Haggai 1:1-2:23, 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’m Brian. It is great to be here with you today as we come in and find our place around the Global Campfire for the next step forward in the Scriptures. And as we move ourselves into the end of this week, we will encounter a new book. Surprise. Today’s book, and we will read the entire book in the Old Testament is called Haggai. And usually our custom is to…to talk about a book that we’re going to enter into or that we’re going to read in its entirety before we do that so that we have some context for it but I’m gonna flip that a little bit. And we’ll talk about Haggai at the end today once you had a chance to read it. And that might help us glean some more meaning for it that we can take into our day and take into the rest of this month and into our lives. So, we’re reading from the God’s Word Translation this week and we’ll read the entire book of Haggai, which contains two chapters.
Okay. So, let’s go back and just to review some of the territory that we encountered today, especially in the book of Haggai. So, Haggai is another one of the books that we know as the minor prophets. It’s the 12th of the minor prophets and like the other minor prophets there’s not a bunch to go on to find out, like who is…who was Haggai. And to begin to investigate this we just need to remind ourselves we need to go back to the time that this is taking place. We…we will recall the fact that the kingdom of Israel split into two kingdoms, northern and southern kingdoms, and we will recall through our journey this year that both of those kingdoms, the kingdom of Israel in the North and the kingdom of Judah in the south, both were conquered eventually. So, the Assyrian Empire conquered Israel, the 10 tribes of the north and took them into exile and they disappeared…like they were they were never cohesive tribes again. The kingdom of Judah was conquered by Babylon and we’ve read a lot about that story and a lot of prophetic utterances from within that time. And we recall that Babylon was then subsequently conquered by Persia and then the exiles were allowed to begin to return back to their homeland. And this is the time that we find ourselves in in Haggai. And we should note, because it’s so easy to miss because, you know, we’re just moving through the Scriptures that…these exiles, the destruction of the promised land and the displacement of the Hebrew people, this occupies a considerable amount of the Old Testament. This was a devastating thing to these people. So, we know that Haggai was among those who returned from the Babylonian exile and he was living in Jerusalem. And probably he was one of the first, the first wave of exiles that were allowed to return to a destroyed city. And we also know that Haggai, he had access to people who were in power because the book of Haggai tells us who it is to. The message was delivered to the Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah. And we should remember that name because we learned about Zerubbabel. We followed his story in the book of Ezra and Nehemiah. But the book of Haggai also says that Zerubbabel and Joshua, the high priest, were to receive the message. So, obviously he had access to give important message…messages to important and powerful people. And the message that Haggai received from the Lord was hopeful and maybe even more motivational. But we have to understand why. And that’s why we were just talking about some of the territory that we’ve covered the get here. Babylon did conquer Jerusalem and Jerusalem’s people were lead into exile somewhere around 586 B.C. And then Babylon, as we just mentioned, was conquered by the Persian Empire in 539 B.C. And, so, the Persian kingdom, the new ruler, King Cyrus allowed the first wave of exiles to go back to Jerusalem, under the leadership of Zerubbabel who was in charge around 538 B.C., like a year later. Haggai’s message is 18 more years in the future, in 520 B.C. So, the exiles, the first wave of exiles have been back in the land of promise for 18 years. And, incidentally, Haggai’s prophecies are some of the most precisely dated utterances in the Bible. Haggai, was prophesying between August 29th through December 18th 520 B.C. So, anyway, the first wave of exiles is able to return from their captivity in Babylon and to begin to resettle a homeland that had been lost. And for 18 years the temple was not complete. So, all kinds of things came against people. We read of these things in other books - political opposition, intimidation, right? Surrounding nations threatening. Just…just all of the unrest just halted the efforts. Instead, the people were building their own homes and building their own lives, but they were building new homes and new lives without the temple being the centerpiece of their culture, which it had always been. We will remember some of the agonizing utterances that came out of the exile about the destruction of the Temple and the captors asking people to sing songs of…of their homeland by the river Kabbar. And how could they do that if they forget Jerusalem? How could they do that if…if the temple is lost? And, so, now the people are back for 18 years and they’re able to be back in their land and build the temple again and they don’t. And, so, God comes to Haggai abd says, “why…why are you living in luxury while my house is in ruins?” And then God began to reveal to the people why they had been struggling so hard for these 18 years. And it was ultimately because the people had become self-absorbed and focused upon themselves and neglected God and neglected the building of God’s temple. And, so, Haggai’s telling them, “you gotta like…the priorities are wrong. Like, this is backward. We’re just repeating the same story we keep repeating. We’ve got to put God first because God has future plans.” And, so, according to Haggai, construction resumed again on September 21st 520 B.C. and in less than a month later on October 17th of that same year now that the temple is being rebuilt God reveals what He’s up to. This is what the Lord of heaven’s says, “in just a little while I will again shake the heavens and the earth, the oceans and the dryland. I’ll shake all the nations and the treasures of all the nations will be brought to this temple. I will fill this place with glory, says the Lord of heaven’s armies. The silver is mine and the gold is mine says the Lord of heaven’s armies. The future glory of this temple will be greater than its past glory, says the Lord of heaven’s armies. And in this place, I will bring peace. I, the Lord of heaven’s armies have spoken. Alright? So, that is what God intended to do with his people when he brought them back from exile, to restore them and then begin to flow the riches of the world, the very peoples that had conquered and attempted to destroy them to bring the wealth of the nations back into the temple. And there was no temple because the people were too busy seeing about their own welfare in their own lives. So, let’s make this come home. Let’s bring this a little closer. I…I have been to Jerusalem many times and there is no temple in Jerusalem. The final temple of the Lord, the one that Jesus himself would have been familiar with was destroyed in A.D. 70, by the Romans, so there is no temple there anymore. But the Scriptures…the Scriptures tell us that we are the temple of God. In other words, the glorious presence of the Lord of heaven’s armies indwells and resides inside the temple of our lives. The people in the time of Haggai had spent their energy trying to make life work on their own, but all of their efforts were yielding far less results than they were expecting because they had put their exterior lives first, ignoring the rebuilding and upkeep of the temple. Do you…do you see the parallels going on here? We are the temple. Is its in ruins because we have spent all of our efforts trying to create an exterior life that is curated and looks magical to the exterior world, but inside here inside ourselves where we live we know it’s in ruins? And are we working our butts off his heart as we know how to do and we simply are not in any way yielding the results we expected? Aor the hearers of Haggai’s message, God’s plan had always been to consolidate the prosperity of the other nations who had pillaged them, and bring it flooding back into the temple. So, if they had maintained the temple, if they had put God first then their toil for those 18 years would’ve been vastly more fruitful. Maybe that could explain a lot about things going on in our lives. Maybe the temple is in ruins. While we build and build and build and surround ourselves with stuff so that we can pretend that’s not true. And maybe this has yielded far less results than we were expecting and so we’ve confused ourselves and felt as if it’s God’s fault, that he’s withholding from us.
And then we encounter what we read in the Psalms today. “How precious are your thoughts concerning me oh God. How vast in number they are. If I try to count them there would be more of them than there are grains of sand.” That’s a lot of thoughts about you. Maybe God isn’t withholding anything from us. Maybe it’s we who are withholding from him.
Father, we invite You into that. As we stay in this season of longing and expectation, we consider our own hearts. It’s easy enough for us to consider the baby Jesus but You have indwelled the temple of our hearts and this is where You reside. And, so, we invite Your Holy Spirit to see what kind of place we’ve made for You to live in. Is it in ruins or are we lovingly maintaining it? Come Holy Spirit into that question today. We ask in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.
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And we’re just moving ourselves…I mean…it’s right in front of us, right? Christmas is upon us. And, so, we’ll move through this weekend and the final Sunday of Advent and then into Christmas. And it’s gonna be busy, probably for most of us, but we can choose how…how we’re gonna approach this, whether grounded and rooted or whether swept away. And I guess that’s one of the main things that we learn from the Bible is it continually gives us a path to choose. And, so, right now, my choice is to stay rooted and grounded knowing that they’ll be challenges to that but deciding ahead of time helps an awful lot. So, that’s kind of where I’m at and maybe…maybe you’re thinking about the same kinds of things because here we are. And one of the things that I find to be really grounding around the Christmas season is our…is our annual Christmas party and we’re putting that together…together now to come out to release sometime between now and Monday. So, be on the lookout for that and it will just…wherever it is that you listen to the Daily Audio Bible, it’ll just show up as an episode. So, just watch for that. Putting the final…final touches on it. So, keep an eye out for it.
If you want to partner with the Daily Audio Bible here in these last…last weeks of the year…actually we’re inside of two weeks of this decade. So, wow! If you to partner with the Daily Audio Bible thank you profoundly and humbly. There is a link on the homepage of the website. If you’re using the Daily Audio Bible app you can press the Give button in the upper right-hand corner or the mailing address, if you prefer, is PO Box 1996 Spring Hill Tennessee 37174.
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And that is it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.
Community Prayer and Praise:
Father God, thank You so much for this new day, for this new opportunity we have to serve You where we are. Thank You, Lord so much for where You have placed us. Thank You for the village, town, or city that we are in. Thank You for the country that we are in. Thank You for the people that we interact with day by day. Help us Lord to please be a shining light and a good ambassador for You. Lord, thank You for the opportunity the British people had yesterday to vote for who they wanted to represent them in parliament. Father God, thank You for the 650 people who have been voted into the British Parliament. I pray Lord that they would be good role models for us all. I pray Lord that each of them will be looking to work together for the good of the British people. And Lord, probably most importantly and I should’ve said at first, I pray that they would come to know and love You as Lord and Savior because that is what is most important, their salvation. Father God, thank You so much for my brothers, our brothers and sisters who have been elected into the British Parliament and I pray Lord that they would be shining lights where they are. Thank You so much for this opportunity that these 650 people have to serve the British people for the next five or so years. May You be at work Lord Jesus holy and precious name. Amen. Hi guys, Michaela from Gloucester. Please be praying from unity in the UK. There are a lot of disappointed and disillusioned people but there also a lot of happy people. Please continue to pray for us. Thanks. Bye.
This is Rachel from Pennsylvania. Dear God, I want to pray for those that are bipolar and who struggle with knowing when they are off and need to make adjustments. I want to pray for Matt’s cousin Diane who is bipolar and did something and ended up arrested and then charges were dropped because of her condition, is now in an institution. And I just pray for her recovery and that you will move in her and you will use Matt to witness to her and to help change her life. I also want to pray for the boy with bipolar syndrome who wanted to be with Jesus and stabbed himself and is now in an institution. Lord, just be with him, heal him, and just help him to stabilize so that he can function and…and be with You by understanding that You’re with him, always in him, and, you know, that he can walk with You here on earth before he meets You in heaven. And I also want to pray for Standing Firm in South Carolina whose I think wife may be bipolar. I want to thank You that you are straightening things out there. I don’t know details, but you called in with a praise report. So, thank You God for that. And will continue to pray for him. And I also want to pray for my dad to just keep him stabilized as well. Amen.
Hello Daily Audio Bible community my name is Jimmy I’m calling from Connecticut. I’ve been with the Daily Audio Bible since the second year. Been going through a lot ever since then. Been through a very long separation and divorce. Had a lot of depression since my brother passed away last year. And lately, I just lost my job. I am now in my home that I bought for my family by myself and trying to financially get back on my feet. I’ve been praying nonstop for the past couple years. It’s been hard because I’ve been doing the work of the Lord, praying for people and it seems like personally I am just not making it. So, asking for prayer in my finances that I will find a good job. I was in my job for 13 years and let go for doing the right thing. Also, prayer for my daughter who’s being baptized, seven and wanted to be baptized, which is an amazing thing. But I am thankful for Brian and your family for all these years that it’s been a staple in my life. So, yeah, thank you.
Hey Daily Audio Bible to Be a Blessing in California. Just wanted to let you know it’s wonderful to always hear the community connecting and even though I haven’t been calling in for a while it’s just, you know, sometimes there are those moments when we just don’t call, and we really should. So, here I am. I…it’s been a challenging time with work and my health and the season and knowing that there are people that I miss. I know that there are those of you who are experiencing similar situations with relationship issues and lost loved ones who have passed away or jobs that have gone away or just…it’s a hard time. So, know that I am praying for you. Ask that you would pray for me also. There’s a man in the hospital, Anthony, is in need of a lung transplant. So, if you would keep him in prayer and his family. He’s been needing it for a while, and this is just a really trying time. Ms. Johnson had a mini stroke and is it in acute rehab. So, they believe she’ll be able to get back home but needs to have intensive care rehab. So, please keep her in prayer. Lastly, there will be a blue Christmas service that I will be participating in, leading on the 21st and really ask for your prayerful support for those who will be a part of the service, that they will be healthy, for those who will be coming that they will receive the love of Jesus in so many ways and just for how the service will be organized. Really appreciate that support. God bless you all. Bye-bye.
This is Pam and Dallas and I just wanted to reach out to the man who reached out about his wife, the registered nurse who has been ill and is discouraged and with a child who has cerebral palsy. Just praying for your whole family. That’s a tough situation to be in and just want you to know that you’re being prayed for. Bye.
This is TM from Botswana. Candace from Oregon, thank you so much for the prayer for you say has been attributed to Francis of Assisi which you prayed for us today on the 13th of December. This is the one that says, “God let me be an instrument of thy peace.” This prayer was exactly what I needed to hear with all the small challenges I am currently experiencing with various aspects of my life and relationships. I started listening to DAB this year in February and this is the first time that I have called. I thank God so much for leading me to DAB, which I have found quite coincidently it seems but which must be God’s answer to my prayer a year ago when I asked him to help me read and understand the Bible and for him to reveal himself to me through the Scriptures. Thank you, Brian and the entire DAB community for all that you do to guide us through the word of God and for your commentary which unravels the Scriptures so aptly and in a way that speaks so directly to our individual experiences. I am so glad to be part of this community and look forward to beginning next year’s listening right from the first day of the year and to experience a repeat of the journey through the Bible. And, Rebecca from Michigan, thank you for your prayer for all the children and for reminding us to raise our children in the way of God. I was very blessed by that teaching. I thank you all DABbers.
Good day, it’s Kelly from Australia. How are you all going? I’m calling today to ask if you’d keep our country Australia in your prayers over this festive season. We are experiencing severe drought right now as well as devastating bushfires that are ravaging our country, destroying our properties, livestock, and wildlife. Scorching hot temperatures are forecasted for the coming weeks and not a drop of rain is insight. Our firefighters will be working tirelessly over the festive season. The Bush fire smoke is as thick as fog, our rivers and dams have dried up, and farmers crops have not been sown or harvested. Even if farmers have the money to feed their livestock, which some don’t, the feed now is scarcely available. And what’s gonna happen in the coming months and years from this drought and bushfires is unimaginable. So, I’m just wondering, could you please keep our great southland in your prayers? We desperately need rain. We desperately need relief from this drought in bushfires. It has reached proportions that I don’t…I just don’t know what’s in store for us. Thank you and have a great day. Bye.