Bible Study

This is a copy of the Sunday School Lessons presented to an adult class each Sunday.

Location: Spartanburg, South Carolina, United States

Retired, Lobbyist in Washington,DC - Management - BS Chemistry and various continuing education courses

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Bible Study - Broken (2) - Objections Overruled - Exocus 3:11-12; 4:10-17 - July 30, 2017

Bible Study – Broken (2) – Objections Overruled – July 30, 2017

This is lesson two (2) in our series entitled “Broken Vessels: How GOD Uses Imperfect People.”

Our focus scripture is Exodus 3:11-12; 4:10-17.

GOD will work through us despite our shortcomings.

Our focus scripture is a classic example of GOD calling the unlikely to HIS service. We know the story of Moses’ mother placing him in a basket and placing him in the Nile River and Pharaoh’s daughter rescuing him and taking him to be raised in the palace of Pharaoh by his own mother.

As an adult, Moses killed an Egyptian and fled to Midian, where he married and was a shepherd for his father-in-law. It was while he was tending the sheep on Mount Horeb/Sinai that GOD manifested Himself to Moses and called Moses into HIS service.

Moses was a Hebrew by birth but he was raised in an Egyptian Palace and educated by the Egyptians. Numbers 12:3 reveals that Moses was meek. Moses did not know GOD therefore GOD had to build the right relationship with Moses.

Some 400 years earlier, Joseph, the son of Jacob was second in command in Egypt. A famine came into the area but before the famine, GOD had given Joseph the ability to interpret dreams. The Pharaoh at that time asked for Joseph to interpret his dream. The interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream was that there would be 7 years of plenty of food and 7 years of famine. Pharaoh believed that Joseph correctly interpreted his dream and put Joseph in charge of the food supply for Egypt.

Famine came to the area and Egypt had enough food to provide to the surrounding area, which resulted in Joseph’s family relocating to Egypt. As you recall, Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, which resulted in Joseph being in Egypt. (Genesis Chapters 37-50) 

In our scripture, time had passed, 400 years, and many different Pharaoh’s had come and gone who did not know Joseph. The Hebrew’s were slaves and in bondage to the Egyptians. They cried out to GOD. GOD heard their cry and came to their rescue. GOD’S intervention was not only a rescue but a physical revelation of GOD Himself to the Egyptians and the Hebrews. GOD demonstrated HIS power over the Egyptian gods. GOD demonstrated HIS presence and power to both the Hebrews and to the Egyptians.

Our scripture begins with Moses tending sheep on Mount Sinai/Mount Horeb. Let’s explore!

Let’s read Exodus 3:1-10: (Background)
The Burning Bush

1 Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.
2 And the angel of the LORD (GOD) appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed.
3 And Moses said, "I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned."
4 When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am."

GOD knows each of us by name. When HE calls, we have a choice. Do we ignore HIS call or do we turn our attention toward HIM? When HE gets our attention, HE speaks to us any way HE chooses, such that HE knows it will get our attention and we will listen. Our part is to respond. GOD’S part is to communicate and reveal.

5 Then he (HE) said, "Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground."

GOD establishes the conditions for approaching HIM. GOD is Holy and as such the presence of GOD makes the place where HE is Holy. Keep that in mind.

When we ask JESUS to forgive us for our sins and for HIM to come into our lives, HE does. Then, we become the sanctuary for HIS presence. Christians become Holy Ground because of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. 

Now, that is awesome and carries a huge responsibility that can only be achieved by allowing the Holy Spirit lead, guide and control our lives.

6 And he (HE) said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

All of these patriarchs had been physically dead for many years, yet GOD said “I AM the GOD of your father, the GOD of Abraham, the GOD of Isaac and the GOD of Jacob” all present tense. GOD is eternal and so is every human. 

When we leave our earth suits, we will be in eternity either eternally with GOD and JESUS in Heaven or separated from them, which is Hell.

7 Then the LORD said, "I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings,

GOD knows the issues each of us face along life’s journey. Notice, the Hebrews cried out to GOD.

8 and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

Even today, GOD is in the business of delivering HIS children from the bondage and slavery to sin through faith in JESUS by HIS shed blood. Our journey away from bondage is not easy. We are faced with that which from a human point-of-view is impossible but with GOD all things are possible. Our part is to trust and to keep moving toward the Promised Land of victory.

9 And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.

The Hebrews cried out to GOD. When we, as humans, have had it with the bondage of sin and we cry out to GOD, HE can deliver us. GOD opens the door but we must walk through the door of faith and trust.  

10 Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt."

When GOD calls, the question is, “How will we respond?”

This is an extraordinary event. Moses had been in the desert tending sheep in Median for about 40 years. Moses was 80 years old when GOD called HIM. How do we know that Moses was 80 years old?

Let’s read Exodus 7:7 - 7 Moses was 80 years old and Aaron 83 when they spoke to Pharaoh. In Acts 7:22, we learn Moses age when he killed an Egyptian - 22 So Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was powerful in his speech and actions.

23 "As he was approaching the age of 40, he decided to visit his brothers, the sons of Israel (slaves in Egypt). (This was while Moses was still in Egypt and the next day after he killed an Egyptian.) If we take this information and add the 40 years Moses lived in Median we get 80 years old when GOD called Moses into HIS service.

Let’s read Exodus 3:11-12:

11 But Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?"

Excuse #1 – “Who am I?” GOD often calls those who least expects to be called by GOD. Why?  GOD wants him or her to be led by HIM and not him or her doing his or her own thing. When GOD calls HE desires to be our strength, planner, guide, equipper and provider.

12 He said, "But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain."

GOD promised Moses that he along with the Israelites would return to that same mountain they were on, which happened. This was GOD’S promise or covenant for success. This did not mean the journey would be easy but it would be successful.

Let’s read Exodus 3:13-15:

13 Then Moses asked God, "If I go to the Israelites and say to them: The God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they ask me, 'What is His name?' what should I tell them?"

Excuse 2: “"If I go to the Israelites and say to them: The God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they ask me, 'What is His name?' what should I tell them?"

14 God replied to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you."

GOD responded to Moses’ questions. I have found during my journey with the LORD that HE answers our questions. Often, HE responds in an instant but at times, when we are capable of understanding HIS response, HE answers.

15 God also said to Moses, "Say this to the Israelites: Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever; this is how I am to be remembered in every generation.

This is as true today as the day GOD revealed it to Moses.

Let’s read Exodus 4:10-12:

10 But Moses said to the LORD, "Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue."

Excuse #3: “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue."
In the original Hebrew language it translates “heavy mouth” and “heavy tongue.”

11 Then the LORD said to him, "Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?

12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak."

GOD’S desire is to teach us Himself. When we get the truth directly from HIM, it is just that, truth. GOD’S plan has always been for those who place their faith and trust in HIM, through faith in JESUS, for GOD to teach, enlighten and empower them through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Remember Christians are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Let’s read Exodus 4:13-17:

13 But he said, "Oh, my Lord, please send someone else."

Moses continued to argue with GOD. Moses felt inadequate to the assignment to which GOD had called him. GOD’S desire was for Moses to trust GOD. 

The same is true today. When GOD calls HIS children to an assignment greater than what they think they can accomplish, that is where GOD’S desires for them to be. Why? It is because HE desires to be in charge and lead them. Our reluctance to trust GOD does not please HIM as we read in our next scripture ---

14 Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses and he said, "Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart.

GOD got angry with Moses. GOD’S choice is always the best choice. GOD’S desire is for us to rely upon HIM. HE will be our tutor. We learn when we trust HIM. GOD knew that this stubborn streak in Moses would cost him entrance to the Promised Land.

Moses got a taste of GOD’S Grace but he did not get out of doing what GOD had called HIM to do.

What do you think about GOD getting angry?

We know that over time Moses became less dependent upon Aaron and became GOD’S intended spokes person. Moses was not perfect and neither are we. We are all sinners saved by the shed blood of JESUS and GOD’S Grace.

GOD had a specific role for Moses as we read on ---

15 You (Moses) shall speak to him (Aaron) and put the words in his (Aaron) mouth, and I will be with your (Moses) mouth and with his (Aaron) mouth and will teach you both what to do.

GOD would speak to Moses and Moses would speak to Aaron. Today, GOD speaks individually and directly to HIS children and HE speaks directly and corporately to and through the pastor of the true church. The pastor speaks GOD’S message to the congregation. The pastor is accountable to GOD for speaking truth.

GOD gifts each Christian to function within that body of believers. 

Discernment is a gift of the Holy Spirit and those who have that gift are to discern the truth of the pastor’s message.  There are many other gift’s of the Spirit which are to be used to minister in the true church.

Is your church a true church? If not, do you desire for it to be a true church? If so, what would a true church look like? The Apostle Paul reveals some aspects for the function of the true church in 1 Corinthians Chapter 12.

16 He (Aaron) shall speak for you (Moses) to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him.

Moses was to be as GOD to Aaron. The message of GOD came to Moses and from Moses to Aaron.

17 And take in your hand this staff, with which you shall do the signs."

GOD confirmed HIS message to Moses with a sign. Moses was to take this staff in his hand. It wasn’t just any staff but the staff Moses had been using to shepherd sheep. His staff was a tool used to assist him as he walked over rocky, rugged terrain, protected him and his sheep from wild animals and used for guiding his sheep. It was a staff GOD would repurpose from the ordinary to the divine. GOD often uses what we have and repurposes it to be used for HIS Glory.

What is our staff today? Is GOD’S word our staff as GOD delivers us from the bondage of sin? Yes! GOD’S Word is our lamp and guide as we escape from the snares of life and our assurance as we face the impossible. Walk with confidence as our LORD guides you from the bondage of sin to HIS Promised Land.

Notice in Exodus 4:27-29, that GOD had already called Aaron: 27 Now the Lord had said to Aaron, "Go and meet Moses in the wilderness." So he went and met him at the mountain of God and kissed him.

28 Moses told Aaron everything the Lord had sent him to say, and about all the signs He had commanded him [to do].

29 Then Moses and Aaron went and assembled all the elders of the Israelites.

Moses was 80 years old. LORD willing, I will turn 80 this year, which helps me to put this study into perspective. We must not let age be a deterrent in our obedient service to our LORD. We must work in GOD’S vineyard as long as there is light and harvest or until HE calls us home. Blessings!!! 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Bible Study - Broken (1) - A Fresh Start - John 18:15-18, 25-27; 21:15-19 - July 23, 2017

Bible Study – Broken (1) – A Fresh Start – July 23, 2017

This is lesson one (1) in our series entitled “Broken Vessels: How GOD Uses Imperfect People.”

Our focus scripture is John 18:15-18, 25-27; 21:15-19.

We fall; JESUS restores.

All Christians are sinners saved by GOD’S grace.

The Bible is clear as we read in:

Romans 3:10: 10 as it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one; (No human can be good enough or obedient enough to become righteous before GOD through his or her effort. That is why all humans need to place their faith in JESUS.”)

Romans 9:21 - 21 Or has the potter no right over His clay, to make from the same lump one piece of pottery for honor and another for dishonor?

2 Corinthians 4:7 - 7 Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us.

All humans are vessels of clay and GOD has placed the treasure of faith in HIS only Son, JESUS, in all to represent HIM to the world.

Do you recall 1 Corinthians 3:16 - 16 Don't you know that you are God's sanctuary and that the Spirit of God lives in you?

Christians sin and when we do, we are to confess, repent, and GOD cleanses and restores as we read in 1 John 1:9 - 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

GOD has placed the Holy Spirit in every Christian, a vessel of clay (our earth suit/human body), to represent HIM to the world and those in need of salvation.

First, the indwelling Holy Spirit is every Christian’s assurance and guarantee as we read in 2 Corinthians 1:21-22:

21 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God,
22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

And in 2 Corinthians 5:5:
5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

And in Ephesians 1:13-14:
13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

How do Christians know they are GOD’S children consider Romans 8:16:
16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

WOW! GOD loves us. How do we know that? JESUS, GOD’S only SON gave HIS life just for you and for me.

There are times when we may think GOD has abandoned us but HE promised that HE will never leave us or forsake us, even when we sin.

Let’s consider the Apostle Peter. Often, we think we have it all figured out and when our thoughts don’t match reality, we become discouraged. Let’s look through the eyes and mind of Peter when JESUS was arrested and treated harshly.

Peter was convinced that JESUS was the promised Messiah and that HE was truly GOD’S Son with all the rights, privileges and power of GOD. Peter thought that JESUS would be an earthly king. Often, GOD has to crush our fantasies in order to reveal truth. Let’s explore!

JESUS had been arrested in the garden. Peter was ready and willing to fight and die for JESUS. He proved this when he cut off the ear of the priest’s servant, Malchus, as recorded in John 18:10-11:

10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus.

11 So Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?"

JESUS instructed Peter to put his sword back into its sheath. Peter, likely thought, “What? I thought YOU were ready to establish your kingdom upon earth!” Did disappointment in JESUS begin to consume Peter? Did Peter think, “JESUS must have a plan in mind, so I will stick close to HIM because I am ready to fight for HIM.” Let’s follow along with Peter, the other disciple (who is John), and JESUS.

Let’s read John 18:15-18, 25-27:

John 18:15-18:
Peter Denies Jesus

15 Meanwhile Simon Peter was following Jesus, as was another disciple. That disciple was an acquaintance of the high priest; so he went with Jesus into the high priest's courtyard.

The other disciple is generally considered to be the Apostle John, who was acquainted with the high priest. We are not sure how John was acquainted with the high priest but he was.

16 But Peter remained standing outside by the door. So the other disciple, the one known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the girl who was the doorkeeper and brought Peter in.

The Apostle Peter was temporally kept at bay until the Apostle John vouched for him.

17 Then the slave girl who was the doorkeeper said to Peter, "You aren't one of this man's disciples too, are you?" "I am not!" he said.

First denial.

Often a negative question results in a negative reply as it does in this instance. We do not know Peter’s rationale for his reply but he wanted to stay close to JESUS.

18 Now the slaves and the temple police had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold. They were standing there warming themselves, and Peter was standing with them, warming himself.

A charcoal fire produces heat without large flames and burning embers flying into the air. Such a fire results in those trying to warm themselves clustering together.

John 18:25-27:
Peter Denies Jesus Twice More

25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said to him, "You aren't one of His disciples too, are you?" He denied it and said, "I am not!"

Second denial.

26 One of the high priest's slaves, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said, "Didn't I see you with Him in the garden?"

27 Peter then denied it again. Immediately a rooster crowed.

Third denial and the rooster crowed.

The rooster crowing is one thing but what penetrated the heart of Peter? 

Let’s read Luke 22:61-62:

61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times."

62 So Peter went out and wept bitterly.

Peter was brokenhearted. Did Peter remember the words of JESUS in Luke 22:31-34?

31 And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.
32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren."
33 But he said to Him, "Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death."
34 Then He said, "I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me."

JESUS was crucified, buried, resurrected and remained upon earth for 40 days. 

JESUS’ passion was complete but HE had not ascended into Heaven. Let’s read our second set of scripture.

Peter was brokenhearted over denying that HE knew JESUS. JESUS knew Peter’s heart and Peter’s potential; just as JESUS knows our hearts and our potential.

JESUS met with all HIS disciples except Judas, who had killed himself. JESUS had prepared breakfast for them. After they had eaten, JESUS needed for Peter to face the issue of him denying JESUS the night of HIS trial. JESUS wanted HIS disciples to put all of the events of HIS passion into perspective because GOD had kept matters hidden until the exact moment, as recorded in 1 Corinthians 2:7-8:

7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,
8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

Let’s read John 21:15-19:
Jesus' Threefold Restoration of Peter

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love (agape – deep, self-giving love) Me more than these?”“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know (oida - perceive) that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

When JESUS and HIS disciples had finished breakfast, JESUS spoke to Peter.

“These” were likely boats, fishing nets, etc. if “these” is considered a neuter gender pronoun. However, if “these” is considered masculine gender pronoun, then “these” could have referred to the other disciples who were present.

After Peter’s response, JESUS’ response acknowledged the restoration and confidence HE had in Peter to minister to the young (lambs) who are seeking salvation. Those very precious to HIM and GOD, HIS Father.

16 A second time He asked him, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" "Yes, Lord," he said to Him, "You know that I love You." "Shepherd My sheep," He told him.

JESUS called him “Simon” taking him back to the time when they first met and JESUS gave Peter the name of “rock.”  Again, JESUS asked Peter “Simon, son of John, do you love ME with deep devotion and with a love that demands nothing in exchange, which is agape or spelled agapao.

Again, JESUS encouraged Peter, after his response, to minister to all who are seeking truth. To shepherd is to guide and watch over. He was to keep a watchful eye over those who know the truth to keep them from wandering and following false doctrines.

17 He asked him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time, "Do you love Me?" He said, "Lord, You know everything! You know that I love You." "Feed My sheep," Jesus said.

The first “know” is the Greek word “oida” which means “perceived knowledge” and the second “know” is “ginosho” which means “observed or factual knowledge.” The third time JESUS posed the question to Peter; JESUS asked him “Peter, do you love (phileo) ME tenderly as a friend?” Peter’s response was “LORD, you know from past experience that I love YOU tenderly like a best friend because I was willing to fight for YOU. I stuck with YOU when the others abandoned YOU, except John.”

And for the third time, after Peter’s confession of loving JESUS tenderly as a friend, JESUS instructed him to “feed” or “minister to” those who seek truth and desire a relationship with GOD through faith in JESUS.

Peter felt unworthy to minister after his denial of JESUS but JESUS assured him that he was now ready to obediently serve. 

Often, after the darkest times in our lives, when we see our humanness and we have failed Spiritually or physically, we are ready to serve while keeping a close eye upon ourselves. We realize that we are vulnerable and we may have false notions about Spiritual matters. We may have to stump our toes before we discover that we are Spiritually or physically vulnerable. It hurts but if we learn and repent, then we are ready to obediently serve and go to the next level of obedient service.  

18 "I assure you: When you were young, you would tie your belt and walk wherever you wanted. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will tie you and carry you where you don't want to go."

JESUS encouraged Peter with these words. Peter would go on to obediently serve HIM into his golden years.

19 He said this to signify by what kind of death he would glorify God. After saying this, He told him, "Follow Me!"

JESUS ended HIS discussion with Peter with the command “Follow ME.”

JESUS is not interested in condemning but in getting us to face the issues in our lives that prevent us from having an intimate, personal, loving relationship with HIM. Christians must obediently “follow HIM” in order to really get to know (through experience) HIM and not to just know (perception, notions) about HIM. We will stumble but JESUS leads us to learn from our stumbles and urges us to repent and keep on keeping on.  

JESUS is in the business of forgiveness and restoration, when we ask HIM. 

JESUS knows our hearts and what we are capable of doing when we commit our lives to obedient service. Why not ask HIM right now to take you as you are and to mold you into HIS plans and purpose for your life.

We must deal with the issues that block our obedient service to our LORD. Lay them onto life’s table and ask JESUS to sort them out for you.

JESUS, through the indwelling Holy Spirit, may ask us questions to get us to face issues that hinder us from effective, obedient service.

Is there something in your life that keeps you from obediently serving the LORD JESUS? If so, confess it and ask JESUS to forgive you and to restore your relationship with HIM and to fellowship with you.

We have but one life to live. What is in the past is just that, in the past. We live in the present and we take a step, we step toward the future and eternity. Only what we obediently do for JESUS will last.

There may be someone who has had issues with someone who has died before he or she got the matter settled. Write a note to that person expressing your desire to settle the matter. Then burn it. Consider that matter closed and move on.

Here I am LORD as I am, take my life and make of it what pleases YOU!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Bible Study - Special (1) - First Things First - Haggai 1-13 - July 16, 2017

Bible Study – Special (1) – First Things First – July 16, 2017

This is a special focus lesson.

Our scripture is Haggai 1:2-13.

Always put GOD first.

When we prosper, it is often difficult for us to see the need for us to depend upon the LORD. Those who know HIM must always keep HIM in the forefront of their lives.

GOD reveals the heart of the people through the mouth of HIS Prophet Haggai.

The Jews had returned to Judea after being exiled to Babylon for about 70 years. The Persian leader Cyrus the Great captured Babylon and allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem to restore the temple. During the restoration of the temple they encountered opposition.

Darius became King of Persia and ended the opposition which allowed the Jews to continue their restoration effort to the temple. However, their resolve to restore the temple waned. Why?

GOD called the Prophet Haggai to HIS service to speak HIS words to the Jews. GOD through Haggai challenged the people to move from being self-centered to GOD-centered. The temple in Jerusalem was a visible symbol of GOD’S presence among HIS chosen, as well as, too many others but the temple was in shambles. This reflected the attitude of the Jews toward GOD.

This attitude reflects a vital fact in the lives of some Christians. As recorded in GOD’S Word in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: (NKJV)

19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?
20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.

Whereas the physical temple represented the presence of GOD before JESUS’ passion, now, all who have been born-again, through faith in JESUS, represent the presence of GOD to others. Christians bear a responsibility to those with whom they encounter in their lives. Christians are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

GOD spoke through the Prophet Haggai. Today, GOD speaks through the indwelling Holy Spirit through pastors, teachers, evangelists and the list goes on. Often, you will hear a common theme being preached among those who preach GOD’S Word.

Our focus scripture begins with the second year of the rule of King Darius. 

Let’s explore!

Let’s read Haggai 1:1-8:

1 In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the Lord came through Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, the governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest:

2 "The Lord of Hosts says this: These people say: The time has not come for the house of the Lord to be rebuilt."

GOD refers to the Jews as “these people” and not HIS people. The Jews were doing their own thing and GOD was not an integral part of their lives. GOD’S love for HIS chosen compelled HIM to get HIS chosen’s attention and give them an opportunity to repent and refocus their lives according to HIS plan and purpose.

This is so true in our lives today. It is easy for us, as Christians, to lose focus and get caught up in doing our own activity and put GOD on the back shelf of our lives. When we do, GOD has to get our attention. All of HIS children are precious to HIM and HE seeks for each of us to continue building our relationship with HIM, obediently follow HIM and fellowship with HIM on a daily basis.

3 The word of the Lord came through Haggai the prophet:

GOD sent HIS Word through the Prophet Haggai. Today, GOD sends HIS word through the indwelling Holy Spirit and through many different ways to get our attention – preachers, teachers, nature, circumstances and the list goes on.

Now, for GOD’S message to the people through the Prophet Haggai --  

4 "Is it a time for you yourselves to live in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?"

GOD put HIS finger on a very vital point for the Jews to ponder --

5 Now, the Lord of Hosts says this: "Think carefully about your ways:

6 You have planted much but harvested little. You eat but never have enough to be satisfied. You drink but never have enough to become drunk. You put on clothes but never have enough to get warm. The wage earner [puts his] wages into a bag with a hole in it."

7 The Lord of Hosts says this: "Think carefully about your ways.

GOD challenges the Jews to ponder HIS message to them. Are they truly happy and satisfied with the bounty GOD has provided? Or is there something missing? They had plenty but are they satisfied or is something missing? They have plenty of physical food so why are they not satisfied. What was missing?

GOD was prompting them to come to the obvious conclusion that the missing ingredient in their lives was Spiritual. They had gotten caught up in their bounty and neglected their relationship with GOD.

This is easy for all of us to do. We get caught up in doing our own thing and neglect what GOD would have us to focus upon.

Through the Prophet Haggai, GOD has a plan to help the Jews to refocus their attention on that which was vital to help them rekindle their Spiritual lives.  

8 Go up into the hills, bring down lumber, and build the house. Then I will be pleased with it and be glorified," says the Lord.

The temple represented the presence of GOD to the Jews and others who knew that they worshipped Yahweh.

We, as Christians, have to go to the mountain, so-to-speak, to rekindle our relationship with our LORD when we have grown Spiritually cold. GOD’S desire is for all of HIS children to come and drink the living water to quench our Spiritual thirst and to rekindle the Spiritual fire that once burned within our hearts. We must take the action GOD places within our hearts.

The need for Spiritual revitalization happens in many of our lives as we journey through life. When we do, the key is that we take action. Confess it to the LORD and ask HIM to reveal to us what we need to do to rekindle our zeal to obediently serve HIM.

The Prophet continued to deliver GOD’S message ---

Let’s read Haggai 1:9-11:

9 "You expected much, but then it amounted to little. When you brought [the harvest] to your house, I ruined it. Why?" [This is] the declaration of the Lord of Hosts. "Because My house still lies in ruins, while each of you is busy with his own house.

Setting priorities is important but whose priorities?

The Jews were looking out for themselves first. They brought in much which turned out not to be much because it ruined.

When the Israelites were in the wilderness, GOD instructed them to harvest the amount of manna they needed to get them through that day and double the amount to get them through the Sabbath. If they harvested more manna than they needed, it spoiled.

10 So on your account, the skies have withheld the dew and the land its crops.

Dew is vital for some crops to yield. Dew was also important to feeding the Israelites when they were in the wilderness as we read in Numbers 11:9:

9 When the dew fell on the camp at night, the manna would fall with it.
Dew was vital to the delivery of physical food to sustain the lives of the Israelites.

In Exodus Chapter 16, we can read the instructions GOD gave to the Israelites through Moses regarding manna.

11 I have summoned a drought on the fields and the hills, on the grain, new wine, olive oil, and whatever the ground yields, on the people and animals, and on all that your hands produce."

All humans depend upon the grace of GOD to sustain our lives physically and Spiritually. Also, the lives of animals depend upon our relationship to our LORD.

The People's Response

When GOD speaks, how are we to respond? Some are still rebellious and others are obedient. How did the Israelites respond?

Let’s read Haggai 1:12-13:

12 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, the high priest Joshua son of Jehozadak, and the entire remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the words of the prophet Haggai, because the Lord their God had sent him. So the people feared the Lord.

The Israelites believed GOD’S message and honored HIM by being obedient. How does GOD respond to obedience?

13 Haggai, the Lord's messenger, delivered the Lord's message to the people, "I am with you"-the Lord's declaration.

GOD reassured the Israelites that HE was with them. Relationship had been restored. GOD responded.

Have you grown either cold or self-serving and put the LORD on the back burner of your life? If so, HE issues a call for you to evaluate your life. Are you gathering so you can have more physical things or is your obedience and relationship to the LORD more important than physical things?

All of us like things but why does the LORD allow us to have the ability to accumulate things? It is a test. How will we use our resources? Seek HIS guidance!

The Bible is very clear as written in Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 

Blessings !!!