A Case For Environmental Awareness (A Renewed Exhortation To Purity)
January 23, 1994
A Case For Environmental Awareness
(A Renewed Exhortation To Purity)
I. Prayer and Acknowledgments
II. Read Passage, Haggai 2:10-23
A. Message Title Overview
Lessons From The Past, Plans For The Future
The Basement House - Complete What You Start
Little Is Much When God Is In It.
A Case For Environmental Awareness - A Renewed Exhortation to Purity
A great promise of blessing was given in vs. 9 but there is now a renewed need for additional exhortation and hope.
1. Holiness is not transmitted by mere association with the holy.
2. Unholiness is transmitted by association with the unholy.
3. God will carry out his plan for holiness.
(Ultimately, the Messiah alone would be able to make them clean forever.)
A. Vs. 10
3rd of 4 prophetic messages
Given on Dec 18, 520
4 months after 1st message
3 months after work started
2 months after previous message of encouragement
B. Vs. 11-13
1. Like asking the elders of the church for a doctrinal or theological ruling. The question is stated from two directions and the answers are obvious to drive home the point.
a. If you mix clean water with muddy water, does the muddy water become clean? No.
b. If you mix muddy water with clean water, does the clean water become muddy? Yes.
2. The point is crystal clear that God's people can pollute and have polluted themselves because of ungodly associations. Sin is transmitted much more easily than holiness.
a. Unclean things cannot be rendered clean by virtue of their association with the clean. And things that are already clean can become contaminated by the unclean.
b. The people, their deeds and their sacrifices had all become unclean. A sinful man cannot do good works or offer acceptable sacrifice. A righteous man cannot do evil works and offer acceptable sacrifice.
c. The people may have thought they had become holy by being back in the promised land and by association with rebuilding the temple, but God brings them up short by this lesson on how unholy they really are. They needed a spirit of confession, consecration and renewal. They needed God himself. To disobey God in neglecting the temple would violate everything else they would touch.
d. The point is that up to now their sacrifices have been unacceptable due to past defilement and disobedience in temple construction. The process of acceptance has now begun with their obedience to construct the temple but it is about to be tested again.
C. Vs. 14
1. Note the reference to "this" people and nation similar to "these" people in vs 1:2. They have defiled themselves even to the effect of the present sense and God cannot refer to them as "my" people. His presence had left the temple because of the people's sin prior to the Babylonian exile and had not yet returned because the temple was not rebuilt.
a. Ez 10:18 Glory departed.
b. Ez 9:3-6 Note: Glory of God began to depart, angels called to destroy city, those who grieved over sin were protected with mark, judgment began at sanctuary (God's people-1Pet 4:17)
2. How had the people become defiled? Did God have a legitimate concern - past, present, future? The people had an affinity for this.
D. Guilt by association
1. Past Reality
a. Warnings before securing the promised land.
(1) Ex 23:24-26, 32-33 the snare of idol worship
(2) Ex 34:10-16 no compromise with unholy
(3) Lev 18:24-28 sexual defilement
(4) Lev 20:22-24, 26 be holy and set apart
(5) Num 33:50-52, 55-56 drive out inhabitants
(6) Dt 7:25-26 unholy objects set apart for destruction
(7) Dt 28:38-42 curses for disobedience
(8) Josh 23:12-13 unholy alliances
b. Since the return from Babylon
(1st return led by Zerubbabel in 536 to rebuild temple)
(1) Ezra 4:1-2 Samaritans offered to help build temple and make sacrifices
(2) Ezra 4:3 Zerubbabel turned them down
(3) Ezra 4:4-5 Then the surrounding peoples opposed them.
(a) Revealed true motives
(4) Ezra 4:24 The building stopped with foundation
(a) 16 years later Haggai calls for renewed effort.
2. Present Problem
a. Ezra 5:3-17 Tattenai sends letter to Darius to oppose renewed effort at rebuilding temple.
b. Ezra 6:1-12 Darius tells opponents to stop interference and even to help by bringing animals and other goods to the Jews for sacrifice.
c. It is here that Haggai, in today's passage, reminds the priests of the nature of defilement and the people that they have been defiled.
d. The people must continue to give careful thought and not accept pagan gifts for sacrifice.
3. Future Failures: Is the warning justified? Yes.
a. Ezra 6:15 Temple was completed 4 years after the call to rebuild
b. Ezra 6:21 Temple dedicated together with those who separated themselves from their Gentile neighbors.
c. (2nd return led by Ezra in 458 to beautify temple.)
(1) Ezra 9:1-2 Ezra challenges people and priests to confession for having intermarried Gentiles
d. (3rd return led by Nehemiah in 444 to rebuild city walls.)
(1) Ne 13:6-7 Nehemiah completes wall and returns to Artaxerxes, but comes back to throw Tobiah (a Gentile) out from living in the temple.
(2) Ne 13:23-27 Nehemiah rebukes the men and priests who married foreign women in his absence.
E. Vs. 15-18
1. Considering all this, the people are commanded again to "give careful thought" as in 1:5, 7; to think how things were for them economically from 586 when they started and then stopped on the temple.
2. Another dose of careful thought is called for because God puts some mathematics to the past shortages which amount to 50% or more.
3. If the people want abundance and blessing they must not yield to the pressures of the peoples around them to stop building or to allow continued defilement with the unholy.
F. Vs. 19
1. This is Dec. The time for harvest is past. The people are still suffering the shortages due to past sin and disobedience. This is a reminder and a challenge to stay obedient to the cause if they expect a future harvest from this crop.
2. God offers his blessing once again. If the people fail, it won't be God's fault because he offers them everything they need to comply with his commands. They have his blessing. God is an encourager. He is with those who are with him.
3. The sins of the Canaanites had contaminated the Jews presence in the Promised Land in the past. They had now been taken out and put back in again after Babylonian captivity. They dare not allow themselves to be contaminated again. Environmental (spiritual) Awareness.
G. Vs. 20 Future Glory
1. 4th and final prophecy given on the same day as the one we just studied.
2. Leads into the confirmation of future blessing on the "Day of the Lord" when Christ will reign and rule on earth for 1,000 years.
H. Vs. 21-22
1. As in 2:6-7, a great display of God's power will usher in the Kingdom of Christ. Refers to displays of power more mighty than his deliverance of Israel at the Red Sea and describes the plight of the nations fighting against Jerusalem in the last days (Armageddon -Zech 14:13).
2. Heb 12:26-28 refers to a shattering defeat of all heavenly and earthly opposition so severe that no one and nothing remains except God and his sovereign rule. Zech 8:20- 23.
I. Vs 23
1. Zerubbabel, called "my servant", is here representative of Christ. (Zech 3:8-9) He was in the kingly line of David but his grandfather, Jehoiachin, next to last king of Judah, and his great grandfather, Jehoiakim, were cursed by God.
2. The curse was that even if they were signet rings on God's right hand, they would be pulled off and they would possess no descendant upon the throne of David. (Jer 22:30; Jer 22:24; Jer 36:30)
3. There would not be another king on the throne of David until Christ. The royal family and the nation fell into chaos and disintegration because of the evil they did before God.
4. God's word to Zerubbabel through Haggai reversed the signet ring curse he had given to the royal family before the fall into Babylonian captivity.
A. This final prophecy in Haggai's book gave explicit hope in the anticipation of the Messianic Kingdom and revealed how his first three prophecies fit into the eternal perspective. God's plan was to restore the nation and renew their hope. The people are incited to action with this prophecy of place and purpose and ultimate peace.
B. The initial problem addressed by Haggai, however, was not the Messianic Kingdom but how the people were ever going to realize it unless they rose to the challenge of the calling for which they returned to Judah in the first place.
C. The temple was completed in 516 and dedicated. Zech 4:9 Ezra 6:15-16