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Haggai and Zechariah -- Rebuilding the Temple in Our Hearts

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As if to prove this point, God sent two different prophets to preach to the remnant in Jerusalem at the time they had abandoned the rebuilding of the temple. One was Haggai and one was Zechariah. They preached at the same time and they had the same message -- get back to rebuilding the temple! But their styles were markedly different. Haggai did not mince words. He was the fire and brimstone pastor. He was Paul Washer:


"This is what the Lord of Heaven's Armies says: Look at what's happening to you! Now go up into the hills, bring down timber, and rebuild my house. Then I will take pleasure in it and be honored, says the Lord . You hoped for rich harvests, but they were poor. And when you brought your harvest home, I blew it away. Why? Because my house lies in ruins, says the Lord of Heaven's Armies, while all of you are busy building your own fine houses. It's because of you that the heavens withhold the dew and the earth produces no crops. I have called for a drought on your fields and hills--a drought to wither the grain and grapes and olive trees and all your other crops, a drought to starve you and your livestock and to ruin everything you have worked so hard to get." -- Haggai 1: 7-11 (NLT)


Then Haggai responded, "That is how it is with this people and this nation, says the Lord . Everything they do and everything they offer is defiled by their sin. Look at what was happening to you before you began to lay the foundation of the Lord 's Temple. When you hoped for a twenty-bushel crop, you harvested only ten. When you expected to draw fifty gallons from the winepress, you found only twenty.   I sent blight and mildew and hail to destroy everything you worked so hard to produce. Even so, you refused to return to me, says the Lord . -- Haggai 2: 14-17 (NLT)


For every Paul Washer there is a Charles Stanley, peaceful, serene, yet still preaching the Gospel. Zechariah was the Stanley to Haggai's Washer:


"I, the Lord , was very angry with your ancestors. Therefore, say to the people, "This is what the Lord of Heaven's Armies says: Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of Heaven's Armies.' Don't be like your ancestors who would not listen or pay attention when the earlier prophets said to them, "This is what the Lord of Heaven's Armies says: Turn from your evil ways, and stop all your evil practices.' -- Zechariah 1: 2-4 (NLT)


But now I will not treat the remnant of my people as I treated them before, says the Lord of Heaven's Armies. For I am planting seeds of peace and prosperity among you. The grapevines will be heavy with fruit. The earth will produce its crops, and the heavens will release the dew. Once more I will cause the remnant in Judah and Israel to inherit these blessings. Among the other nations, Judah and Israel became symbols of a cursed nation. But no longer! Now I will rescue you and make you both a symbol and a source of blessing. So don't be afraid. Be strong, and get on with rebuilding the Temple! -- Zechariah 8: 11-13 (NLT)


The audience is the same. The time frame is the same. The message to finish the temple is the same. But the messengers are completely different. Haggai bringing down the thunder and Zechariah with the velvet gloves. I see some important considerations for us today. There are reasons God used these two different styles and why He still uses so many different styles today. The first consideration is that it is the message that is important -- not the messenger. If you are following a preacher that seems to make it all about him you need to run! It is all about Jesus Christ beloved. It is all about God and the temple He is building in each and every one of us. I remember at my old church there was a regular guest preacher that I simply felt I could not "get anything" from. Have you ever felt that way? Halfway through every sermon I would be lost. I prayed about it but God basically laid the problem at my feet. Every message can have something for us if we are truly listening, despite our prejudices or preferences. I have heard people say they cannot "get anything" if the person talks to slow or if they use the Old Testament too much. Or heaven forbid use a Bible other than the KJV! These are all stumbling blocks that we must fight through. We should go to every church service expecting to hear from God not dismissing the sermon based upon the messenger. We need to tune our ear to the still small voice inside of us and not the person standing before us. Once I readjusted my approach, I was always able to hear something from God when I heard that preacher speak. It wasn't her -- it was me.


The second consideration for us to consider is that God uses Haggai and Zechariah because sometimes we need the fire and brimstone and other times we need the encouraging teacher. If you look at the life of Jesus; He was not a cookie cutter preacher. He preached on love and forgiveness but also repentance and wrath. He healed the sick and cleared out the money-changers. God knows exactly where we are. He knows if we are so deep in the valley that we need to hear the promises of God to assure us to keep walking through. He also knows if we are backsliding and need a not so gentle reminder of what thus sayeth the Lord. This is what is so dangerous about some modern theologies that seek to pigeon hole God by wrapping Him up in hearts and cherubs or wrapping Him in barbed wire. Neither is Biblically correct because it is only half the picture. You cannot present Zechariah with Haggai.

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Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to (more...)

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