Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode 605 · 2 months ago

The Holy Spirit and the Glorious Temple (Hag 2:1-9)

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Haggai 2:1-9

This is one of the last books of the Old Testament, Haggai, chapter two, verses one through nine. The grass withers, as we know, the heat flowers fade, but even in the harshest and most difficult seasons, the word of the Lord stands forever. In the seventh month, on the twenty one day of the month, the word of the Lord came by the hand of Hagi, the Prophet. Speak now to Cerebebel, the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua, the son of Jeosdak, the high priest, and to all the remnant of the people, and say, who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Is it not as nothing in your eyes? Yet now, be strong, or iserebebel declares the Lord Be Strong, Oh Joshua, son of Jehosedek, the high priest, be strong, all you people of the land, declares the Lord Work, for I am with you. Declare is the Lord of hosts. According to the Covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt, my spirit remains in your midst. Fear not, for thus says the Lord of hosts. Yet once more. In a little while, 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 the nation shall come in. And I will fill this House with glory, says the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine,...

...the Gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts. The latter glory of this House shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hostsmen, you may be seated. Well, for those of you who might be a little bit unfamiliar with this book or this particular time in history, let's start with a little bit of a little bit of context and set up the story, remind us of what's going on. What's going on is that the word of the Lord has come to the Prophet Hagi and he is encouraging the people to begin a work, to do a work in building the Temple of God that had been neglected for some time, about forty years. What had happened previously is that, because of God's people's disobedience, because of their disobedience, the temple was destroyed and before the temple was destroyed. There was a vision in which the Prophet saw the spirit of God lift up out of the temple and depart. The spirit was not with them anymore. The spirit of God was going away. His presence, her his protection, His mercy, his covering, His Holiness, all of these things that their temple represented, his dwelling with man. It was going away. And so the spirit was seen...

...to the part. And then eventually the temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar judgment of guns to God's people for their disobedience. But what happens next? Nebuchadnezzar takes the treasures that are in the temple. There's lots of gold there, various fine things of various religious objects, and he takes them to Babylon. He doesn't just take the stuff, he takes the people too. You might remember stories about Shadrach Meshack and a bit nego or Daniel and others. He takes people. He takes these people into Babylon and their exiles they all they're not in their place anymore. They are not in this place that God has said I will dwell with you and you will be my people. Instead, they're dwelling in a foreign land and within under a foreign king who does not serve the Lord of hosts, who does not love the Lord God of Israel. There's lamentation. There's a old book called lamentations describing these things. There's sadness and crying, there's weeping. But then the Lord comes and he speaks to a new king, King Cyrus, one from Persia, who has overtaken Babylon and Cyrus by the hand of the Lord, says it's time till the Temple of God to be rebuilt, and so he sends back the people and he sends some of their stuff with them and they get to work. They start to build the temple, they start to build, but then they face opposition by people in the land. There are people who don't want them to keep going. They say stop, they try to impede the work in various ways. We greet about this in Ezra and the alum they and what ends up happening is the people of God get discouraged, despite being brought back to the land by the Lord, by the command of the Lord, enriched by the Lord, empowered by the Lord, they lose heart, they become afraid,...

...they lose their strength, they lose their courage, they lose their willpower and they stop building the temple. And, as we saw in the last chapter, God comes to his people and he says, why is it that I see your nice neighborhoods with your paneled houses and your landscaping and the Nice cars in the driveway, and yet my house remains in ruins, my house is not finished, my house is not done, as we thought about last time. Of course, it's not that God needs a house. The God is somehow homeless or in need of anything really. But his desire was to dwell with his people, with to be with his people, and that wasn't happening as long as their priorities were all mixed up, as long as their priorities were focused on this present life and that the things in the stuff of this world, and not on him and not on his worship and not on living that covenantal life with him, a life based on his promises, a life based on his work. As long as those priorities were all mixed up, things were not going to go well. And they weren't going well. He says to them back in chapter one, through Hagiss, look around you. Are you not experiencing drought, economic problems in various other things? This would and should have been expected, because when we go back to Mount Sinai, when we go back to when God brought his people bill out of Egypt, he made a covenant with them and he told them, if you disobey me, you will experience curses in the land, if you obey me, will experience blessing. And so he wakes them up and he says it's time to pay attention. And now in chapter two he continues to encourage them in that he says be strong. He says it three times. He says it in Verse Four. Be Strong. He says it's is a rebebl who's the governor...

...of this land? At the time he says it's a Joshua. Be Strong, who is the high priest? And he says it a third time. Be Strong, all you people on the land, be strong, be strong, be strong. They felt weak, they felt discouraged. They looked, as we read in verse three, those who were left, those who could even remember what the old temple looked like, and they said it says nothing the glory when we think about the temple and its former glory. When we look at the what is going on now? It's all gone. It's all gone. But despite the discouragement, despite the obstacles they were facing, the Lord gives them a command. Be Strong, be strong, be strong. It's hard to be strong when you don't feel strong. It's hard to feel strong when you're discouraged and tired and you can't get out of bed. It's hard to be strong when you know the to do list that's in front of you and then all the things that are going to happen. It's hard to be strong when you know the obstacles that are against you. It's often very tempting to just give up, to say I'm tired of doing the right thing, I'm tired of setting my priorities right, I'm tired of struggling, I'm tired of trying. You feel weak, you want to give up. It's very hard to be strong. Be Strong, be strong when you are feeling weak. God commands them in the next word, the next sentence, work, get to work, get out of bed, get to work. And...

...then he tells them, he gives to them a reason, he gives them something that will stir their spirits and encourage them. He says, for I am with you. Declares the Lord of hosts. Not this point the word phrase Lord of hosts. I may not have you may not have even knownict it when I read it, like okay, it's a Bible phrase, right, that describes God. But by the end maybe you did notice it because it's repeated so many times. Declares the Lord of hosts. In Verse Four. Again we have it in several times, and versus seven and Verse Eight, in Verse Nine, over and over and over again, the Lord of hosts. You know what hosts are, right, it's in this context it refers to armies. And whenever you hear the Lord of hosts, what I want you to imagine is a hundred million angels ready to do the Lord's will, thousands upon thousands, a thousands of thousands, as the scriptures describes them, millions and millions of angelic beings who desired nothing except to serve God and do his holy will. That's their job, that's what they love. Passage of Scriptures, we have a descriptions of these beings. They are awesome in terms of amazing, mind boggling. They are difficult, it would seem, to describe. They are described sometimes of scriptures as having a many eyes, as having the faces of powerful creatures like lions and Eagle us they are described...

...as creatures which are able to do very, very great things, and one of the main things they do is praise God. They sound the surround the throne of God is singing to his praise. They are his messengers who go forth. They are, scriptures also say, ministering spirits to us, his people. Sometimes on people are given visions of angels, just the meaning to say they see them. So, for example, the shepherds in the field at the time of Jesus's birth, the angels appeared singing glory to God in the highest or their stories of people about to go into battle and the Lord opens their eyes and allows them to see the mighty armies of God that are on their side. An amazing thing. And if you were in a dark parking lot at night and you know big guy comes up to you is looking kind of aggressive, be scary, imagine he's got two people with him, three people. Imagine he's got thirty people with them and he's coming at you. Now imagine it's not thirty, but it's an army right, thousands of people coming at you. Now imagine it's millions of people. Now imagine it's millions of angels all ready to do the bidding of the Lord, God Almighty. Except here, in this passage, the Lord of hosts and his mighty armies are not coming at us. They are working for us, they're protecting US, they're keeping us all by the mighty word of theric and our commander.

Their creatures like us, different creatures, but still creatures under the authority of the Creator of Heaven and heavenly beings and earth, the Lord of hosts, the Lord of hosts, the Lord of hosts, don't be afraid, be strong, fear not, for I am with you. I am for you, declares the Lord of hosts, declares the mighty general, the Great King, the commander of armies and of Heaven and in Earth. It's also it is an angel who speaks the word of the Lord and says to marry. Fear Not right, and he says this in a very similar way. I am with you, and indeed she gives birth to Jesus, the son of God, who is Emmanuel, God, God with us. Over and over we see God doing his work in the world. Are Strong God, a powerful God. When he is on our side, we have no reason, zero reason, to be discouraged, no reason to think that something in this world will be able to stand in his way of working for our good and doing all things for a benefit and for the glory of his name. We can work, we can be strong, even when we're discouraged, because God is at work and because God is God, the Lord, the I am of hosts. We see the strength of the Lord and more encouragement is...

...given to these people who come back in verses seven and following, when he says, I want you to picture the future. I don't want you to be discouraged, I don't want you to be weak, I want you to go forward and work and build this house based on my promise to you to be faithful and my promise about the future glory of this thing that you are doing, this work that is going to be accomplished, this project that they are going to engage in, will have success. What kind of success? As they are disappointed and mourning the loss of the old is, they don't see the glory in the temple, what is the Lord say to them? He says, in verse seven, I will shake all nations so that the treasures of the nation shall come in and I will fill this house with glory. Right. So they're discouraged about the glory of the House. It's just a slab or whatever. You know, there's there's just it's not beautiful, it's not splendor, it's not a place that you would want to be. It's sad. It's in some ways a marker of passin and these kinds of things. Well, what's going to happen? God describes like a funnel. Or maybe a better example is those super fun things that you do when you're a kid, that those big parachute things that you all stand around in a big circle and you put the balls on the on the the piece of fabric and nylon or something like that, and there's a hole in the middle and everybody shaken, everybody's shaking it. They lifted up high, and then what happens? Like eventually the balls and things or toys or whatever, they fall down into the center. So that's really fun fun. This is not a...

...fun picture. It is a picture of great power and what we see is God shaking the nations, shake, shake, shake, shaking the heavens, the Earth, the sea, the whole world, everything on the heavenly places, the earthly places, the sea, the dry land. It shakes it all and what happens is the treasures of the nation's just fall down into the glory of the temple. They fall down like like in a funnel. They come down into the House of the Lord. He is going to fill it up. As they look at Egypt, as they look at Battylon, as they look at Persian, say, man, those places are amazing. They're filled with art and architecture and music and language and all these things. What are we doing here? What's the point of this? I guess I'll just go work on my backyard. He's saying something is coming that is greater than this. He is going to fill the house of the glory. To underline that point, he then says in versus eight. There says in Verse Eight the Silver Is Mine, the Gold is mine, declares the Lord. This is both a promise of the future and an expression of a present reality. The scriptures say the Lord owns everything, everything. There's not a blade of grass, there's not a cloud in the sky, there's not a chair in this room, not a person that he doesn't own. But he doesn't have a right to because he's God. He's different than we are. His ways are not our ways, his thoughts are not our thoughts. He isn't like us, who has a beginning and an end. He's different. He is...

...the great I am. He is the Lord of hosts and everything is his. He will fill the house and it will be more glorious, because he can and he will and he promises that in that place he will give peace. The violence and the shaking and the disruption that will happen in order to bring about this glory will not always stay that way, it won't always be a shaking, but it will be established and it will end in peace. Now we see in these last few verses that there is a the Lord is speaking in a metaphorical ways. Right, if all the nations are of all the glory and the treasures of the nations came into the House of God, well, that would have to be very, very big house, the size of the earth. Really Right, we see, and we also know from history, that things didn't quite happen exactly like this. The temple was rebuilt and it was glorious, but it was eventually destroyed again. Even today, it's not there, not like this. And yet the Lord has in fact kept his promise and will keep it in such a way that these promises are not just promises of hope for them but for us as well. He says that there is this shaking that happens and this shaking is a shaking of judgment. There are a few places in scripture that are very important that is referring to. The first one is the shaking of Mount Sinai, when God brought...

...his people out of the land of Egypt and brought them and established them as a new people. He gave them the Law on Sinai and if you remember what happens there, that mountain shook, it quaked. There were other things that happened to there was lightning and fire and a booming voice. It was terrifying. As God gave them the law, there was this sign of judgment that came with it, a threat. Dare in a way, just try to disobey me, touch this mountain and see what happens to you. I'm paraphrasing, but the but the idea was, and God was very clear about this, that His Holiness would be established, that the people and their holiness and their closenesses with him would be established. No more would they be idolaters, no more would they go in their own ways. They would be his people and he would be their God, and that whole mountain shook. Well, there was another time which there was a another very important shaking, and that was when Jesus Christ died. When Jesus died there was another shaking as the threat and the curse of the law again was made manifest in the world, as judgment came down for sin and against sin. We read in Matthew Twenty seven, verse fifty one that when Jesus died the veil that was in the temple at that time as big thit. Curtain was torn from top to the bottom like a piece of paper. God just tore it. And on top of that the earth, we read, quaked and the rocks split.

Perhaps some of you saw the video of the up at the lake. Have Asu the rock just falling off, just splitting, this huge, huge rock falling off and falling into the water. It seems impossible, right, how could something so strong and so stable just split? Well, because the Lord is strong and more stable and more powerful than anything in this world. The Earth seems so strong. It seems like it will never move until it does, until it does, and we experience this, of course, sometimes earthquakes and sink holes, rocks falling, landslides, these kinds of things. These are reminders to us that this world is not as stable as we often think it is. And that's important, because what Jesus does that his death, when judgment comes down upon him, not for his disobedience to the law, but because of ours. God is establishing us as a people forever, and he establishes, he says, in Christ a people and a city and a temple that is unshakable, that is unshakable, and this is our hope. Our hope is that when God comes again, when the son of God comes again into the world and shakes the world and pulls it apart and brings all things into this terrifying judgment, we will have no reason to fear, not because we're stronger than the earth, but because we live in God and we are established in the strength of God, who is stronger than the earth and...

...has already begun to establish us in something that is forever. Listen to Hebrews twelve, and I'll conclude with this. Listen to Hebrews twelve of verse eighteen. That makes this contrast between Mount Sinai and Mount Zion. The kingdom in which we now stand is those who belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, Hebrews Chapter Twelve, verse eighteen says, for you have not come to what may be touched a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages bespoken to them, for they could not endure the order that was given. If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stone indeed. So terrifying was the sight that Moses said, I tremble with fear. You haven't come to that, but you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the Living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to listen this innumerable angels, the hosts in festal gathering. Right, it's a party. We have come to partying angels that are excited and rejoicing and celebrating. It gets better, verse twenty three, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, speaking of those who have died and gone before us, and to God, the judge of all, into the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and...

...to the spankled blood, blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. See to it that you do not refuse him who is speaking, for if at that time they did not escape, when they refused who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from Heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised yet once more I will shake the Earth, but also the heavens. You hear that language from Haggai right this judgment that was promised to this be judgment that would come, that it was established glory. It's still coming. In a way, began at the Cross and it will be completed when Jesus comes again. He has promised, I'm in Verse Twenty Six, yet once more I will shake not only the Earth but also the heavens. This phrase yet once more indicates the removal of things that are shaken, that is, the things that have been made. God is going to remove the things that have been made. Why? Here's the answer. In order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, let's be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and off for our God is a consuming fire. So, as the author of Hebrews speaks to these Christians, he says, let's remember back for a moment, just like Hag I says, let's remember back for a moment, Mount Sinai. Let's remember the shaking, let's remember the terrifying scene. Let's remember that even Moses said, I don't want to go, even Moses trembled. We, however, have come to something that cannot...

...be shaken. In the resurrection, Jesus put on the imperishable, his mortal body that he took on in the incarnation, becoming like us, put on immortality, unshakability. It cannot be moved. His body, his human body, will never die. It remains firm and strong and stable forever, and he promises that all of us will receive those same bodies, have that same life and will be part of a kingdom, a new heavens and a new earth that cannot be shaken any more. It won't be shaken. That is eternal and steadfast and strong and safe. Why is it that way? Because it won't come under judgment, because it's perfectly holy forever and ever, because all sin has been removed and it has been established not by the People's righteousness but by God's perfect righteousness. When we stand in his kingdom, when we worship with his angels, when we live by his spirit, through the mediation of the son for the love of the father, it's all his, including us. That's why we worship the way we do. That's why we worship who whom we do, with reverence, with awe, with Thanksgiving, with joy. Let's pray.

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