Haggai 1:1-19, Revelations 11:1-19, Psalms 139:1-24, Proverbs 30:15-16
Today is the 20th day of December. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian. It is great to be here with you in this middle of Christmas week. So, it’s good to be taking the next step forward toward Christmas, but it’s also good to be here together as a community taking the next step forward through the Scriptures. And, in the Old Testament, we have one more book that we will read in one day. And this will be the last time we read a book in a single day for this year. And this is the book of Haggai. So, let’s get our bearings as we move into this last book that will read in one day.
Israel was carried away in exile by the Babylonians, which we looked at extensively as we went through that territory in the Old Testament earlier. It was a terrible time for them, great sorrow, perhaps the lowest moment for the children of Israel in all of the Bible. About 540 BC, Cyrus, the king of Persia, then invaded and conquered Babylon. And in 538 BC or thereabouts, a couple of 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 great day of liberation for God’s people. And the book of Haggai comes about 18 years into that process. So, they’re set free, they’re able to go home, they’re able to rebuild, and now we’re 18 years later. And it’s a snapshot that’s immensely relevant to us today because it takes a hard look at motivations. And 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’ve grown weary because of the realization that Jerusalem and the Temple, for all of their building, it may never be rebuilt to the splendor that Solomon had built it. And Haggai invites us all to turn the spotlight on ourselves and see whether it’s God’s work or our own satisfaction that we hold highest in our lives. And it invites us to put on our big boy pants or our big girl pants in the face of discouragement, knowing that God is supremely faithful and sovereign. Once the light of truth comes crashing into our lives it invites us to repent and live pure lives and it shows us that we can live courageously for God, building his kingdom because He’s always with us. He is ever present, regardless of circumstance. Circumstance has nothing to do with His presence. We are secure. And as we’re faithful to God, He is faithful to us. And, so, we begin. Haggai chapter 1 verse 1 through 2 verse 23. And we’re reading from the Names of God Bible this week.
Okay. So, we need to talk about the book of Haggai for a second because we only have one day with his book and there’s so much for us to consider. This parallels our lives in so many ways. So, what we’ve got going on here is that the children of Israel had been taken into exile. And we read through all of this in great detail, all the warnings and prophecies coming up to it and then the happening of it. And there were two exiles. Right? So, we had the splitting of the kingdoms immediately following Solomon’s reign - the northern and the southern kingdom. The northern kingdom was carried into exile by the Assyrians and the southern kingdom was carried into exile and conquest by the Babylonians. And that was not a good time for any of them. The northern tribes, the 10 tribes of the north, disappeared and the remaining tribes carried into Babylon, well, they were Babylonian exiles. But then Babylon was conquered by the Persians and the Hebrews were allowed to leave exile and return to their homeland and try to reestablish themselves and their worship. So, I mean, what joy in that. And we read of what joy in that, that this could happen, but it was problematic. There were all kinds of issues. And we read a lot about that when reading through Ezra and Nehemiah. And now we’re 18 years into this thing and people are spending their time and their focus and their energy on building their life while the temple remains incomplete. And they’re experiencing hardship in drought and in lack. So, they’re working so hard to survive and all of their energy is being put into their own well-being and their own lives while the temple remains incomplete. So, basically, the people have gone through a long stretch, over 100 year stretch, well over 100 year stretch, of this kind of devastation in the northern and southern kingdoms. And then they’re liberated. Their prayers are answered. God lets them go back home. God lets them start over. And what they start over on is what’s going to make them the most fulfilled, they think. Their focus has moved from rebuilding the temple and the walls to their own life. And the parallels to our own life just become immediately apparent. We go through our own seasons that feel like exile. We’re constantly in lockstep with God praying for deliverance. Then it comes and what do we do? Usually, we, briefly, are very, very grateful and continue on in that blessing, but things start going pretty good and we start focusing on our own lives, forgetting that we were liberated for a reason and there is unfinished work, unfinished inside ourselves and unfinished in the world. But we’re so busy and so overcommitted to our own lives that we forget all about it. We forget all about the kingdom that’s happening in and among us and focus solely on ourselves. We forget that we are the temple and we ignore what’s going on inside of us because we’re too busy trying to order our exterior world and it leads us back into drought and lack. And then we’re working so very, very hard to maintain the status quo that all we’re doing is surviving. In the story told in the book of Haggai, the people that lost their center and we see where it led them to. We also see that as they regained their equilibrium the promises of restoration abound. So, we are ultimately invited to consider where we have truly placed our faith, where our hope truly lies.
Father, we invite You into those contemplations, because the truth is that we find ourselves in this book. This looks more like us more than we would care to admit. And we see very clearly that when You are no longer the object of our devotion and affection, we’re leading ourselves into drought and lack and confusion. And, so, we turn our heart, our devotion, our affection upon You. Right now, we reach to You like children and invite Your Holy Spirit to show us the ways that we’re doing this. Come, Holy Spirit. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
dailyaudiobible.com is the website. It’s home base. It’s where you find out what’s going on around here. And obviously we’re in Christmas week. I mean, I guess that’s not technically true, because Christmas is technically next week, but we’re sort of in the countdown for the final days and during Christmas week and have had some announcements to make.
So, China came on yesterday and we announced Daily Audio Bible Chronological, that we’re so excited about. That will begin on January 1st. China is about to finish her ninth year, seven days a week reading the Bible out loud. She began with Daily Audio Bible Kids and then moved to Daily Audio Bible Teen and is now not a teen and is moving into Daily Audio Bible Chronological, where a community will form around the chronological reading of the Bible. And I mentioned that that will be in the new app and the new web player. So, I have a couple more announcements for today.
Tonight, we will be launching the new Daily Audio Bible web player. And the web player and the new app, they are linked together on the same system. So, they do all the same things. For example, once you are logged in and, logging into the web app or the web player is just your…if you’ve ever done anything on the Daily Audio Bible website you have an account and so you just login. And if you’ve never been on the Daily Audio Bible website, you just make an account. And the reason for the account is so that the system could do with the system does, which is, when you listen to a day it just makes a checkbox for you, automatically. This is a day you’ve listened to. Or, if you want to create a journal entry, because you can journal on the web player and the app. If you want to write down some thoughts from any given day or every day, then it saves it to your own unique account. Or if you star something, you’re like, I don’t want to forget this day, this day meant something to me, and you put a star on it, and you go back through the year and look at the places that you’ve stared. It can remember that. It can remember that it’s you. So, those of you who listen on the web player every day, it’s going to be all new tomorrow. And those of you who are kind of wanting a sneak peek to see what the new app is going to be like, you’ll be able to do that tomorrow. You just go to dailyaudiobible.com and scroll down just a tiny bit, just to like the little second module and you’ll see ‘web player’. And you click that and it launches the web player. So, we will be rolling that out and getting it into place tonight. And, so, tomorrow it’ll be the new web player. And we’ll get that in place. The new Daily Audio Bible apps for Android and Apple are submitted. And, so, we’re just waiting. It’s especially more stringent process to move through the Apple approval process for apps. And we’re just praying for that to go through smoothly. They will be shutting down for the holidays too. So, we’re just kind of praying that maybe this could get through the approval process before the weekend. If not, then probably sometime next week unless we were run into some issues that we’re not aware of. So, let’s be praying about that. There’s just a number of things that are happening right now that as a community we need to remember in our thoughts and prayers. And that is the covering over the launch of Daily Audio Bible Chronological, the rollout of the new web player, and then the rollout of the new Daily Audio Bible app. So, thank you for your prayers over all of these things.
The other thing that we have to announce today is, Daily Audio Bible family Christmas will show up right along with your Daily Audio Bible tomorrow. And the Daily Audio Bible family Christmas is kind of our annual, virtual, Christmas party, our opportunity to get together and just talk about the year and move through the Christmas story while hearing all of the voices of the community and all of the wishes from around the world for the new year for the joy of the season that we’re in. And it’s always a beautiful thing and it’s always a time that we reveal and we talk about the word, the word that comes over each year. It becomes kind of the NorthStar and the focus in the Scriptures. And, so, we’ll be talking about that on Daily Audio Bible family Christmas. So, that will show up along with the Daily Audio Bible tomorrow.
If you want to partner with the Daily Audio Bible as we move into the last days of the year, then we all thank you profoundly and humbly for your partnership. There is a link. It’s on the homepage of dailyaudiobible.com. If you prefer, the mailing address is PO Box 1996 Spring Hill Tennessee 37174.
And, as always, if you have a prayer request or comment, 877-942-4253 is the number to dial.
And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.
Community Prayer Requests and Praise Reports:
Hi friends. This is Gloria in New York City. It is Saturday, December 16th. I just listened to the podcast and the message afterwards. I wanted to encourage us all to or wanted to all join together to pray for, as Brian said at the end there, may we all stand with a cloud of witnesses that we brought. May God use us all to reach other people, to bring, that when we stand at the throne, that we’ll be standing there with witness for the people that we did. Some maybe we hope we affected and influenced for Christ…with Christ message…with his love, and some of them that we didn’t even know, that we just came across and influenced. So, my prayer and wish her Christmas for always is that we would just be seeing…I’m praying that we see in the new year our loved ones coming to the Lord. We have so many. We all have loved ones who don’t want to hear anything about it. Then around now…especially Christmas time…it’s hard because you just want to celebrate Jesus and it becomes about so many other things. So, I’m lifting up my own family members, my brothers, my mother, my daughter, her boyfriend, as well as your family members, loved ones, children, siblings, and…I don’t know if I’m out of time…I didn’t time this one, but I also want to specifically pray for Eunice from Jersey, just overwhelmed with this discovery of cancer. And Eunice, your very special in my prayers today. Alright…and I will speak to you all soon. God bless you.
Hello saints. Happy holidays. Merry Christmas. Happy New Years. I’m calling today…and I hope I’m not stepping over bounds here…but I’m calling for a dear sister of our Daily Audio Bible group. Her name is Tony and she’s from Toledo. And this week she got a call that no mother should get. Her youngest, who just turned 21, overdosed and we’re having the funeral on Tuesday. Saints, I would just really appreciate you covering this whole family. Tony is real solid in her faith, but this can rock you. And her kids are struggling with it. And it’s just such a sad thing. My heart is broken for her. So, I would ask right now that you would just, please, continue to pray for her through the year, through the years, and join me in prayer right now. Heavenly Father, I just come to You right now, Lord, I ask You give her strength, I ask Lord that you give her peace, I ask that You comfort her Lord, and I ask that You just lift her up Lord, high above this, Lord, and I ask that You cover her family Lord and show them that this was not You, it was the enemy, and he is a defeated soul…even though it doesn’t look like it right now. We ask it all in Jesus’ name. Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you Daily Audio Bible. You mean the world to me. God bless you. Bye.
Hey this call is for…I think you said brother your name was Keith…it might have been Pete, I’m not sure. I didn’t here you say where you were from but you are having a super hard time and really stressing and said that you were trapped in your own mind. I just want you to know brother, you’re not alone, we’re praying for you and we love you and just hold close to God man. He’s there and He’s got you. And keep us updated and just let it all out. Alright? I love all you guys and I’m praying for you and I’m also praying for that Christian Academy that needs $100,000 and a new place to go. I’m praying for that. I love you guys. I’m praying for everyone and I’ll talk to you later. Oh…and…the wifey and I are doing great. Thanks for your prayers and thanks for praying for my family. All is going great. So, praise God. Thank you.
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
Praises were coming out of everyone’s mouth
Our faith had been built up step by step with great care
Because every step along the way God’s grace and mercy were there
Moms no longer here and neither is dad
But both of them were responsible for the great faith that I’ve had
Looking intently to the father above
Who gave his only begotten son as the ultimate act of unmerited love
And now here I sit in eager anticipation
Of the upcoming Christmas day with great expectation
Eager and ready to lift up my voice
With the voices of all men let the whole world rejoice
Peace on the earth to all men of good will
Our savior has come all prophesy to fulfill
Giving us the victory, the power to win
Over Satan, the world, and the darkness of sin
Things are not great but thanks to Jesus our future is bright
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night
firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d like to give a shout out to Victoria S. and Viola. Haven’t heard from you lately either. Miss the sound of your voices. And Pelham, hang in there brother. You can make it if you try. __ family stone that one. It’s true. Yup. If you don’t give out and you don’t give up, and you don’t give in God will strengthen you. Okay, and once again, my love to the Hardin family for this wonderful podcast for God’s Holy Spirit to flow. Keep it flowin’ y’all. Merry Christmas.