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From the Prophets to the Return of the Exiles

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From the Prophets to the Return of the Exiles

In Biblical history, what was the exile?

·         Judah defeated in 586 BC by the Babylonians

·         Relocated in a foreign country

Why did the exile occur?

When did the exile end?

·         Persian Empire defeated the Babylonians in 538 BC.

·         Began to allow the Jews to return.

·         The three prophets who ministered to the returning Jews were Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.

·         Our study today focuses on Haggai.

·         50,000 people returned from Babylon to Judah.

·         They settled near Jerusalem.

·         The Books of Ezra and Nehemiah describe the return and early days back in the Promised Land.

When the Jewish people first returned to their land

·         The once fertile lands were ruined.

·         They faced a series of natural disasters

Key verses from Haggai’s first sermon in the summer of 520 BC:
Haggai 1:5 - 6 (NIV)
5Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”


Haggai 1:9 (NIV)
9“You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the LORD Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house.

Haggai 1:14 (NIV)
14So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the LORD Almighty, their God,


Haggai 2:1-3

1On the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: 2“Speak to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people. Ask them, 3‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing?

When did Haggai give his second message?    October of 520 BC - the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, 11 days after the Day of Atonement.

What did the Temple represent to God’s people?

·         The promise of God’s presence.

·         Gave honor to God.

·         A place to worship God.

·         A reminder that God was to be the center of attention.

(Optional – have someone read Jeremiah 5:1-11)

What segment of the returning exiles would remember what the former Temple looked like?

The work on the new Temple had only been going on for a month.  Ezra 3:12 shows a similar reaction.

 

Haggai 2:4-7

4But now be strong, O Zerubbabel,’ declares the LORD. ‘Be strong, O Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the LORD, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the LORD Almighty. 5‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’

6“This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. 7I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the LORD Almighty.

In verse 4, a command is repeated three times.  What is that command?

What other command is given in verse 4?

What promise is offered from the Lord to enable the people to “be strong” and “work”?

Compare Haggai 2:7 with Hebrews 12:26.

What is meant by “the desired of all nations”?

Haggai 2:8-9

 8‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the LORD Almighty. 9‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the LORD Almighty.”

What are some things that come to mind when you think of “God’s glory”, and “God’s peace”.

 

Key words.

·         Exile

·         Remnant

·         Temple

·         Restoration

·         Peace

·         Future Hope

 

One way that God’s grace is experienced is through restoration.  What are some of the things that God restores?

Why do we need the Lord to give us courage to do His work?

(Dividing into groups)

How can we go about putting God first in our families?

How can we go about putting God first in our community?

How can we go about putting God first in our country?

What difference could this make in out world?

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent Word?  What more can He say than to you He hath said, to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?
Optional passages

Jeremiah 5:1-11 (NIV)
1                      “Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem,

       look around and consider,

       search through her squares.

     If you can find but one person

       who deals honestly and seeks the truth,

       I will forgive this city.

2        Although they say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives,’

       still they are swearing falsely.”

3        O LORD, do not your eyes look for truth?

       You struck them, but they felt no pain;

       you crushed them, but they refused correction.

     They made their faces harder than stone

       and refused to repent.

4        I thought, “These are only the poor;

       they are foolish,

     for they do not know the way of the LORD,

       the requirements of their God.

5        So I will go to the leaders

       and speak to them;

     surely they know the way of the LORD,

       the requirements of their God.”

     But with one accord they too had broken off the yoke

       and torn off the bonds.

6        Therefore a lion from the forest will attack them,

       a wolf from the desert will ravage them,

     a leopard will lie in wait near their towns

       to tear to pieces any who venture out,

     for their rebellion is great

       and their backslidings many.

7        “Why should I forgive you?

       Your children have forsaken me

       and sworn by gods that are not gods.

     I supplied all their needs,

       yet they committed adultery

       and thronged to the houses of prostitutes.

8        They are well-fed, lusty stallions,

       each neighing for another man’s wife.

9        Should I not punish them for this?”

       declares the LORD.

     “Should I not avenge myself

       on such a nation as this?

10      “Go through her vineyards and ravage them,

       but do not destroy them completely.

     Strip off her branches,

       for these people do not belong to the LORD.

11      The house of Israel and the house of Judah

       have been utterly unfaithful to me,”

          declares the LORD.


Ezra 3:12 (NIV)
12But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy.

Hebrews 12:25-29

25See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

28Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29for our “God is a consuming fire.”

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