King James Bible Study – [Mark 8:34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.]
Date: Monday, September 19, 2022
Chapters: THE BOOK OF HAGGAI, PSALMS 137
Study: Called to Serve
Hello My Friend,
This past Saturday, we had several people in my congregation help do a deep clean of the church, there is just something so inviting in any house or building when it smells clean, but when it is God’s house, you can literally feel His presence there. It was exciting to see everyone coming together as one church, which is something incredibly lacking in many of Christ’s churches these days. What is the saying, “Many hands make light work”? That truly is an understatement, and I will tell you this, while one faithful Christian can accomplish quite a bit, imagine the power of a whole congregation working together as one? [Matthew 18:19-20 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.]
Well, I forgot to read Psalm 137 yesterday so I added it to today’s reading, and the phrase, Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs came to mind, which brought me to this passage, [Colossians 3:14-17 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.]
It sure can be hard to find peace in our hearts these days, whether we are dealing with burdens that come with life itself or the burdens that our nations are face. Do you know how we can find that peace? Besides singing those Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, which actually do help as they remind us of why we choose Christ and what we have to look forward to when we will never have to suffer ever again, we also find peace by doing the LORD’s work, [Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.]
I tell you what, sometimes, we are not in any position to do the things that we plan to be doing, the more we try, the more we fail because we really are not prepared for the job. That can cause some deep sorrow, and even bring us to the point that we feel like giving up the battle and waving the white flag in surrender. Well, that is what this Psalm is about, [Psalms 137:1-6 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. 2 We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. 3 For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. 4 How shall we sing the LORD’S song in a strange land? 5 If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. 6 If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.]
[How shall we sing the LORD’S song] Those songs which were appointed by God to be sung only in his service. How shall we sing songs, hymns, and spiritual songs when we are so much in sorrow? We trust that even in the midst of our sorrow our hope is in the LORD and it is also gives us hope. We can rejoice when there is sorrow knowing that there will be an expected end to it, [Jeremiah 29:11-13 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.]
The Book of Haggai contains two chapters, the author is Haggai, and it was written to the Jews who had returned to Jerusalem from Babylon after being in captivity for seventy years, the timeline is approximately 520 BC. The purpose of the book was to inspire Israel to have a new zeal for God and remind the leaders of their responsibility to rebuild the temple of worship. What we are to learn from the book is that God expects to have first place in our lives, [Haggai 1:7-8 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. 8 Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD.]
Yesterday, we read from Ezra and how the Jews were forced to stop the rebuilding the temple, and then God sent Haggai and Zechariah to encourage them to get back to work. Well, this is Haggai’s side of the story, he goes into detail of what was going on during those incredible fourteen years that they left the temple untouched when they were forced to cease from working on it.
[Haggai 1:1-6 In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying, 2 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD’S house should be built. 3 Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying, 4 Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste? 5 Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. 6 Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.]
[earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.] I know exactly how it feels to be working so hard for a paycheck that is gone before the money is even deposited into your account. The more you make the less you have. And this is not about lacking in giving tithes and offerings, this is about putting off what God is wanting us to do, perhaps out of some obligation or fear as in the Jews case. Think about it, where are your priorities? If you are struggling to make ends meet, then perhaps it is time to figure out what God is wanting from you. And He will tell you exactly what He is wanting from you. You see, for those fourteen years, the Jews were tending to rebuilding the city, and since they were not working on the temple, their hard work did not pay off. Now, God, is telling them what they need to do in order start seeing a return on their work.
[Haggai 1:8-9,13–14 Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD. 9 Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house. 13 Then spake Haggai the LORD’S messenger in the LORD’S message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the LORD. 14 And the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the LORD of hosts, their God,]
[and I will take pleasure in it,] This was not about sin, they honestly had great faith in God and wanted to serve Him, this was about their fear. God takes great pleasure in our serving Him, in fact, that is what He uses to bless us with prosperity. And here is the key phrase that we need to remember, faith without works is dead. We can have all the faith we want that God will provide, but we must do our part, if not, He will not, [James 2:17-20 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?]
[and the spirit of all the remnant of the people;] Notice that it was not all of the people, only a remnant of them returned to assist in the reconstruction of the temple. That is what usually happens in most churches, only a handful of people seem to show up to help wherever they are needed. Now, this is the first time that God has spoken to the Jews since their captivity, He reminds them of His covenant with them since they left Egypt. And the blessings they will be receiving for their hard work will be nothing compared to what is to come.
[Haggai 2:3-7,9 Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing? 4 Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts: 5 According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not. 6 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; 7 And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts. 9 The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.]
[and how do ye see it now?] I remember when I started teaching Sunday School fifteen years ago and how different it is from now, it is a lot harder today. The devil is truly working hard to keep today’s youth from getting saved, and that is why I know that God is going to do some great things through these kids. Honestly, we need a little shake up every now and then to not only rethink our strategy, but remind us that after our work here is done, we will have rest, [1 Corinthians 15:57-58 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.]
[it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens,] This is none other than the day in which Jesus would die on the cross and the entire earth be shaken, but the temple as well as the veil that separated God from man was ripped from the top down, [Matthew 27:50-53 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; 52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.]
The time from this prophecy to Christ’s death on the cross was five hundred years proving that to God one year is like a thousand. And think about it, you know how it seems that time flies without you even blinking your eyes, imagine what five hundred years looks like to God. Now, this is actually the first time that God has spoken to the Jews since their captivity, He reminds them of His covenant with them since they left Egypt, but He also reminds them of something else, whether or not they are serious about serving Him. Three months back into the reconstruction of the temple, God notices something, and sent Haggai to the priest with a message.
[Haggai 2:11-15 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying, 12 If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No. 13 Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean. 14 Then answered Haggai, and said, So is this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the LORD; and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean. 15 And now, I pray you, consider from this day and upward, from before a stone was laid upon a stone in the temple of the LORD:]
[ and that which they offer there is unclean.] Do you see what was going on? They were not saved, and working in the temple. If we are not saved, then we are covered in the filth of sin, and nothing we do for God is acknowledged. Jesus, is the one who cleans us up so that our works will be recognized, [Matthew 25:34-35,40-41 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:]
[Consider now from this day and upward,] The great thing about God is that every day is a new day. He always gives us consideration, after all, we are His and He needs us to reach others before Jesus returns. Forget about yesterday, move forward. We mess up, I mess up, you confess your sin, get back up, and you go forward, and then you will see His blessings unfold like never before, [Philippians 3:13-15 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.]
Even if we never see God give us anything here on earth for our good works, we have something much more incredible awaiting us, and that is the day that we spend eternity with Christ. God also reminds the Jews of this, in His oh so, unconventional way, [Haggai 2:21-23 Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth; 22 And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother. 23 In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts.]
[and will make thee as a signet:] [Signet; That which is very highly valued, and carefully kept.] Zerubbabel, is in reference to the Messiah, who is God’s beloved, and carefully kept king, and supreme ruler over His Church. He is indeed the signet on God’s right hand, from which all power given to us is given from Him. In Christ the Gospel is signed, sealed, and delivered through His blood, [2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.]
Today’s Prayer: God, Thank You for the reminder of Your amazing promise to always be with us when we accept Your Son as our Saviour. You have purposed every one of Your people to work for You in some way so that we can bring others to Your Son. As life starts to snuff our zeal, it is easy to set Your work aside in order to try to endure it, and of course, that brings more problems instead of solutions. Lord, Help us to make and keep Your work first place in our lives so that You can show us solutions to our problems. Give us Your power, strength, wisdom, mercy, grace, and guidance to do the work You called us to do, and open our hearts so that we can do it with all our heart. I ask these things in Your name, Jesus. Amen.
God Bless You, I am praying for you,
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