1ST JUNE, 2014.
THEME: THE PEOPLE OF GOD SET PRIORITIES
SUB THEME: HOPE AND CONFIDENCE COME FROM GOD
TOPIC: OBEY THE LORD
BACKGROUND SCRIPTURE: Haggai 1
TEXT: Haggai 1:11
“Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your panelled houses while this house remains a ruin? – Haggai1:3-4(NIV)
LESSON OBJECTIVES: After participating in this lesson each student should be able to:
- Summarize the LORD’s message to the people through Haggai.
- Explain why the people had not made the rebuilding of the temple a priority after its reconstruction was halted following the return from exile’.
- Identify one ministry that needs to have a higher priority in his or her life and make a plan to change.
Haggai lived in the post-exilic period of Old Testament history. The Israelites had gone into exile in Babylon and their deportation occurred in stages culminating in 586BC when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city of Jerusalem. In 539BC, Cyrus of Persia conquered Babylon and Persia became a dominant power in history. Soon afterward, Cyrus issued a decree for the return of Jews who so desired and the rebuilding of the house of God. In 538BC some 50,000 Jews travelled to Judah to begin the task of rebuilding the temple. Within two years they had completed the foundation of the house of God. However, opposition to the rebuilding effort surfaced and people’s enthusiasm waned. Thus nothing changed because they had neglected to make the completion of God’s house the priority.
The focus of Haggai’s ministry was to challenge God’s people to wake up from sixteen years of spiritual slumber, years that had left God’s house unfinished and people themselves unfulfilled.
THE LORD’S MESSAGE (Haggai 1:1-2)
- Who were Zerubbabel and Jeshud? Why was the message addressed to them?
- “The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house”. What do you understand by this statement? How do we recognize when strategic delay has become procrastination in the church and in our lives?, what can be done to prevent this problem from happening?(Prov.26:13-15,Proverb18:9)
FORGETTING THE FUNDAMENTALS (Haggai 1:3-6)
…” Is it the time… to be living in your panelled houses…?”
- Explain the statement “panelled houses” and relate it to our time?
- How do you determine which tasks are most important and what role do others have in helping you set priorities? (Matt 6:33,Prov. 19:2,20; 18:15)
- Vs 5- “Give careful thought to your ways”. What is your understanding of this statement? How do we rekindle passion for the Lord’s work?
- Vs 6- Why did the peoples’ investment in the necessities of life and wages yield inadequate returns? (Isaiah 55:2)
WITHHOLDING OF BLESSINGS ( Haggai 1: 7-11)
- What was the state of the people at the time of this message?
- What, according to vs. 9 was responsible for this state?
- Vs.7&8- What was the LORD’s command and what are the likely resultant effects?
- Are there any negative circumstances today that Christians can say are a result of God’s withholding of blessings?( Hebrews12:3-13, Luke13: 1-5, John9:1-3,James 4:2;2Timothy3:12)
The people suffered in every aspect of their lives as a consequence of neglecting the Lord’s work and the series of events noted by Haggai are tied to the people’s disobedience to the covenant between God and Israel. The good news in the midst of this distress is that the God of covenant can and will reverse the conditions of His people, but the people must reverse their priorities. The covenant promises of blessings have not been revoked. There is hope but we will have to make serious changes by obeying the LORD.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Now is the right time to do what God desires.