God’s Signet Ring

February 23, 2010 at 9:38 am | Posted in Haggai | 2 Comments
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God sent Haggai to encourage Zerubbabel, who is in the earthly ancestry of the line of David, leading to Christ. (Matthew 1:26; Luke 3:27)

Zerubbabel was to be God’s “signet ring.” Wouldn’t it be good to be so close to God that He could use us to stamp His official decrees? Can God trust you to be present when a soul is saved? To be there for the dedication of a church building? To be there at the baptism of a child, grandchild, or neighbor?

Zerubbabel’s ancestor, Jehoiachin (Coniah), was the signet ring that was plucked off.

As I live, saith the LORD, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence;

Jeremiah 22:24

God could not trust Coniah. He could trust Zerubbabel.

In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts.

Haggai 2:23

Here are previous posts on the Book of Haggai:

They Don’t Make ‘Em like They Used To – and They Never Did
When It’s Okay To Be Irrational
For Whom Are We Building this Temple?

For Whom Are We Building this Temple?

February 16, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Posted in Haggai | 3 Comments
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Haggai prophesied that the Lord’s people were guilty of three sins:

1. The sin of rationalization (“It’s not the right time.”)

2. The sin of rationalism (“The evidence doesn’t support the work. Why is there opposition if God wants us to continue the work?”)

3. The sin of re-ordering their priorities (“Our houses come before God’s houses; our priorities come before God’s priorities.”)

Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste?

Haggai 1:4

“Cieled houses” were houses that had a type of paneling.

They gave money also unto the masons, and to the carpenters; and meat, and drink, and oil, unto them of Zidon, and to them of Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea of Joppa, according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of Persia.

Ezra 3:7

The stones could still be used, but the wood needed to be replaced.

Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD.

Haggai 1:8

Rationalizations that excuse doing the work of the ministry are opposed to God’s revealed will in His Word. In our day and age I would be very skeptical of teachers or preachers who say, “The Lord told me not to give the Gospel because I am focused on some other doctrinal teaching at the moment.” I do not believe that the Bible teaches that it is ever God’s will for the Gospel message to be withheld.

Haggai Chapter 2 contains encouragement for the future. There is a looking-forward to Herod’s temple when the presence of God would move back into the temple in the Person of Christ Jesus.

And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.

Haggai 2:7

The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts. In the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying,

Haggai 2:9-11

This is really Haggai’s 3rd “sermon” or prophetic message. It was delivered to the priests. Its theme is that holiness can only be “imparted” so far. But unholiness – or uncleanness – is very contagious. It is easily imparted. I can get you sick by sneezing on you, but I can’t get you healthy that way. There is assurance of mercy, and even blessing, with repentance, but it must be true heart repentance – the kind that seeks God’s glory.

Would the temple bring glory to God, or to the people who worked on it?

Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the LORD’S temple was laid, consider it. Is the seed yet in the barn? yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day will I bless you.

Haggai 2:18-19

Many husbands seek to separate the ministry of their family: They handle the material things and they let the wives handle the spiritual things. These must not be separated. Both areas of ministry require sanctification.

When It’s Okay to be Irrational

February 3, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Posted in Haggai | 13 Comments
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The people had made a good start. Bravely, they had gone back to Jerusalem, and had begun rebuilding the temple. Then, for 16 years the work stopped. God sent the prophet Haggai to get the people working again. We can see from the prophet’s words three major sins that were the cause of the delay.

First, the workers were guilty of the sin of rationalization. To rationalize something is to give an excuse for not doing what we really don’t want to be doing anyway.

Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD’S house should be built.

Haggai 1:2

When we say that we intend to do what the Lord has commanded, but that right now is not the right time, we must be careful of the sin of rationalization.

Second, the workers were indulging in the sign of rationalism. Rationalism is man-centered thinking in disregard of the principles and precepts of God’s Word.

Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.

Haggai 1:6

Man-centered reasoning says that if there is opposition to God’s work, He must not want us to continue. However, God-centered reasoning says that if God has commanded it, He will make a way to overcome all opposition.

Third, the workers had sinfully re-ordered their priorities. They were working on their own houses while the house of the Lord remained unfinished.

Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.

Haggai 1:9

We must put the things of God first on our priority list. If we seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, all our needs will be met by Him (Matthew 6:33).

Christians today should beware of working for themselves instead of working for the Lord. Ask the Holy Ghost to give you a spiritual check-up today, to make sure you are free from the sins of rationalization, rationalism, and re-ordered priorities.

They Don’t Make ’em like They used to – and They Never Did

January 28, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Posted in Haggai | 6 Comments
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The name “Haggai” means “festive” – prone to celebrate. The Biblical prophet Haggai prophesied, along with Zechariah, during the time of Ezra – approximately 537 B.C.

About 50,000 Jewish exiles had left Babylon for Judah after King Cyrus issued an edict that they could. They went back to rebuild the city and the temple. The work began, and then stopped for 16 years (536-520 B.C.). It is probable that Haggai and Zechariah were sent by God to get the people working again on the temple after this stoppage. The temple was completed in 515 B.C., so Haggai and Zechariah did not prophesy in vain.

Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?

Haggai 2:3, emphasis added

We must be careful about what we see “in your own eyes.” (See David and Michal in II Samuel 6; and James 4:10.)

Haggai had probably seen Solomon’s temple before it was destroyed. In 536 B.C. the foundation was laid, and the younger men shouted for joy. The older men wept. Why did they weep? They wept because the new temple did not match up, in their estimation, to the old temple. This weeping revealed a lack of enthusiasm for the great work that God was doing. However, even those who were enthusiastic slacked off when opposition grew.


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