“THE FUTURE SPLENDOR OF THIS TEMPLE WILL BE GREATER THAN THE SPLENDOR OF THE FIRST ONE! FOR I HAVE PLENTY OF SILVER AND GOLD… AND HERE I WILL GIVE PEACE, SAYS THE LORD.” Haggai 2:8-9 TLB
The story is a little bit fearful, but ends in glory! The prophet Haggai has a strong word from the Lord to His people. They have returned to their homeland of Israel after 70 years of exile in Babylon. Most everything had been destroyed — worst of all, the great holy Temple that King Solomon had built.
But, here was God’s problem:
“'Why is everyone saying it is not the right time for rebuilding my Temple?’ Asks the Lord.” Haggai 1:2 TLB
For over two years the people had been building their “fine homes,” planting their fields and trees, while God’s Temple lay in ruins! Now, here is a word and a KEY for you and me — yes, for us, God’s people today! You see, the neglect of the people of Haggai’s day had literally brought a curse upon the people — yes, upon God’s own people! You say, “A curse?” Read on and learn:
“[God’s] reply to them is this: ‘Is it then the right time for you to live in your luxurious homes, when [my] Temple lies in ruins?’” Haggai 1:3-4 TLB
Now read on and learn, because God has a strong word for you and me, as I said, for today. Buckle-up, here it comes; but first God defines the “curse.”
“Look at the result: You plant much but harvest little. You have scarcely enough to eat or drink….” Haggai 1:5-6
It gets worse —
“Not enough clothes to keep you warm. Your income disappears, as though you were putting it into pockets filled with holes!” Haggai 1:6b TLB
Wow! Does this touch a nerve on any one of us? I plead guilty, looking back on my younger days before I got hold of “seed faith giving.” In a moment we will find that KEY to meet our need!
But here let it sink in deeply just how seriously God views the vital importance He places on His Temple. You see, it was at the Temple God met with His people. It was here that sin was dealt with as blood sacrifices and offerings were given for forgiveness of sin. Here the sick came for divine healing. Here rested the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat within the Holy of Holies containing the Tablets of the Law.
The Temple was also the visible statement of the true and living God for all the known world to see. It was also where people of foreign nations could come and become proselytes, embrace the Hebrew covenant and be saved! I have often likened the Holy Temple as God’s TV station of that day where all were invited to join because —
“My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” Isaiah 56:7 NLT
The good news is that God’s people finally got the message after nearly starving to death in their disobedience!
We’ll come back to Haggai and his message to the people of God, but FAST FORWARD WITH ME TO THE 21st CENTURY — TO YOU AND ME! What is God’s message and yes, His controversy with His people today?
First of all, we know that God does not desire awesome Temples like King Solomon built. The apostle Paul makes it abundantly clear:
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you?” 1 Cor. 3:16
Wow! Can you make the 3,000 year jump from the book of Haggai to see what our Heavenly Father desires from us today? I think you know. Quote it from memory. Jesus’ last words were His command to us — to all who belong to Him:
belong to Him: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15
In John 15, only “fruit bearers” (soul winners) can claim the promise: “Ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7). Finally, to every generation Jesus calls for the harvest:
“Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” John 4:35
Now, the BIG QUESTION to God’s people today: How are your crops? Are your clothes keeping you warm? Does your income disappear as though you too have holes in your pocket? Perhaps today we should ask: How is your job — do you have one? Are you out of debt? Talk about “holes” in the pocket!
Okay, here it is: Are you helping to build the Temples God desires? If not, could the problem be the same as in Haggai’s day? Praise God, TBN is building human temples — but are YOU helping?
Here is the good news: The people of Haggai’s day GOT THE MESSAGE! The prophet reminds them again that they were living with selfish and evil hearts, so that everything they did went wrong. But, read and rejoice:
“But all is different now, because you have begun to build [my] Temple.” Haggai 2:15 TLB
The word of the Lord gets even better. He tells His people that as soon as the foundation was laid His blessings would begin:
“But from today…as the foundation of the Lord’s Temple is laid, from this day onward, I will bless you.” Haggai 2:18 TLB
The promise goes on to say that this blessing begins even before the Temple structure is built (Haggai 2:19).
As I have often said, once the decision is made to build His Temples, God will accept your I.O.U.! Yes, your blessing begins as you pick up your phone or write and tell Jan and me you are ready to build! No money? Send in that pledge and watch God put that seed of faith in your hand!
Precious partners, multitudes of you have been blessed as together we have built millions of human temples. Glory to God, let’s keep building! We don’t know for sure, but over 40 million have called, written, emailed, faxed, or come forward to let us know. We really believe this is only the tip of the iceberg — only God knows!
God bless you. Jan and I love you now 38 years long and strong!
Praise God, let your blessings begin NOW in Jesus name!
Iranian pastor Afshin Javid shared with Matt and Paul how he became a Christian after Jesus appeared to him. We’re hearing about all kinds of amazing conversions to faith as Jesus is personally visiting people living in countries closed to the Gospel!
(Pictured: Paul with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu). “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” and for TBN-Russia’s new TV studio located in the heart of the Holy City!
A Sunday School class in Madurai, India watching the Smile of a Child network via a satellite receiving dish provided by YOU, our TBN family.