February 18, 2017
How would you answer someone who thinks….
‘Why study the Old Testament? It was written 1,000s of years ago so how relevant is it to today’s world and our day to day living?’
Consider Paul’s words to the Corinthians. 1 Corinthians 10:11.1.
How much do you know about the small book of Haggai located near the end of the Old Testament?
Here are a few facts George mentioned on Sunday.
It was written 520BC by the prophet Haggai over a period of four months to the Jews living in Jerusalem and those who had retuned from exile. It is only two chapters long totalling 38 verses making it the second shortest book in the Old Testament. Haggai received four messages from God directed to His people.
2. Issues Haggai Addressed
Read Haggai 1, 2.
Discuss in your group the following…
What was God’s concern? They began well. What had God’s people done/failed to do? Haggai 1:4, 9.
The Lord said “Look what’s happening to you” Haggai 1:5, 7.
What were the results of neglecting the work God had given them to do? Haggai 1:6, 9-11, 2:14-17. What was God’s promise when they started obeying Him again? Haggai 2:18-19.
Why was it so important they rebuild God’s temple?
Read and discuss George’ words…
When Nebuchadnezzar finally invaded Jerusalem in 586BC the first place he destroyed was the Temple. Why was this? The conquest of the Temple depicted the triumph of Babylon’s god, Marduk, over Israel’s God, Yahweh. A temple in ruins spoke of a god who had been vanquished, crushed, defeated-a god who was, impotent, dethroned, and cast into the dust of history. A temple in ruins not only spoke of a god who is crushed and defeated but it spoke of the people of that god as crushed and defeated too. There was no greater shame upon God than His Temple as a site of desecration and neglect. The exiles who returned in great enthusiasm to Jerusalem lost their passion for the things of God and instead, centred their lives on the things concerning themselves. Their own houses became more important than God’s House. Haggai 1:3-4
Discuss where their Values, Priorities and Focus lay regarding God and the things of God.
God says through Haggai, “Consider your ways” or “Look what is happening to you?” (NLT) Haggai 1:5, 7.
What was their response?
3. How does this apply to us today?
God’s Temple in the old covenant in Jerusalem was a building. What is God’s temple in the world today?
Consider George’s words…
God has His temple in the world today! It is a physical temple that is to give witness to the presence and reverence and dignity of God. Just as God’s OT Temple highlighted God’s reality, God’s presence and God’s influence in the world of His people in the OT, so His temple today is to mark the reality, the presence and the influence of God in the world today.
Read and discuss 1 Corinthians 3:16 (plural) and 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (singular).
How does God want us (The Church, the Body of Christ and individually) as His temple to demonstrate His reality, presence and influence in the world today?
Consider the following…
Can God’s words said through Haggai to the people of his day, “Consider your ways” or “Look what is happening to you?” (NLT) Haggai 1:5, 7 apply to us today?
God withheld His blessing to them because they were neglecting Him, His values, priorities and had become self focused.
One example of God’s blessings to His children who are walking in His ways who aim to “bless others because they are blessed” is in the area of generosity and ministry of giving as Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, 9:6-15.
Will you consider how you are going regarding your values, priorities and focus in light of the above passages?