10: First Things First – Thought Starters
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“‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine, declares the Lord Almighty’” (Haggai 2:8, NIV).

Image © Providence Collection from GoodSalt.com

Image © Providence Collection from GoodSalt.com

[Thought questions for First Things First June 5, 2013]

1. Are we there yet? How did you feel the last time you read the Old Testament from start to finish and came to the small book, Haggai? Was it tempting to page through the few verses of this book to get on to the New Testament? Or did you slow down to linger through these final pages of ancient prophecy for God’s people? Would you be surprised months after a tornado ripped through your town if the churches were the last to be repaired? How do our actions determine our priorities? Or is it the other way around?

2. Prosperity hangs on a promise. Did God promise His people wealth and prosperity if they would follow Him? According to Haggai, God sent a drought as an expression of His exasperation over their persistent disobedience to His will. What impressed Haggai about the temple at that time? When a leader is impressed that priorities need to be re-examined within the church where he or she has responsibilities, how can the example of Haggai encourage that person? Does your church have a careful program for keeping the building and surroundings looking like they belong to a people who care? How do you express your gratitude for this aspect of worship?

3. God’s greatest purpose. Like a resurrection in a cemetery, the sleeping people of Judah rose out of their doldrums and began working to restore the temple. How did that come to be? Did Haggai work a miracle? Would you like to be able to rouse people to return to the work of the Lord like that? What is the only way that could happen? Why did the people obey so quickly? What brought them back to the work God had set for them to do? Is this power to unify and inspire the people of the church still available to our leaders? How?

4. Do not fear! How would you like to lead a church building program when the local economy is in serious trouble? How could the flimsy make-do materials and art pieces for this temple honor God in comparison to the magnificent temple of Solomon? Can you blame the believers for being discouraged when they remembered or knew someone who remembered the glory of the former temple? How could it be that this humble temple would one day out shine the splendor of that place of God? Did that promise give the people hope? Is it possible for you and I to be talented and wealthy in God’s eyes when we give ourselves completely to Him?

5. The Desire of All Nations. When did Jesus shake heaven and earth as predicted in Haggai 2:6-9? How did the coming of Jesus as a baby and a young man affect the humble temple that the people of Haggai’s day had constructed? Do we place enough emphasis on the power and glory of God? Is it easy to lay back and be content with whatever happens to happen from day to day? Or does the promise of the presence of God in our hearts bring us courage to step out and move ahead. What can we learn from Haggai’s experience about how to inspire others to give our energy and funds to God’s cause?

6. Zerubbabel the signet ring. How much credit should we give to Zerubbabel for the success of the temple rebuilding campaign? What did it mean to make him God’s “signet ring”? When was the prophecy of Haggai 2:22-23 fulfilled? What makes you think that most of this grand prediction would be put on hold until the Second Coming of Jesus? Can you imagine sharing your joy when Jesus comes with the joy of people like Zerubbabel and Haggai who were such faithful leaders in the time before Jesus came to earth?

7. Raised up by God. Was it a real revival when Zerubbabel and Haggai were filled with determination and skill to accomplish this great event? How did that happen? Could either of the men have said “No, thanks. Not now.” How much do you long to see Jesus? To be with Him? To talk to Him? And to be friends with the multitudes of people who knew Jesus and gave their hearts to Him? Why isn’t a bricks-and-mortar temple needed in heaven? When will we be able to understand the beauty of being in God’s presence forever?

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10: First Things First – Thought Starters — 4 Comments

  1. The restoration of the temple is a heart matter: Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. 2Thes 2:3,4
    The “temple” has been run down, corrupted, contaminated. The temple object lesson in Haggai is about our hearts and minds needing a correct picture of Christ to replace the lies and distortions of the Evil one.

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    • Amen Suzanne Bars, The main emphasis of God's love message by Haggai is to restore and refocus the minds of His people to the presence of God as their first and foremost priority. God is secondary in their plannings and for this, the presence of the Lord is absence from the temple and their hearts. When Christ is not first in our lives we will experience defeat and destruction that will lead to deeper perplexities and doubts of the pure uncomprehensionable love of God. From the beginning, the temple was initially instructed to Moses by God with His choice of every details according to His standard. There must not be any additions or subractions by man. This is required for the holy presence of God to dwell in the sanctuary and with His people. Any addition or subtraction from God's standard will hinder the presence of God in the temple. The same standard apply to the church and us as individuals. Are we keeping our sanctuaries pure in accordance to God's standard or are we neglecting and lower God's standard? This will determine the presence of God with us or the absence of God in our midst. As an individual, am i living according to God's standard in the music i listen to, the food that i intake, what i watch and the kind of entertainment i engage myself to? All these will reflect the attributes and confirm the presence and the indwelling of Christ in self and in the Church. Is my daily prayer for the help of the Holy Spirit that i may constantly discerning the highest standards of God in my mind so that the indwelling of Christ is abiding in me. We can do all things with Christ who strengthens us. This song comes to mind; Without Him i would be dying, without Him i'd be afraid, without Him i would be drifting, like a Ship without a Sail. Thank you Jesus for your forever presence with us that we now can have hope for Eternal Life.

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