Tuesday, 8th March 2022
Rev Daniel Xi An Poon
Section One V1-6 Consider Your Ways
V1-2 ‘In the second year of King Darius, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying, Thus speaks the Lord of hosts, saying: This people says, The time has not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built.’ We must know that God wants us to build up His Temple. It does not mean that we don’t want the help of others, but it means we must be careful, we cannot worship God and mammon at the same time. When we work with those who do not believe God, we must consider our ways and our values, remember our first love and passion for God, and not to conform with the values of this world.
But why did the Israelites say that it was not the time to build the Temple of God? As we can see from the Book of Ezera, every time when the Israelites wanted to build the Temple of God, there would be challenges and hardships, stopping them rebuilding the Temple of God, gradually the Israelites lost the passion to rebuild the Temple, and they lost the passion for God. It’s the same as the world is now, many churches think that due to the pandemic, it’s not the time to preach the Gospel, it’s not the time to build up the House of God. But is this really the Will of God?
V3-5 ‘Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins? Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways!’ Therefore, God spoke to the people, God pointed out that the people only thought about their own houses and left God’s House desolate. Today God also reminds us to consider our ways, what do we work hard for? Do we only focus on our own gains and forget to build up the House of God? Do we only come to church to take things but never give?
V6 ‘You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but do not have enough; you drink, but you are not filled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages,
Earns wages to put into a bag with holes.’ Somehow we never feel satisfied, we moved to New Zealand from our home country because we were not satisfied with what we had back in the homeland, but when we come here, again we do not satisfy with what we have now, we then miss the food and the clothes back home… if we always focus on the worldly values, then we can never be satisfied, if we do not use the eyesight of God to see our environment and surroundings, then we will always complain about our lives!
In the time of fasting and praying, do we really quiet down ourselves and examine our ways? Humble ourselves, focus on God instead of our own desires, have faith in God, and know that when we put God first, God will supply all we need!
Section Two V7-11 Go Up and Build
V7-8 ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways! Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified, says the Lord.’ In Solomon’s times, he did not need to look for building materials, everything was prepared for him and delivered to him. But this time, God asked the Israelites to collect the wood and materials to build the Temple, because God wants to stir up their passion for God again, through gathering the wood and collecting the materials, the people will work in partnership with God and experience God. Today, God also wants us to work in partnership with Him, to experience Him, it’s not that He is lacking, but He wants us to see what He sees and feel what He feels!
V9-11 ‘You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? says the Lord of hosts. Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house. Therefore, the heavens above you withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit. For I called for a drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain and the new wine and the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and livestock, and on all the labour of your hands.’ When we are willing to walk the extra mile for God, especially in this difficult time, then God will bless us more! But if we seek our own gains and fulfil our own desires, then we will never have enough because we are trying to use our own strength and we are trying to be our own gods!
Do not let God’s House stay in ruin! We think that sharing the Gospel is impossible, and we think that doing the work of God is difficult, but we do not see that if we don’t do it, then God’s House will be in ruin and our hearts will grow cold!
Section Three V12-15 Be With Us
V12 ‘Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him; and the people feared the presence of the Lord.’ We need God to be with us, we need to experience God when we are building the Temple of God. We should not only listen but also have the fear of the Lord, to have the reverence in the presence of God.
V13 ‘Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, spoke the Lord’s message to the people, saying, I am with you, says the Lord.’ When God is with us, then who can be against us? He is the Lord of Host, He is the ‘I Am Who I Am God’. Are we willing to work for the House of God? Are we willing to put God first, people next, then the earth? Let us not to see burdens but to see blessings
V14-15 ‘So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month, in the second year of King Darius.’ Everyone is suffering during this pandemic, but our God is the Lord of Host, He is with us. We must let go of what we hold on to, say ‘yes’ and ‘amen’ to God’s calling. God wants us to share the Gospel, to spread the Good News, and to disciple the nation. Let us show people that God is hope and God will bless us!
哈该书 1 – 在黑暗中要明白神
当时的背景是以色列人已经国破家亡，圣殿也没有了，百姓被掳到巴比伦。面对很多不好的情况，当时的人可能会觉得神已经不在了， 这也是现在的基督徒会有的想法 – 我们不明白为什么世上总有那么多负面的事情发生。这些事在哈该书的时代也发生，事情的表面包装似乎不一样，但人看待事情的心态还是一样。世上没有新的事，这指的是我们的心 – 当不好的事发生，我们如何面对。当时的以色列地区有很多外邦人住，他们好像已经没有自己的家。然而，被毁坏的国和家都可以被重建，神看重的是人的心。在国破家亡这样的黑暗时刻，人们更要明白神。
V1 “大利乌王”（或“大流士王”）的名字意思是“主”，说明这位王很有野心。以斯拉记第2章记录了这段历史的背景：犹大省长所罗巴伯和大祭司耶书亚带领着四万二千三百六十名百姓归回耶路撒冷。起初巴比伦是将犹大国有能力的人掳走，人们没想到会有返回的时刻，更不可能相信原来他们可以被王派回家，去建造神的殿。然而，当会众想要建殿的时候，他们遭遇抵挡。以斯拉记3:8-13 记述当神的殿根基被立定的时候，神的荣耀就来临，而之后的第4章讲述了当波斯王让这些犹大百姓归回自己的家乡重建圣殿，大家都在开心的时候，他们的仇敌撒马利亚人也想要插一手，被所罗巴伯、耶书亚和其他领袖阻止，因为撒马利亚人信仰不纯，拜其他的偶像。（现在我们可能会说“只要是不抵挡我们的就是帮助我们，不要分这人是跟‘保罗’还是‘亚波罗’”- 然而，“信与不信不能同负一轭”，我们不能又拜神又拜玛门。我们可以帮助这些心怀二意的人，但建造圣殿这个圣工，神要的是我们这些蒙召信主的人来做）于是，撒马利亚人就扰乱犹大人，又到波斯王那里诬告他们。当遇到困难、被阻碍的时候，神的百姓就停工了。于是，神借着先知对他们说话。
V10-11 神的殿荒凉，所以个人所得的都少，“天就不降甘露，地也不出土产”。我们在困难的时刻出去传福音，其实是神要祝福我们，不是刁难我们。我们个人只顾自己的事，所以神的殿就荒凉了。我们只专注在做一个自己读经祷告的人 – 这本来就是我们该做的事，但神的殿若荒凉，人就无法敬拜神。我们要为此认罪悔改，先看神的殿。
V14 我们是否知道我们的神是“万军之耶和华”吗，是否知道神真的是“I AM WHO I AM”的那一位神？我们是否愿意先神后人再大地，还是看自己的工太重？要看到神给我们的是祝福，他与我们同在，我们愿意相信神、放下自己吗？在人心惶惶，害怕确诊的时候，我们更要出去让人看到盼望，看到神的恩手没有离开。