Haggai 1:1-2:23 ~ Revelation 11:1-19 ~ Psalm 139:1-24 ~ Proverbs 30:15-16
Today is December 20th. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian and it’s a pleasure to be here with you as we’re kind of celebrating and moving through Christmas week. It’s hard to believe but I don’t even want to get into that. I’ve been saying that at the beginning of every month this year. It’s been a really interesting year that I’m sure we’ll get a chance to talk about before it’s over. But right now, in all of the craziness that Christmas week can bring, we have this oasis that has been given to us, this global campfire that burns and burns and burns and we all come in out of the cold and warm ourselves and have time together and have time with God in his word. So let’s move to that.
We’ve been moving at a fast pace through the minor prophets and we’re going to kind of continue with that and read another of the minor prophets in their entirety and then tomorrow we’ll kind of begin to slow things down and pace ourselves toward the end of the year.
Introduction of a New Book (Old Testament)
So we’ve come to the book of Haggai. Judah was carried away into exile by the Babylonians and it was terrible. We’ve gone through the whole story. It was a terrible time of great sorrow, perhaps the lowest moment for the children of Israel in all of the Bible. This is about 540 BC. Cyrus, king of Persia, invaded and then conquered Babylon and in 538, a couple years later, he issued a decree allowing native Israelites to return to their homeland and rebuild their temple and worship their God and rebuild their culture. This was obviously a day they had been waiting for, obviously a great day of liberation for God’s people. The book of Haggai comes about 18 years into that process.
It is a snapshot that is immensely relevant to us today because it takes a hard look at motivations. Through the prophetic words of Haggai, God challenges his people about what matters most to them and God also offers hopeful promises to those who will take courage, even though they have grown weary because of the realization that Jerusalem and the temple, they may never be able to rebuild it to the splendor that Solomon had built it. Haggai invites us all to turn the spotlight on ourselves and see whether it is God’s work or our own satisfaction that we hold highest in our lives and invites us to man up or woman up in the face of discouragement knowing that God is supremely faithful and sovereign. Then, once the light of truth comes crashing into our lives, it invites us to reframe everything, to repent, to live pure lives and it shows us that we can live courageously for God building his kingdom because he is always with us, ever present regardless of circumstance. We are secure and as we are faithful to God, he is unquestionably faithful to us.
So we’ll dive in and read the entire book of Haggai today, chapter 1 verse 1 through 2:23.
There is so much richness in the scriptures today, I don’t even know exactly where to begin. We do this whole series on Haggai, but it kind of speaks for itself and if you’ll go back and review it yourself and apply it to your life, it can be an incredibly powerful thing.
Doesn’t some of this ring familiar?
Think carefully about your ways. You’ve 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.
It’s fascinating because this is millennia ago and yet these issues are still among and within us now. We feel like we’re spinning our wheels in some areas. It can be the physical areas of finances and health and that kind of stuff. It can be the inner life that we live, the things that we are trying to set aright and do correctly and walk with God in. It can feel this way. In Haggai God is saying ‘hold on, hold on. Stop what you’re doing and think carefully about your ways and then go and get back to work on what I told you to do because you are building other things and I asked you to build the temple. You’ve gotten discouraged because some of you saw what it looked like and you know that Jerusalem is destroyed and there is just not enough manpower or centuries to put it all back together. But I didn’t ask you to do that. I just asked you to build it. So consider carefully your ways because I am with you. I am here and I will protect you.’ It is so beautiful and that is just scratching the surface.
And then we get into the psalm today. It is a popular psalm but it is reiterating what God was saying to the people who had returned, the exiles who had come back and in particular to the leaders, Zerubbabel and Joshua the high priest, but David ends up saying ‘where is it that I can possibly go that you are not? I can run wherever I run and you will be there. I cannot escape your spirit.’ That is also so beautifully comforting. But it also invites us to go back to Haggai and carefully examine our ways because sometimes we’re trying to escape God’s spirit. We want to be our own sovereign. We want to make our own choices and build our own things when we were meant to collaborate with the Spirit of God. There is no other way to live. I mean, there is no other way for a human being to live. This is how we were made. This is how it was in the beginning. This is how we are designed and all we have to do is look around and see the effects of millennia of horror to understand that it doesn’t work without God. It doesn’t work. We’ve made all of this and we’re going nowhere. We’re spinning our wheels as a species when we were called to something higher.
So you are encouraged to go back through Psalm 139 and the book of Haggai today and carve out some space to let God speak because he is speaking. I know it is busy. I know that it is a little crazy out there. Consider carefully your ways. What is most important to you? That speaks for itself.
Father, we welcome you into what you have spoken through your word today. We need this. It is so comforting. It describes the reality we were intended to have, but it also shows us the reality we’re in and the one we’re creating for ourselves and you’ve invited us to think about it. You’ve invited us to consider deeply what is really going on here. So we invite you into all that. There is nowhere we can go that you are not. There is no way you would abandon us, but in thought, word and deed we have abandoned you in ways. Show those to us, Holy Spirit. Show those ways to us, that we’ve been building other things that are going nowhere. Come Jesus, we pray. In your mighty name, amen.
Www.DailyAudioBible.com is home base. It is the website and since we’re a virtual community, the website is our home, our landing place. So it is our virtual home for all of us and it is where you stay connected and find out what is going on around here so be sure to stay connected there and find out what is up.
We’ve been talking about the More Gathering for Women. We have advance pricing right now so that it can be taken advantage of for the holiday season. If you’re still kind of looking for that perfect thing that is unique and different and maybe unexpected, yeah, this is more than a trip. It is that. It is some travel. It is that, but it is so much more than that. You can find out all about it at www.DailyAudioBible.com. You’ll find the More Gathering in the Initiatives or the Events section. It is hard to miss if you’re just scrolling, so check that out.
Of course, if you want to partner with the Daily Audio Bible as we’re ending the year, if this has been a year and you feel like Daily Audio Bible and the community have been life-giving to you, then thank you for being life-giving so that it can be life-giving next year as well. Thank you for your partnership. There is a link. It is on the home page of www.DailyAudioBible.com. It can also be found in the app if you push the More button. Then, of course, the mailing address is P.O. Box 1996, Spring Hill, TN 37174.
And, as always, if you have a prayer request or comment, this is a community and we love each other well. (877) 942-4253 is the number to dial.
And that’s it for today. I’m Brian. I love you and I will be here waiting for you tomorrow.
Community Prayer Requests and Praise Reports
Hi, this is Chad from Illinois, speaking directly to Jimmy from Georgia who called in just a few days ago about having marital problems. Jimmy, I just wanted you to know that I’m praying for you. I just want to provide a story of hope for you. A couple years ago my wife had an affair on me, stepped out with another man, and it resulted in a pregnancy. She lived with me for the entire pregnancy until she gave birth and then we separated for a few short months until I could __________ my heart. A lot of prayer happened during that time for me and my wife and Zion, the little one, as well. Come to find out, the Lord changed my heart and really turned things around in my mind. I was able to forgive her act and realize that I had my own shortcomings that I didn’t bring to the marriage like I should have. And today we have 9-month-old baby boy by the name of Zion. I’m so thankful to God that he changed my heart and was able to keep our marriage together and today we’re going very strong and united and better than we ever have been. And I just wanted to share that with you, Jimmy. I don’t know your situation and I don’t know the problems that exist, but I know that my marital problems were very bad and yet the Lord provided strength through that and we came out of the other side and we thank God for that. I just wanted to share that with you. God bless you, Jimmy, and thank you, Brian, for this wonderful outreach ministry that you provide to all of us. Have a great day.
Hi, this is Michelle from Los Angeles. I don’t call in very often. I’ve been with Daily Audio Bible for about 9 years, but I just want to say to Byron who called in today, Byron from Florida, when you kept saying ‘God loves you,’ and you said it over and over and over, I was all of a sudden overwhelmed with just tears running down because apparently I needed to hear that as well. And you were talking to Jordan I think. You were calling for him, but it was just so powerful how you kept repeating it over and over. I think a lot of us sometimes forget that, even in our worst day and our good days and how much he loves us and he brought his son into this world. And I want to thank all you prayer warriors. I do try to listen every day and I just hear everybody’s prayers and I pray over them. I don’t call in often, like I said, but I’m close. I hear your prayers. I see you prayer warriors out there. God bless you guys for just being so on top of it. Love you, Brian. Thank you for a great job, for all of you. Okay, have a really great day. Bye. Merry Christmas.
Hi Daily Audio Bible family. This is Tamberly J. I am calling specifically for James’ friend, or James, the teacher in LA, his friend or student, Abbie, who was in the car accident and got hit by shrapnel and it went into her brain and she is in a brain surgery. James, it struck me that she was thankful that if she went to heaven or if she woke from this, that she would say she was glad it was her and not somebody that wasn’t saved, and that just really touched my heart. I am in wholehearted agreement with you that these are kingdom people and so Lord, my prayer is that you would heal, Abbie, Father. That you will give her the desires of her heart and that those around her come to know you as their personal Savior and King. Father, that they would be led to have an attitude and be inspired by Abbie and her walk with you, Father. Father, please don’t take her now. Please let her live out according to your glory, bringing many, many, many people to you. In your Son’s name I pray, amen.
Hi, my name is Max and I’m calling from Indiana. Just need some prayer. This holiday season has been particularly difficult. Just feeling a lot of aloneness, a lot of just abandonment, rejection. I went through a divorce a couple years ago and so just having to do all that split, the kids back and forth and it is hard on them, and just the whole idea that we’re supposed to be happy during the happiest time of year, but the fact is that it’s not always happy because there are things that we all struggle with. So just appreciate your prayers. I pray that I can have some peace and joy during this holiday season and that my kids can have a good Christmas as well. Just thankful for you, Brian, and all you’re doing here with the Daily Audio Bible. It’s kind of like a friend that I can lean on at any time and I really do appreciate it.
Hi, this is Bart in Kentucky. Byron out in Florida, you prayed. It was played on the 16th. You prayed for Jordan and I want to thank you for that prayer. It was to Jordan. It was excellent. But it was for all of us. So for those of you listening, if you haven’t listened to the prayers after the podcast and commentary on the 16th, please go back and listen to it again, the prayer.