đŸ’–Priorities For Rebuilding | Post CoVid-19 Pandemic | Open Door OC | Professor/Pastor RC Wilkinson

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đŸ’–Priorities For Rebuilding | Post CoVid-19 Pandemic | Open Door OC | Professor/Pastor RC Wilkinson

here we go we are one in Christ we are one oh God we are one in unity we are one in truth we are one in faith we are one eternally everyone is welcome here everyone is welcome here we are one in mind we are one in heart we are wanting unity we are one in Christ we are one in the we are one turn everyone is welcome everyone is welcome here for we are one one in Christ in the way the truth we’re warning Christ we serve that one to bring gospel to everyone everyone is welcome here where we are one we are one we are one in Christ we are one in God we are one we are wanting truth we are one in faith we are Watchers everyone is welcome here everyone is welcome here where we are one one in Christ in the way the truth the light we’re one in Christ we serve that’s one to bring comes love to everyone for we are one one in Christ is the way the truth the life we one in Christ we service one to bring gospel to everyone is welcome here where we are one we are one we are one in growth hello open door ministries and to everyone joining us on Facebook and YouTube it’s good to be together again even if it’s only online I want to start our new series Easter has finished and now we’re moving on and I’ve been thinking about what is it going to be like when this pandemic is over and we are allowed to go back outside again we’re gonna be rebuilding a new normal and that got me to thinking about folks like Ezra and Nehemiah where they are rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and of course the book of Haggai which is the minor prophet as they are rebuilding the temple of the Lord and I thought there were some very important lessons in Haggai so I want to share those with you today so I’m calling this new series it’ll be four weeks long Haggai priorities for rebuilding there’s some background that I want to share with you about Haggai the book takes place about 520 BCE this is after the ten nations the tens northern nations of Israel had been captured and carried away by the Assyrians and then also after the two southern tribes of Judah had been captured and carried away by the Babylonians this is approximately 70 years after the Babylonian exile the Babylonian Empire had fallen and had been conquered by the medo-persian Empire and under Darius they were allowed to return the Jew the people of Judah were allowed to return to Jerusalem and to resettle there now some chose to do it and some did not choose to do it but they began the task of rebuilding and you can see read books about the rebuilding of the wall and in this book the rebuilding of the temple

so this takes place in the second year of King Darius now in this book of Haggai it relates to the book of Ezra and takes place after the book of Ezra and in that book of Ezra we learned that the remnant that came from the Empire Babylon back to Jerusalem included Joshua who serve as the new high priest was a rebel who was the governor over the land and they started to rebuild the walls however after rebuilding the walls rather than rebuilding the temple they said about rebuilding their houses now this does make some sense you need the walls for protection and you need the houses for shelter there’s no problem with that but as Haggai is going to point out they got a little carried away with building their houses and lost their priorities and so the big phrase that you’re going to see that is repeated over and over again in this book is consider your ways think about what you’re doing what are you making a priority consider your ways in Haggai chapter one verse one this is what it says in the second year King Darius in the sixth month on the first day of the month the word of the Lord came by the Prophet Haggai to zerubabbel son of XI LTL governor of Judah and to Joshua son of Joe hos adapt the high priest by dating it in the second year of King Darius reign it indicates that Israel is still a vassal state they haven’t gained full independence and so by writing this in this book of prophecy it reminds us that they once were a mighty Kingdom but now there’s just a vassal state and by mentioning the first day of the month this indicates that it was a new moon and that Jerusalem was probably full of people celebrating because the Israelites and Judah began celebrating Lots New Moon feast it was probably a feast today and we can see that in Isaiah 114 and Hosea 211 where God says I’m tired of your new moon feast I’d rather have real worship anyway this is all just to indicate that at this time the people while still vassals had just returned to their old ways they returned to celebrating their Moon festivals Haggai chapter 1 verses 2 through 4 says this that said the Lord of hosts these people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house then the word of the Lord came by the Prophet Haggai saying is it time for you yourselves to live in your paneled houses while this house lies in ruin paneled houses indicate a pursuit of wealth rather than having sufficient a good place to live and stability the people of Israel of Israel the Judah from Judah began to focus once again on acquiring wealth they became consumed with greed and by buying these paneled houses and building these paneled houses they were displaying their wealth most likely as the people returned from captivity a lot of the old social system had broken down and so they want to start displaying their wealth to rebuild the class system and Haggai calls them out on this Judah had returned to the same behavior that had caused the problems in the first place oppression of the poor corrupt courts and idolatry in this case it’s the oppression of the poor because anytime that you pursue wealth as a means to an end or as the end itself anytime you pursue wealth you also pursue greed and so they took the money that could be helping the less fortunate in Jerusalem and instead built themselves fancy homes and of course they had abandoned the worship of the Lord the temple was left unbuilt in Haggai chapter 1 verses 5 through 6 it says this now their force thus says the Lord of hosts consider how you have fared you have so much and harvested little you eat but never have enough you drink but never have your fill you clothe yourselves but no one is warm

and you that end you that earn wages earn wages you put them into bags with holes you can look at this in two different ways what was literally happening in reality and what is the spiritual lesson that we can learn from this in reality the harvest for these people who had returned from Babylon was poor that year they had apparently had a drought and so they did not receive the bountiful harvest that they planned in fact they had probably planted much as it says you have so much they probably planted more than they needed just to continue living and we’re looking for a cash crop to sell to increase their wealth but people because of this drought simply didn’t have enough to eat people didn’t have adequate clothing and there was massive inflation going on this is why it says those of you who earned wages end up putting it into a bag with holes it seems as soon as they got their paycheck it was gone it’s like some people nowadays we’re living paycheck to paycheck as soon as you get your wages boom how it goes because of this massive inflation and so we’re already beginning to see an inequality between those who are very rich and those who are very poor this brings us back to this idea of hey you return to your old ways it’s the oppression of the poor once again and rather than being wise and learning from their past mistakes instead of planting all the time and selling off whatever the excess is they should have stored that and saved it because you can’t build your life on hoping there’s always profit every year some years we’ll be hardship and you need to plan for those times spiritually we can look at it like this sewing to greed produces no spiritual fruit oh they’ve sown much but they’ve sown to the wrong thing and so no spiritual fruit is grown no love no patience none of those things you can no matter how many material possessions you have you are never truly satisfied they’re saying you eat and you drink and and you have these clothes but nobody’s really worn because greed is a hungry monster that is never satisfied and the more you attempt to feed your greed the hungrier you become you spend all your money on trying to maintain a lifestyle haven’t we seen this many a time some folks they may earn a really great wage but it’s gone as soon as they get it they’ve maxed out their credit cards they’re living an extravagant lifestyle that they can’t afford rather than living within their means and saving for the future in Haggai chapter 1 verses to have a separate this is what it says thus says the lord of hosts consider how you have fared go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored says the Lord the Lord God calls them back to refocusing their priorities you need to build the temple because the temple was the center of worship the temple was the central place for learning about God and experiencing God and it simply was not there and it’s interesting that he has to tell them to go and bring back wood because apparently they had enough stone and wood at some point but most likely they had used the wood to build their paneled houses they misplaced their priorities and God is calling them back go and get the wood finished his house you need to have a spiritual life so in reality they need to build the temple so that the people actually have a place to worship because there was no place to worship and spiritually we need to learn the lesson that we have to focus on the spiritual aspects of your life and not material things stop acquiring more and more we have homes we don’t need mansions we have cars we don’t need Lamborghinis we have food we don’t need five star restaurants oftentimes we over feed our desires of worldly things for possessions and material things and neglect our spiritual life in Haggai chapter 1 verse 9 it says this you have looked for much and lo it became little and when you brought it home I blew it away why says the Lord of hosts because my house lies in ruin while you all hurry off to your own houses God is saying the consequences of you ignoring your spiritual life and focusing on the material world is that you’re failing right now

the very things that brought the judgment upon you in the first place so that you were carried away by the Assyrians and Babylonians you’re doing again you didn’t learn your lesson in reality their harvest was less than expected and what there was was quickly gone they didn’t harvest as much food as they had in previous years and so it was quickly consumed you know we need to plan for the future it’s silly to say to yourself well the Lord will always provide for me the Lord provides years of plenty with the expectation that we save for the future just like Joseph and his dream that he interpreted for Pharaoh that there would be seven years of plenty and that they should save for the future this is a lesson that we need to learn not to expect a God to produce plenty for us every year spiritually if you are basing your life on you don’t base your life on things you can’t control we can’t control the weather some years are good years there’s plenty of rain and the crops grow in other years there’s no rain and the crops don’t grow we have no control of that and so it’s a gamble to base your life on something you can’t control like the weather it’s a gamble to base your life on the economy because the economy goes up and the economy goes down and we have no control over it but yet if we are prudent if we take precautions and put money away for the bad times then we will be able to make it out securely your spiritual life can bring spiritual growth and contentment even in difficult times if you use the wisdom that God has given you to prepare for the hard times even though you may not be able to enjoy as many material possessions you will still be content you will be like Paul who has said I have learned to rejoice in abundance and to be content even when there is little we need to learn this idea of contentment and not to always base our happiness in our entire lives on having extravagance in Haggai chapter 1 verses 10 through 11 it says this therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew and the earth has withheld as produce and I have called for a drought on the land and the hills on the grain the new wine the oil on what the soil produces on human beings and animals on all their labour in reality for the people who are living in Palestine at that time the three main crops were indeed grain wine and oil and all of these did not produce what was expected there was less than what they had expected because of the drought all their hard work of the people and the animals was simply not producing you know you can chase after wealth all you want but there’s no guarantee that you’re gonna get it no matter how hard you work for it spiritually we can look at it this way all three of these items grain wine and oil are used as offerings in the temple and hoarding them for yourself for profit just isn’t working we need to not only take care of our material needs but we should not hoard material things but give freely and generously to the temple to the house of God we need to sow to spiritual things so that we can be spiritually fed as well we need to set God as a priority Haggai chapter 1 verses 12 through 15 then zerubabbel son of xi LTL and joshua son of jehoiada the high priests with all the rim of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the words of the Prophet Haggai as the Lord their God had sent him and the people feared the Lord then Haggai the messenger of the Lord spoke to the people with the Lord’s message saying I am with you says the Lord and we can see this both in reality and spiritually the Lord is with us the Lord never abandons us the Lord is always with us and he is on our side he repeatedly calls us and warns us don’t focus on the wrong things don’t focus on the material world instead focus on your spiritual life because if you use the wisdom and the common sense that I have given you if you follow biblical principles you will be blessed and your life will be better for it so we need to ask ourselves this are we making ourselves available to him he is always with

us but we’re not always with him like sheep we go astray and we tend to move away from him and focus on other things we need to make sure that we are making ourselves available to God so how do you live this all out how do we worship God by living out the lessons that he’s trying to teach us in this book of Haggai again I want to remind you of that quote from Maya Angelou beautiful quote every storm runs out of rain these hard times that we’re experiencing right now these difficult times these will pass they all pass darkness has always followed by Dawn when we return back to our workplaces when we return back to the marketplace when we go back to the life we knew before this pandemic what will our priorities be you need to focus on your spiritual life don’t rejoin the rat race don’t pursue wealth don’t be greedy don’t spend every dollar you have but plan for the future plan for the good times and the bad times focus on what God calls us to focus on to alleviate poverty to pursue justice and to pursue Jesus we need to focus on these things because this is what the prophets told the people of Israel and Judah repeatedly to focus on alleviating poverty and the oppression of the poor to pursue justice and to pursue God not to worship anyone but God don’t allow yourself to return to the conditions that bread destruction if you think about this world that we live in we have conditions that breed destruction we have people living in poverty we have people without health care we have people without adequate nutrition we have smart children we have court systems that have different rules for different people if you are african-american it is more likely you will find yourself with a higher bail or denied bail or put into jail and that is wrong that is a corrupt Court the rich get different rules than the poor that is a corrupt Court and it leads to social problems and when we turn away from God and the way that God has shown us how to live and instead we focus upon material things and we go for the pursuit of wealth and we feed the monster of greed we destroy others and we don’t care about their lives we care about the almighty dollar and that is wrong and that brings about the destruction of the nation God doesn’t pour out hurricanes and diseases upon us we create them for ourselves by destroying the society living after worldly ways but when we turn to God and we follow God’s ways and we take care of the poor in the oppressed when we make sure there is justice and we follow Jesus the world becomes a better place I want to share with you one last picture this is a picture of Skid Row in Los Angeles just a few miles from where I’m standing right now and when you look at this picture it’s right outside of the Union rescue mission where people are trying to do good and help to feed those who need a meal but it is our society it is our culture that is producing this problem because even though we proclaim ourselves a Christian nation we don’t live it because in a Christian nation this would never have this would never happen Oh indeed there would be those who are less fortunate but we wouldn’t have these kind of conditions that breed the destruction of a nation that breed disease and that continues cycles of poverty that are moved on we need to live out the call of Haggai and we set our priorities and to focus upon God and not material things that’s it for today and until we meet again may God bless you go in peace