was these people.

Moreover, they were in the right place.

That is to say they were back in Babylon enjoying themselves as much as they could, and many did and that day, but they were back in the Lord's own country and God's own city to do a task that he had given them to do now we know today that God doesn't favor some particular geographic location but is not more favorable in our day to Jerusalem and he is to New York or Philadelphia or San Francisco or London or any other great city of the world God's work is done everywhere. I will talk about the worship of God, we remember with the Lord Jesus Christ said what he was talking to the Samaritan woman. She tried to engage them in the theological discourse he was putting the pressure on her where her sin was concern and she thought, well, it's a good time to talk about religion abstractly and so she said well around here. You know they say we are to worship in Samaria on Mount Guerra's name and the question I have for you is this, is it right to worship on Gary's aim, or is it necessary to worship in Jerusalem.

Jesus replied that they didn't know what they were worshiping salvation is of the Jews. But the time was coming when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, neither in a particular location. Whether it's general Jerusalem or in Samaria. That's the way it is today. I wasn't throwback here fixed his eye upon Jerusalem in the special way because that was the center of the religious life of his people and it was in that place on the hill of Golgotha that he was eventually going to send his son the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sin very important. They were in the right place as well as being the right people and so they were now. I just said that today. God doesn't have a particular emphasis upon a place want to say that that's true in one sense, but false and another. It is true that God doesn't focus upon one geographic location as the center for the work he's doing, so the people have to come there to worship all of the work to be done is done there, and all of the word to go south or how it should be done comes from their that's just not true today, but that statement is false. In another sense it, buying it, we mean God doesn't care about places, but does care about places when he calls on us to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He's not calling upon us to go everywhere and therefore because were to go everywhere. We actually go nowhere is calling upon us as an individual to go to an individual specific place and they are to bear witness for him. You see there's a sense in which the pattern we see developing here in Judah. At this particular point in history is very much parallel to the position a challenge we have today. We God's people are we, followers of the Lord Jesus Christ and with the right people. As he put us in a place and that is the right place for us. The point I'm making is that it is possible to be the right people in the right place and yet miss work God has for us to do when were talking about these people, we have to say something else as well. Not only were they the right people in the right place.

They were really trying to do the right work least that's what they had their mindset on or did it one time.

That's why they went back to been a lot easier for them to stay in Babylon.

They were settled down there. They had their businesses, their jobs, their income, their homes and schools. All of those things go back to Jerusalem and going back to an impoverished land barren land. All of that had to be done all over again. The street said to be clear, the farms had to be re-plowed.

The houses had to be rebuilt and yet they did all that because they really wanted to engage in the work of building the temple. The difficulty is that the work was difficult and they began to lick the work slide. I think we have to say.

Finally, not only were they the right people in the right place doing the right work or at least trying to. But they were doing it for the right reasons.

We can imagine a case where the people would've come back for entirely the wrong reasons. Suppose that they were trying to restore a sense of national pride.

Suppose they were saying. Well, the Babylonians tore down our temple to show them who really has the greatest gumption here were just gonna stick to it and working to build it back up again or they might've said were going to build a temple here so glorious that everybody in the whole world is going to come and say wow look at that magnificent thing we Jews built will pick up any of that in any of this literature, you don't find it in the prophetic book you don't find it in Ezra Nehemiah people wanted to serve God.

They recognize the call of God, and they were about the work of building the temple because they were concerned for the glory of God. Yet you say they had allowed these things to slip and they were essentially in spite of all the right motives, becoming very secular people I don't know anything that better describes evangelical church in America than that same and we begin to talk about the Jews of Judah during this period of the restoration as being the right people. The very same things can be said of the evangelical church right people in the sense that they are right with God through justification by faith. Evangelicals are not the liberals are not the unbelievers there. Not even the unconcerned people want to follow God there in the right place in the sense that they're not out drifting about in the culture aimlessly. They're not even for the most part in the liberal churches there and evangelical churches engaged in evangelical works and furthermore there in the right place.

Trying to do the right thing that really trying to build the kingdom of God share the gospel of Jesus Christ and do works that will bring honor to the Savior so far as I know there also trying to do it for the right reasons. It's not a popular thing to be a Christian today try to share the gospel to bring honor to Jesus Christ and yet there are many, many evangelicals were doing. It is true.

When we look at the evangelical church today for the most part, on the average, we would have to say that somewhere something is wrong. The intention is there but the fruit of the intention is not visible as a failure. Somewhere along the line. When we begin to think about it isn't the case that the evangelical church in our day has fallen short for the same reasons that we find in this opening chapter of the book of Haggai you say when are they well, God begins to talk to the people in the first thing we find in the book is God saying these people are making excuses for what they know they should be doing excuse they have is the excuse we have in verse two about Haggai writes it like this. This is what the Lord Almighty says these people say time is not yet, for the Lord's house to be built and you heard that arguments many many times it just not the right time to do it. For example, about world missions. Well, I know that Jesus told us to go in all the world with the gospel and I know there are many millions who haven't even heard the name of Jesus Christ. Others will perhaps hurt don't understand the gospel need to respond, but after all, with the economy in the state it is today. It's really not the right time to increase the missionary budget we have to wait and things get better or hear it in terms of personal witnessing. I know I'm to be a witness for Jesus Christ it's difficult today.

People don't want to hear about Jesus Christ. Why work. For example, it is very difficult to share the faith.

I think it's just not the right time to do it yet. We talk about tithing.

I know Christians should give their money. I know the tithe is an Old Testament figure and probably today, anyone who is really seeking the will of the Lord to be getting more than the 10th.

The Old Testament just as our morality should exceed that of the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees, but you know I have family obligations.

The time is coming when I'll do that, but time hasn't come yet.

See, no matter what area we begin to think about the Christian life. We have heard that kind of argument.

The time isn't yet, God begins to deal with that and he does it in several ways. What he really calls upon the people to do is to stand back and look at things with a spiritual perspective. There's a phrase that occurs four times in high gear, you find it twice in chapter 1 and twice in chapter 2. It's translated in our versions. Give careful thought to your ways. The old King James said, consider your ways God says stop and think. I want you to look at your lives, what you doing and ask yourself the question is what you're doing right then he begins that his questions not one question occurs in verse three the people of just said the time hasn't come for the Lord's house to be built in a high G.I. says in speaking for the Lord. Is it time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses while this house remains a ruin. They say we don't have time to build God's house, we don't have money to build God's house. This isn't time to do it.

But God says what you have time and money enough for yourself.

I don't think it's very difficult to apply that I just noticed something in Christian work that when you're trying to get people to do something Christians asking them to do something because it's a job that needs to be done. It's always the people who were least busy who don't have the time, people are already busy in the Lord's work find time for it somehow. When you're trying to raise money for the Christian project. It's always people who have the least money to give it not the ones who have the most people have a lot of money. Say oh we don't have enough right now we have so many obligations and people who have a lot of time say oh we don't have the time right now. There's so many things pressing in upon me. I know that we have many legitimate pressures. I'm under the myself, as you are, but it's a question of priorities and this is what Haggai is trying to get the people to see you see it to say and it would be of very difficult thing to find in our experience, people who really don't fit this pattern would be a proper thing to say we have time and money for that which we value most. The question is if we are not using the resources God has given us for God's work is not the case, then, that we actually value our own comfort, our own pleasure in our own work before the work of God is something second something else that God asked people to consider. That's what follows that phrase give careful thought to your ways. As in verse six you planted much but harvested little.

You each but never have enough to drink but never have your fill. You put on clothes but are not warm you earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it that's descriptive. Many Christians lives you planted much but harvested little. What that saying, because sin this day.

Of course, farming was the chief industry. What this is saying is you're working more and more what your increasingly dissatisfied with what you can't. It's like you're on the treadmill running faster and faster, but you're not getting anywhere you're going up the escalator, two steps at a time, but the escalators coming down faster than you're going up. It's like the old Pennsylvania Dutch expression. Look how weird I go the behind her I get is not a description of American life and American evangelicals as well. God says consider stop. Think about it. Isn't that what it's like you say yes I guess that is I going to say why is it like that. The answer is going to give is because I made it like that because you got your priorities wrong before. He says that he makes the point a little bit further.

He's talked about this kind of frustration. Now he talks about dissatisfaction you eat would you never have enough to drink but you never have your fill. You put on clothes, but you aren't warm.

I don't think he's saying that they don't have enough to eat her enough to drink, or enough clothes to wear later on. Of course he's going to talk about some of the difficulty sending Blight withholding rain from the crops in such things, but he saying here that they're eating their drinking or wearing) he says these things are satisfying. You want people in our day were busy about all the affairs of this life, but don't find them satisfying all they have plenty to eat plenty to where they have plenty to drink. They have new houses. They have new cars. All of these things but somehow there's an aching void in their soul takes in the Psalm says God gave them their request, but he sent meanness to their soul. We many people like that today you say yes I guess we do. I guess that may even be true of my life.

God going to say why is that he's going to give the answer is going to say. I sent it in order that you might straighten out your priorities. But before he says it yet one more point.

You said you earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in I don't know of any more classic description of inflation and that line you earn wages, only to put them in the purse with holes in it. We work hard, we save our money. We put it in the bank and the dribbles away taxation and the devaluation of the government of the dollar through government overspending say I guess that's right. That's one of the problems got to say why is that right answer is going to give is that he's done it is how he does it. He begins to talk about it in verse nine, you expected much would see it turned out to be little.

What you brought home, I blew away. Why, declares the Lord Almighty stop and consider. Think about it. Why is a situation like that, that's abnormal that way. Why is it the answers.

Because of my house, which remains a ruin. Each of you is busy with his own house, now in their day task.

They were given was building up that temple was important. That's not necessarily the task in our day, though it may be in specific cases. The task in our day is most certainly the task of doing the work of God carrying the gospel into the world witnessing where we are living for him in making a Christian presence so real the world about us simply cannot ignore it. They have to know there's a Christian presence there and be confronted with the claims of Jesus Christ and the sovereign claims of Almighty God and what God is saying here is that you are suffering. Many of the dissatisfactions of your life because you do not have your priorities right. And you're not doing the work that I've given you to do is talks that's true you're the right people say yes and were here.

We were concerned about a work in a particular place. That's true in the right place and you say what were and were not trying to do the social gospel were not trying to do the liberal thing we really are trying to share the gospel of Jesus Christ that's truly are concerned about the right work and you say were not doing it for our own glory. No, no, not honestly want God to be glorified. That's right your trying to do it for the right reasons.

But you're not effective because your priorities are not right.

You see, that's why this is such a weighty book when you begin to read it. You say luck is in this strangers a whole prophecy of the Old Testament that has to do with the building of the temple that isn't even around today.

What could be more irrelevant when you begin to study it, you realize it's not only relevant, it's extremely relevant because it's talking about the priorities of our life.

It's talking about putting God first in anything other than putting God first is idolatry, sin, breaking the first commandment thou shalt have no other gods before me. Now some of the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all.

I sold it with all my mind, and instead, I'm afraid, pathetic as it sounds. We love our houses are things in our comfort. Sometimes when you read these books.

It's really encouraging and this is one of the reason that's encouraging is a when I get I preach this message. These people who are the right people, and in the right place. It really did have a heart for the Lord's work in his glory listens the high GIs preaching read about it at the end. Then Zerubbabel the son of Schiatti L Joshua the son of Jehoshaphat the high priest of the whole remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the message of the property IDI because the Lord their God had sent him and the people fear the Lord, I gather Lord's message messenger gave this message of the Lord to the people I am with you, declares the Lord. So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Schiatti L.

The governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehoshaphat the high priest in the spirit of the whole remnant of the people they came and began to work on the house of the Lord Almighty. There God on the 24th day of the sixth month in the second year of King Darius.

I'm interested in that time reference because if you read that in the very last verse of the chapter on the 24th day of the sixth month and compare it with the first verse of the first chapter in the second year of King Darius on the first day of the six-month you find that it was just 23 days afterwards that they were actually engaged obediently in the work of building the temple we actually know what date that was because they work that out now because of the new moons that use computers at all of that was 21 September the or 520 BC.

This was obedience and not only was it obedience it was instance obedience or is nearly instant as it could be under the circumstances of this message IDI is to be received by us. I pray that might be received by us in that way.

You see, there is work to be done and the question is will he do it but we get the priorities straightened out. Will we seek God's will and God's glory. First, God grant that it might be so, and that it might be so quickly in each of our lives for his sake, let us pray father, bless these words of IDI to our hearts and do that work which no mere human being can do that work of searching the depths of each of our thoughts and motives to bring to light that which is displeasing to you, that it might be corrected and that we might become people who are actually doing what we profess serving you the glory of Jesus Christ and you have been listening to the Bible study our production of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals the alliance of confessing Evangelicals exist to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of Reformation theologians from decades, even centuries gone by.

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