Share This Episode
Wisdom for the Heart Dr. Stephen Davey Logo

Water, Earth & Sky, Part 2

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
May 4, 2023 12:00 am

Water, Earth & Sky, Part 2

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 1133 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

May 4, 2023 12:00 am

Whenever you need a renewed perspective of God’s transcendence and his imminence, just step outside!


If you've been paying attention to the news, you frequently hear of a leader who had poor judgment or questionable character. Unfortunately, the same is often true for leaders in the church. Those who are leaders among God's people need to be examples of faithfulness in their personal walk with the Lord. They also need to be faithful in encouraging fellow believers and even rebuking them when necessary.

The prophet Haggai modeled this, and let's learn more. The apostle Paul once wrote to his co-worker and spiritual son in the faith, a young pastor named Titus, and he told him to exhort and rebuke with all authority in Titus 2.15. Now, Paul was reminding Titus that the work of the ministry involves boldly confronting people for their disobedience, for their indifference, but it also involved exhorting, encouraging people to keep going, to continue on in their service for the Lord.

The truth is, we need both in our lives today, don't we? In fact, God's people have always needed both rebuking and encouraging as they walk with God. Well, today in our wisdom journey, we come to the little prophecy of Haggai, and we find this prophet practicing those very things in his ministry.

He lived nearly 600 years before the apostle Paul wrote that letter to Titus, but he's about to say essentially the same thing. Here's how the book begins in verse 1. In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai, the prophet, to Zerubbabel, the son of Sheol to El, governor of Judah, and to Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest.

There's a lot of information crammed into that opening verse, isn't there? So let me try to simplify it. Darius here is the Persian king, Darius II. The date is very specific.

It's the first day of the sixth month. It's in the year 520 BC. Now, this tells us that Haggai's ministry is taking place after the Babylonian exile. Remember, the southern kingdom of Judah had been conquered by the Babylonians, and most of the people had been taken into exile there in Babylonia. Well, the Persians eventually conquered the Babylonians, and they encouraged the Jewish captives to go back to their homeland. They've been away from Jerusalem now for around 70 years. So the first group of people returned under the leadership of Zerubbabel, whom the Persians had appointed governor of the land. The book of Ezra, by the way, fills in all those details for us, telling us how, under Zerubbabel's leadership, the construction of a new temple in Jerusalem began.

It isn't long before the surrounding people begin opposing this project, and the work on the temple stops. Well, 15 years go by, and now the prophet Haggai begins to preach. He's calling the people to go back to work on rebuilding the temple of God. So, here we are now at the book of Haggai, which gives us the sermon transcripts of his messages.

Now, Haggai is going to deliver four sermons, and the first one is a message of rebuke. The people are neglecting the temple construction, and here in verse 2, Haggai quotes the Lord, who says, These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord. Verse 4 is a stinging rebuke, as God says, Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house lies in ruins? Well, they'd evidently decided, you know, comfort was more important than temple worship. Worship should have been their priority, and the Lord is now disciplining them for their wrong priorities. Verse 6 tells us that they are suffering now from lack of food and water and clothing and money. God says here in verse 11, He called for a drought on the land and hills. So, by withholding his blessing, these physical blessings, God himself is rebuking them for giving priority, you know, to paneling their living rooms while ignoring the house of God. And let me tell you, you know, we see that same attitude to this very day, don't we?

I can resist that in my own life, having wrong priorities. Now, verse 8 sums up this first sermon from Haggai. Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the Lord.

Now, Haggai actually has a responsive audience here. Verse 12 tells us the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God. So, now, with that, we have Haggai's second sermon.

This comes a month and a half later. It's one of encouragement for those who've returned to the Word. Listen to these words of the Lord through Haggai, chapter 2 and verse 4. "'Be strong, O Zerubbabel,' declares the Lord. Be strong, O Joshua. Be strong, all you people of the land. Work, for I am with you,' declares the Lord of hosts."

I love this picture here. The Lord is cheering them on in their efforts. He's encouraging them with the promise of his presence so that they don't give up again. And with that, the Lord is going to make some amazing prophecies concerning the temple.

Now, they're going to be distant. This is a distant future promise. They have yet to be fulfilled, beloved, to this day. But he begins here in verse 6 with this promise. "'I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land, and I will shake all nations so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory.'" Verse 9. "'The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former,' says the Lord of hosts.

"'And in this place I will give you peace.'" Did lasting peace come to the Middle East? No. Has it come yet?

No. This is a promise of the coming Millennial Kingdom and that glorious temple that will be rebuilt in that day. So the Lord is encouraging these people with the assurance that they this temple they're working on isn't just for them. Ultimately, it points to the coming of Christ and his future kingdom, which will be a kingdom of peace. Well, now, the third message of Haggai has a similar theme. It begins here in verse 10, and it reminds the people of the consequences of disobedience.

Then here in verses 12 through 17, he draws an illustration from the ceremonial system in which an unclean person pollutes everything he touches. In other words, he's telling them to be careful of compromise, be careful of sin, as they serve the Lord. You know, it's especially easy to walk away from the Lord when you're discouraged by the lack of results, like these people here struggled. Here are these people working on the temple.

They're not seeing much progress at all. This is a big task. So the Lord encourages them that while they don't yet see the reward of their labor, they need to keep pressing on, and they press on with this promise from the Lord. Here it is in verse 19. The Lord says, I will bless you.

In other words, I am with you. And that's a lesson for us all today. We walk by faith. We even work by faith for the Lord, even if sometimes we don't see many results, and frankly, often we don't. Well, let me tell you, beloved, there's something to remember. The work you're doing today for Christ, no matter how small or insignificant it might seem, it will have an eternal impact for his glory in ways we can't see either.

Frankly, most of the time, it just seems like work and no glory, just more dirty dishes or runny noses or one more lesson plan. But God's word promises in 1 Corinthians 15, 58 to be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. Now with that, the fourth sermon begins, and it's here in the closing verses of the book of Haggai. Here's God's message through his prophet.

It concludes here in verse 23. Again, this looks forward to the future when Jesus Christ returns to earth, when the kingdoms of this world will be overthrown. But there's also a promise here to make Zerubbabel on that day like a signet ring. A signet ring refers to the authority of a king. But how's Zerubbabel going to have royal authority way into the future of the millennial kingdom? He isn't going to live that long, and besides, isn't Jesus Christ the one who reigns as king? Yes.

Well, here's the answer. Zerubbabel is a descendant of David. He's in the royal family tree. Zerubbabel's descendant is Jesus, the Messiah. So Zerubbabel here becomes a representative of that royal messianic line. See, this is a promise that Zerubbabel's descendant, the Messiah, will reign as Israel's future king. This is an amazing prophetic encouragement to these people rebuilding the temple in Haggai's day. They are participating in something that will reach its final glory in the future reign and rule of the descendant of Zerubbabel, the Messiah. See, the promises of God reach all the way out into eternity, but they motivate us to serve him today, to serve him as our king today. May our hearts be his palace grounds today. Until our next wisdom journey together, beloved, may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Amen. Stephen called this lesson, Walking and Working by Faith. This is the wisdom journey. We're traveling through all 66 books of the Bible together as we learn to walk wisely through life.

Learn more about the wisdom journey and about our ministry, Wisdom International at Would you be interested in receiving occasional text messages and updates from Stephen? It's a great way to communicate and he'd like to be able to text you from time to time. Of course, once you're signed up, you'll be able to send Stephen a text as well.

He'd enjoy hearing from you. We actually have a way for you to add yourself to the list. Go ahead and grab your phone because signing up is very easy. All you have to do is send a text with the word wisdom. Here's the number. Send a text to 833-676-4051. Your message should just be the word wisdom. Once you do that, you'll receive a reply very quickly, answer a couple of questions, and that's it. You'll be on the list. Again, the number is 833-676-4051 and your first text to us just needs to be the one word wisdom. Do that now, then join us next time on this wisdom journey.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-04 01:10:30 / 2023-05-04 01:15:30 / 5

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime