Sunday, August 19, 2012

my notes on Haggai

Ezra 5:1-2's intro to Haggai and Zechariah
-1's prophecies result in 2a's renewal of effort to rebuild the temple (I Cor 14:3)
-2b’s prophets ‘were with them, helping them’– not just talk, but walk!
–> what was going on, in the interim, from Joshua and Zerubbabel’s perspective?? complacent themselves vs. worn out trying to motivate the people

Introduction to Haggai and Zechariah (H, Z, M in order; review OT chronology thru II Chron)
-Persians sack the Babylonians in 539; Cyrus allows Jews to return to rebuild the temple in 538 under Zerubbabel; work begins in 536, laying the foundation before faltering in the face of opposition and discouragement; work stops until Hag and Zech preach in 520 (Hag from Aug to Dec 520; Zech begins in Oct 520 and goes for two years); temple finished in 516
-MH’s ‘when the building of the temple was both retarded by its enemies and neglected by its friends’ (see: Ezra’s emphasis on external; Hag/Zech on internal)
-MH’s H&Z come ‘to reprove them for being remiss and to encourage them to revive that good work when it had stood still for some time’
-MH’s H&Z together– ‘that out of the mouth of two witnesses the word might be established...[and] two are better than one’
-interesting that H&Z are the first recorded prophets in awhile (Ps 74:9), fitting given the way the people had treated them; God previously used the Spirit to stir His people to return to Jerusalem (Ezra 1:5)
-both prophesied of Christ’s coming as well

Introduction to Haggai
-first of three post-exile prophetic books
-second shortest book in OT (next to Obadiah)
-little known about Haggai except that his name means ‘festal’, implying his birth during one of three annual religious festivals
-because Haggai’s sermons are so carefully dated, we know the very day they were presented! (messages on 8/29, 10/17, 12/18 * 2 of 520)
-four messages-- 1st & 3rd: land’s lack of productivity and pseudo-contentment as a function of their failure to rebuild temple; 2nd & 4th: encouragement that God supported them and would prosper them (w/ app. to God’s pattern of dealing with C’s and non-C’s)
-wrt style: like Mal, uses questions to highlight issues (1:4, 1:9, 2:3, 2:19; see: Jesus and post-moderns)
-general emphasis on:
-the more subtle consequences of obedience and disobedience
-the need to persevere, count the costs, run the full race, finish well
-the need to choose God’s best over the world’s good
-rebuking spiritual complacency and rekindling spiritual fervor– personally, and in ministry/evangelism

                                                                      Haggai 1

1:1-4's intro
-1a's date:
-given in terms of a Gentile king’s rule (a reminder of who was in charge– God and Persia)
-very specific (8/29/520); connect to historical evidences of OT/Bible
-‘first day’ as a new moon day– probably a religious festival, giving Haggai a large and rel. ready audience
-1b’s recipients of the opening prophecy: thru Haggai to Zerubbabel and Joshua
-implicitly to the people also (1:3), but initially targets the leaders; see: the preeminent need for vision and leadership from leaders
-2a’s ‘the Lord Almighty’ (lit. ‘the Lord [Yahweh] of armies’)
-14x in Hag, incl. its last words!; >90x in Hag, Zech and Mal
-title alludes to His power in having delivered them and to accomplish His will wrt temple and walls, history and military powers, etc.

-2b's thesis: the people had been saying that ‘the time has not yet come for the Lord’s house to be built’ (with the implication that it was and had been time!)
-use of ‘these people’ to avoid identifying them with God– because of their sin
-‘to be built’ as passive voice– implies their lack of interest in rebuilding (see: clues in one’s language)
à 4's punchline: “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this (God’s) house remains a ruin?”
-big emphasis on self (‘you...yourselves...your’) vs. God; their focus on self vs. others/God
-a play on the word ‘time’– they had found it an appropriate time to rebuild their own houses!
-living in them vs. merely building them?
-ironic in the face of David and Solomon’s passion to build God’s house before their own! (II Sam 7:2; I Kings 6-7)
-odd in the face of the relative importance of the temple for their worship

–> using temporal circumstances as an invalid excuse to procrastinate—here, to avoid rebuilding the temple
-see: Ezra’s external vs. Hag/Zech’s internal
-used prophets to provide counsel and circumstances to confound crops
-had quickly built an altar and laid the temple’s foundation (Ezra 3:10), but then yielded to outside pressure and had failed to return to the task once the pressure subsided (at least in failing to petition Darius when he became king)
-w/ app. to us, MH’s ‘Though those who are employed by God may be driven off from their work by a storm, yet they must return to it as soon as the storm is over.’
à didn’t say they wouldn’t rebuild it (obvious disobedience), just that the time wasn’t right
-w/ app. to those who put off becoming C’s or C’s who put off a deeper walk with God until difficult circumstances pass or C’s who avoid evangelistic/ministry ops since not quite everything is right or they haven’t been ‘led’ that way by God
-w/ app. to slippery slope with excuses/reasons
-4’s “paneled” houses implies a degree of luxury (I Kings 7:3,7, Jer 22:14); may be fig., but the general point still holds
–> using supposed lack of material resources (money) as an invalid excuse to procrastinate
-scarcity vs. abundance mindset (revisited)
-neglected rebuilding God’s house, apparently using own family’s welfare as an excuse (vs. I Tim 5:8) or difficulty of having eternal perspective when cultural/worldly influences are so strong
-w/ app. to finding one’s way in the work-world before devoting oneself to ministry, buying household goods, tithing, investing time in relationships and service
-prosperity often a greater foe for us than adversity (Dt 6:10-12—post-6:4-9!; Lk 18:18-25)
-may signal how increased possessions do not bring contentment– happy at first to have a house, then wanted it paneled

–> w/ app. to us ‘waiting for the right time’-- moving into procrastination (Acts 24:25) or unnecessary delay and missed ops
-procrastination as “the pickpocket of time”
-see: Lewis’ Screwtape and busy-ness; the idea that ‘Satan doesn’t care what we do for the Lord as long as we do it tomorrow.’
-what’s the difference between borrowing indefinitely and stealing?
à don’t put it off– ops may disappear incl. one may not have a tomorrow; unlikely that many tomorrows will be easier than todays; often makes it harder to do the next time (more pressure; putting out fires)
-typically, life gets busier and more complex, with more responsibilities
–> ‘not enough time’ as a myth– all have the same amount of time; as with these people, it’s just a matter of priorities– temporal vs. eternal (Jn 9:4)
-see also: procrastination until other big events are taken care of– w/ app. to getting thru college, getting married, getting established at work, etc.
–> w/ app. to our calls to ministry: will we heed the call or be intimidated by our enemies, hindered by sin, distracted by the good (vs. the best), settling for complacency and comfort (J. Oswald Sanders’ ‘the fur-lined rut’)?
–> we are called to build God’s temple today– the church
-not that building houses is wrong, but must have correct priorities
-more general app. to pursuing other ministries
-see also: wonderful ops to spread the gospel-- here and esp. around the world
-here, the gospel lived-out stands in stark contrast to the world’s offerings
-around the world, tremendous financial and technological resources, responsiveness to the Gospel (see: Romania; former Communist countries)
-Theodore Williams (from Dwight): ‘We face a humanity that is too precious to neglect. We know a remedy for the ills of the world to wonderful to withhold. We have a Christ who is too glorious to hide. We have an adventure that is too thrilling to miss.’

1:5-8's consequences and command
-5’s ‘give careful thought to your ways’–past and why you’re “content” in the present (1:7, 2:15,18*2; w/ app.; Rom 12:2)
–> rebuked for what they had not done and noting the fruitlessness of what they had done; then, what they should be doing...
-7’s ‘give careful thought to your ways’ (revisited)–future; with 8a’s “go”, 5’s reflection is now accompanied by MH’s ‘reform’ and repent (vs. 5's ‘reflect’ [only!]; Lam 3:40, Ps 119:59)
-useful to think about motives, etc.– half the battle; here, little thought given
-MH’s ‘reflect’: ‘It is the great concern of every one of apply our minds with all seriousness to the great and necessary duty of self-examination, and communing with our own hearts concerning our spiritual state, our sins that are past, and our duty for their future.’
-analyze results: how’s that workin’ for you?
-6's plant much but harvest little (Dt 28:38-42 vs. Dt 6!, Lev 26:20; Hos 4:10-12); eat and drink but never satisfied (Is 55:1-2; not filling or never content?); wear clothes but cannot stay warm (vs. Dt 8:4); earn money but can’t keep it (akin to money burning a hole in one’s pocket; Lk 12:33-34; perhaps fig. for famine-induced high prices)
-lit. or fig. for lack of contentment
-connecting obedience with physical blessing
-not a good investment; embracing a scarcity/exile/bondage mindset
-insulting to God and an impractical way to live life (esp. in the OT; but also loss of spiritual and even physical blessing in NT; Phil 2:21, Mt 6:33)
-MH’s ‘As those who seek first the kingdom of God and the righteousness thereof shall not only find them, but are most likely to have other things added to them, so those who neglect and postpone those things will not only lose them, but justly have other things taken away from them.’
-but the people didn’t see cause and effect; MH’s ‘They were sensible of the smart of the judgment...but they were not sensible of the cause of the judgment.’
-MH’s ‘[they] either saw not the hand of God in it (imputing it to chance) or saw not their own sin as the provoking cause of it, and therefore turned not to him.’ (Is 9:12-13; futility a la Eccl)
-but ‘bad things’ do happen to good people; MH’s ‘We need the help of God’s prophets and ministers to expound to us, not only the judgments of God’s mouth, but the judgments of His hands, that we may understand His mind and meaning in His rod as well as in His word.’
-w/ app. to us, esp. within comfort/satisfaction; maintain vs. grow
-God’s punishment justly fits their sin; MH’s ‘the poverty they thought to prevent– by not building the temple– God brought upon them for not building it.’
-didn’t send them back into captivity, bring a foreign enemy in to oppress them, or bring the Persians back to slap them around
-see: God’s variety of methods-- here, dealing with them thru nature
-were chasing after and depending on material prosperity/security, so God took that away from them
à importance of reflecting on both bad past and good past—in particular, God’s grace in our lives
-8a's exhortation to go to the mountains, get the timber, and rebuild the temple
-8b’s so that God would be honored and pleased (vs. Is 1:11, Jer 13:11)
-again (1:4), may imply that they had used the wood gathered for the temple (Ezra 3:7) for their own homes!
-misusing/wasting 2,4's time, and here, resources devoted to the temple
-emphasizing their own comfort over God’s glory

1:9-11's consequences (revisited)
–> elaboration on 5-6's paradox: 9a’s ‘you expected much, turned out to be little’
–> 9c’s first cause of judgment: “Why?...Because” His house was a ruin while they were “busy” with their own houses
-9b’s tool of commission: ‘what you brought home, I blew away’ (what a picture!)
-10-11's tools of omission: ‘heavens withheld their dew and the earth its crops’; ‘God called for a drought’ and general barrenness in all areas
-11's grain, wine, and oil as three basic crops– often mentioned in discussing blessing or curse (Dt 7:13, 11:14, 28:51, Hos 2:8,22, Joel 2:24)
-MH’s ‘they had gotten their own land in possession again...but what the better are they for it, unless they had the clouds at their command too?’
-see: God’s physical blessings to us-- merely by withholding harm (w/ app. to our thankfulness for God’s blessings of omission)
-reverses mercy and grace
1:12-15's rapid and repentant response[1]
--> a successful sermon!
-all obeyed God’s voice and Haggai’s message– taking action
-obedience stemmed from 12b’s attitude: ‘the people feared the Lord’ (Dt 31:12-13; Mal 3:16 vs. Mal 1:6, 3:5's no fear)
-required God’s prevenient grace, Haggai’s participation, and the people’s open hearts and humility
-see also: Zerubbabel and Joshua’s humility, despite their leadership positions-- and Joshua’s humility and lack of jealousy, despite being a priest/teacher of the law
-interesting that leaders are mentioned– may imply their sins of omission for not leading strongly enough
-MH’s ‘Prophecy was a new thing with them; they had had no special messenger from heaven for a great while, and therefore now that they had one, and but one, they paid an extraordinary regard to him; whereas their fathers, who had many prophets, mocked and misused them. It is sometimes so; when good preaching is most scarce, it does most good, whereas the manna that is rained in plenty is loathed as light bread. And because they so readily received this prophet, God, within a month or two after, raised them up another, Zechariah.’
-13's Haggai’s message from God that God would be with them (2:4,5; Mt 28:20b)
-see: God speaks thru Haggai with a mix of rebuke and encouragement (w/ general app. and w/ app. to parenting)
–> 14a's God ‘stirred up’ their spirits (lit. ‘moved their hearts’ as in Ezra 1:5)
-see: New Covenant, prevenient grace (revisited)
-perhaps necessary to counter 12's fear (w/ app. to parenting)
-in any case, to empower/motivate; MH’s ‘When God has work to do, he will either find or make men fit to do it, and to stir them up to it.’
-14b’s ‘began to work on the house of the Lord’
-but 15's 23 days after 1's message-- why the delay?
-vs. LAB’s app. to quick responses to plan and then act!
-time to harvest figs &/or time for planning, regathering lumber? (w/ app. to trying to make up for lost time and making things worse)

                                                          Haggai 2

2:1-5's 2nd message
-1's date
-again, very specific (1:1)
-during the Feast of Tabernacles (despite poor crops; the same time Solomon dedicated his temple; I Kings 8:2)
-about two months after his last (recorded) sermon (1:1) and about a month after the temple rebuilding resumed (1:15)
-soon afterward, to encourage them in the face of 3's discouraging sentiment
-again, emphasis on encouragement post-rebuke
-MH’s ‘Those that are hearty in the service of God shall receive fresh encouragements from Him to proceed in it, as their case calls for it. Set the wheels a going, and God will oil them.’
-had gotten off to a good start, but now struggling (w/ app. to initial inspiration as nice but insufficient; see: Saul, Solomon; Christ on ‘count the costs’)
-2's message to Z, J, and the people (explicitly; vs. 1:3)
-3's three rhetorical questions to address their discouragement: who remembers the old temple; how does this one look; doesn’t this one seem like ‘nothing’
-knowing the answer, a candid assessment, and a strange way to start
-defeated before they really get started
-apparently, a recurring problem for them (Ezra 3:12, Zech 4:10a)
-as a function of their limited individual roles and seeming unworthiness of their corporate project
-seeing or focusing on rubble, imagining the inferior finished product, thinking about what the temple represents (past deliverance, present worship, and future glory)
-God’s grace but consequences
-with application to…
-reasonable disappointment about having to do what should have been done properly the first time
-under-estimating our work– in light of what we suppose about its value (vs. what others are doing or can do) or aiming for some unobtainable utopia (within marriage or spiritual progress)
-if appointed by God, silly to make comparisons or to question the value of the work (Hab 1:5, Eph 3:20)
-MH’s God wants only our best, but our pride often will not settle for that, seeking to compare our outcomes to others
-focusing on individual effort, short-term, and concrete vs. Kingdom effort, long-term, and abstract
-w/ app. to anybody, but esp. older people, looking back longingly– even if accurately– to the glory days (Eccl 7:10; w/ app. to freedom/fun for married vs. single, kids vs. no kids; w/ app. to early days as a Christian)
à for all of the above, import of a proper perspective; idea that ‘where we focus our eyes will ultimately determine how we live our lives’ (Mt 6:19-21)
–> loss of proper perspective from: improper focus on the past (Zech 3; Lk 9:62, Phil 3:12-14), improper focus on present tangible results (vs. potential for future &/or unseen fruit; see: five loaves and two fishes; Is 49:4!; II Cor 4:16-18)
-4a's threefold command to all of them to ‘be strong’; 4b’s command for them to ‘work’– courage and diligence
-combo to ‘be strong’ and ‘work’ in David’s 2x instructions to Solomon (I Chron 28:10,20; Josh 1:9)
-4c’s motivation: ‘for I am with you’ (1:13)
-repetition of this is important to our walk
-motive (trust) for work is that God is with them (vs. working when God is not with us; or not working when God wants to be with us); see: God’s provision and their participation
-the word for God here is ‘Lord of hosts’ (NASB, KJV); MH’s ‘The presence of God with us, as the Lord of hosts, is enough to silence all our fears and to help us over all the discouragements we may meet with in the way of our duty. The Jews had hosts against them, but they had the Lord of Hosts with them...’
-5a's reminder of His covenant with them, stretching back to their deliverance from Egypt (see: our need to remember God’s promises)
-although they weren’t there, their recent miraculous deliverance from Babylon was a close proxy
-5b’s ‘my Spirit remains among you’—even without Temple or Ark (Zech 4:6; Num 11:16-17,25, Neh 9:20a, Is 63:11,14's Spirit with them after deliverance from Egypt!)
–> 5c’s ‘do not fear’ (vs. 1:12b!)– big/necessary focus on ‘be strong’ and ‘do not fear’ (Josh 1:6-9,18b’s 4x ‘be strong and courageous’; w/ app.)
-supported by good reasons: God’s presence, promises, and Spirit

2:6-9's 2nd message (cont’d)
-6's ‘in a little while’ God would ‘once more shake the heavens and the earth’ (2:21)
-as God did in judging the world (Gen 6-9) and S&G (Gen 18-19)
-as God did in delivering Israel from Egypt (Red Sea) and at Mt. Sinai
-as God had done and would continue to do with earthly kingdoms (Dan 2)
-as God did in the birth and death of Christ (Mt 2:3,16-18's fig.; Mt 27:51-53's lit.)
-as God did in establishing Christ’s kingdom (quoted in Heb 12:26-28!)
-7's God would ‘shake all nations’– causing ‘the desired of all nations’ to come to His house, filling it with glory
-‘shake the nations’
-in apocalyptic literature, always bodes poorly for the powerful and the evil and bodes well for the church (Job 38:12-13)
-w/ app. to contemporary and end-times judgments (former as Persia’s fall to the Greeks in 333; on latter, see: Joel 3:15-16, Mt 24:29-30)
            -‘the desired of all nations’ also trans. ‘they will come with the wealth of all nations’ (see: NIVSB note)
-former as fig. for Christ (Gen 49:10 in alt. NIV; Mal 3:1)
-latter as those who sought and loved God (see: pre-dest.)-- and would give resources for the temple (Is 60:4-13)
-W&Z speculate that Haggai may have meant both meanings!
-‘fill with glory’ can refer to material or divine splendor (see: NIVSB note; Is 60:7,13; Ex 40:34-35, I Kings 8:10-11)
-wrt Christ, differs from (in nature) and exceeds the glory-filled tabernacle of Moses and temple of Solomon
-8's God’s claim on the silver and the gold
-had the people been withholding their resources?
-God would meet the need despite their poverty (Ezra 6:8-12's decree from Darius)
-God’s hand moving through 4's work and 8's resources
-9's promises:
-9a’s the glory of this temple would exceed the former– vs. its physical appearance
-Herod would later expand and spruce up the temple; by the time of Christ, it may have surpassed Solomon’s temple in terms of physical glory (Mk 13:1)
-though maybe less gold, clearly more glory thru Christ (Lk 2:32's Simeon’s ‘glory’ in context of Jesus brought to temple as a baby; Ez 43:1-5)
-9b’s He would grant peace in this temple
-very limited physical peace for Jews
-spiritual peace available, but ultimately fulfilled in Christ (Is 9:6b’s ‘prince of peace’, Eph 2:14's ‘our peace’; Zech 9:9-10, Jn 14:27)
–> both speak to necessity of Christ coming while this temple stood! (as it turns out, pre-70 AD)

2:10-14's 3rd message
-10's date (about two months later)
–> 11’s questions from Haggai to the priests (vs. a direct, prophetic statement)
-recognizing their authority as teachers of the law &/or causing them to convict themselves for their failure to adhere to the Law’s spirit
-12's 1st question: is consecration (clean) contagious?
-no; unclean does not become clean when it has contact with clean (vs. Lev 6:27, Ez 46:20)
-13's 2nd question: is defilement (unclean) contagious?
-yes; clean become unclean when it has contact with unclean (Num 19:13,22)
–> 14's by analogy, same held true for God’s people at that time/place– and thus, most/all they had been ‘doing’ (incl. building) and ‘offering’ was defiled
-holy with—vs. unholy without—a Temple, etc.
-implies they thought that being in the Holy Land, working on a holy place, or going to a holy place (doing holy things, observing temple rituals, etc.)-- made them holy
-w/ app. to thinking that going to church, acting moral, etc.– makes you a Christian!
-w/ app. to impure hearts/motives defiling our work
-but see: bleeding woman touching Christ’s robe, but her faith not her touch or Christ’s robe that healed her (I Pet 3:1-2, I Cor 7:12-16, etc.)
-within ministry, w/ some app. to impact of contact vs. compromise with the world; MH’s ‘The sum of these two rules is that pollution is more easily communicated than sanctification...There are many ways of vice, but only one of virtue, and that a difficult one.’ (Gal 6:1ff)
-perhaps alluding to problems later confronted by Ezra (Ez 9-10)
-note: a clear spiritual application of a ceremonial law (with broader implications for proper OT interpretation of the Law’s spirit)

2:15-19's 3rd message (cont’d)
-15,18b,18c's ‘give careful thought to...’ (revisited; 1:5,7)
-again, focusing on the disobedience and curses of the past (1:6-11)—15,18's post-foundation, pre-rebuild the rest
-16's short grain heaps and shallow wine vats
-19a's no seed stored up; no fruit from vines or trees
-omission: both implicitly withheld by God
-17a's blight, mildew, and hail (Dt 28:22)
-commission: sent by God
–> 17b’s yet they did not turn to Him (Amos 4:9)
–> an implicit warning for them (and us) as well (I Kings 8:37-40)
-vs. 19b’s ‘from this day on, I will bless you’ (Mal 3:7-9,10!)—for them and us
-what kind of blessings (Eph 1:3?)
-unconditional and as if a fresh start; should motivate
-judgment and mercy; sin and grace (1:5 vs. 2:3; Is 40:10-11, Mal 4:1-2)
-would bless them immediately though the temple rebuilding was not complete (see: Lk 15's God as eager to bless us vs. mandatory probation period)
-wants them to see cause and effect vs. thinking it was luck as they had attributed their (mis)fortune

2:20-23's 4th message
-20's date: 2nd message on the same day
-21-23's message for Zerubbabel, the civil leader– an especial need to encourage him (2:2 and why was a prophet necessary?!)?
-21's God would ‘shake the heavens and the earth’ (revisited– 2:6; Zech 14)
-22a's macro: God would ‘overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms’ (revisited; Dan 2)
-22b’s micro: ‘overthrow chariots and their drivers’ (Jud 4:15, Ps 20:7); cause mounted soldiers to fall and be killed by the sword of their brother (Jud 7:22, Ez 38:21, Zech 14:13)
-23's promise to make Zerubbabel (His ‘servant’) into His ‘signet ring’ as His ‘chosen’
-‘servant’ as a terrific complement
-‘chosen’ as wonderfully endearing (see also: “take/make”; Eph 1:4-5, I Pet 2:4; w/ app. to pre-dest.)
-‘signet ring’ illustrates authority and authenticity
-seems to reverse Jer 22:24-27's curse
-alludes to his genealogical and leadership connection to Christ (Mt 1:12-13); and fig. connection to Christ’s non-political reign (see: Zech 3's crowning of Joshua)
-for us, Holy Spirit as that seal (II Cor 1:21-22, Eph 1:13-14)
–> an eschatological ending– rebuilding the temple as a way of preparing for the Messiah and understanding true worship– not merely about reestablishing Jewish cultic worship (Mic 4:1-4)
–> Is 42:1,2-7 to close...

            [1]Perhaps a different time (and a 5th sermon), but unlikely given precision of dating elsewhere and repeated use of ‘the Lord said...’ in same sermons.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home