Summary: Christians need a revival of commitment in a day when self-centeredness has taken center stage in a selfish society. Haggai proclaims the need to reflect on our selfish ways and to return to God's sacrificial way.
MINORS’ LESSONS THAT HAVE MAJOR IMPACT II: COMMITMENT - Learned from Haggai
We continue learning from the Minor Prophets some lessons that have a major impact on our lives; there are six essentials we must put into practice if we want to measure up to God’s expectations.
The first essential – humility - we learned from Zephaniah.
Each one of us could be a little humbler; we must humble ourselves in order to get rid of pride so that we might be useful in God’s kingdom.
Jesus emphasized the need for humility: “Whoever humbles himself like this little child is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
James the brother of our Lord said: “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
It takes humility to even accept the second essential which we learn from Haggai – Commitment!
What COMMITMENT means to me: “Do what needs to be done, whenever it needs to be done, for whomever it needs to be done, for as long as it needs to be done.”
Such a concept of commitment is in sharp contrast to the problem presented to Haggai.
The folks in Haggai’s day, as in our day, were giving top priority to whatever needed to be done for themselves!
This is NOT to imply that we should refrain from doing whatever we need to do in order to provide for our basic needs and those of our families. God gives us the ability to earn a living.
It IS to suggest that, if we truly humble ourselves before God, we will give TOP priority to honoring God - not only in our own lives but also as we “do unto others as we would have others do unto us.” As Christians living on this side of the Cross, we honor God by serving others “in Jesus’ Name.”
Haggai suggests that we honor God when we get our priorities right! If we examine ourselves considering God’s Word, then make the changes we need to make, the actions that follow will most likely be pleasing to God. Haggai teaches that we honor God when we:
(1) MEND OUR WAYS AND TEND TO GOD’S TEMPLE - Haggai 1:7-9 . . .
In Old Testament times, nothing was as sacred as the temple - which was the House of the Lord. Listen to the psalmist: “The Lord is IN His holy temple; let all the earth be silent.”
In New Testament times, nothing is more sacred than God’s holy “temple” – and you know what? Each and every child of God is considered to be God’s temple. YOU are a temple of God. Listen to the Apostle Paul’s words about the Christian concept of a temple: (I Corinthians 3:16-17):
“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s spirit lives within you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.”
Luke quotes from a sermon preached by Paul in Athens: “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth - AND does NOT live in temples built by hands.”
In Haggai’s day, the temple was built by hands; and it was built according to God’s instructions; and the temple - tent or building - was associated with the actual PRESENCE of God in the midst of His people.
In fact, God ordered it that way so that His people could gather together to worship Him by offering sacrifices unto Him; this business of offering a sacrifice was God’s way of teaching the SIGNIFICANCE of sacrificial worship; and the significance of it was realized in the SUPREME sacrifice offered by God’s Son on behalf of repentant sinners – so that by faith in Christ lost people might be born again and be like Christ; as born again believers, we become “dwelling places” of the Spirit of God.
“Do you not know that your body is a TEMPLE of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price; therefore, honor God.” (I Corinthians 6:19-20)
Haggai tells us that we honor God when we examine ourselves . . . mend our ways . . . give God first place in our lives.
To honor God was what the temple made with hands was all about in Haggai’s day; and today, the need for putting God first in our lives is just as great as it was back then, if not more so.
We know that God is more interested in building lives that honor and glorify Him than He is in building buildings that glorify man. This is NOT to imply that we don’t need gathering places for Bible study and worship; it IS to suggest that top priority belongs to making the temple - which we ourselves are supposed to be - a HOLY temple so that we honor God.