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Worshiping among the Ruins (1 of 3)
Series: Together We Build
Haggai 1:1-4, 7-9, 12
Theme: It was no "feel good" message that Haggai had for God's people. Their excuses could not stand in the face of the obvious reality. Their houses were finished; God's was not! But if they would put God first and get back to the task of rebuilding the temple, they would experience God's powerful presence once again.
Introduction: When the twin towers and the pentagon were attacked on 9/11, the symbols of our national identity were attacked. It was as if all of us had been attacked. But we still had our faith and our places of worship. But what if the churches of our nation were destroyed? When Jerusalem was destroyed in 586 B.C., the Temple, the center of Israel's religion and faith was destroyed as well.
The loss of the temple was a blow to Israel for the temple was the center and symbol of their national and religious identity. When some of Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem in 537 B.C. (under Cyrus, Ezra 1), the rebuilding of the temple was to have been the priority. But Jerusalem was in ruins, the basic necessities of life had to be rebuilt from the ground up, economic conditions were dismal, the political situation was shaky and ineffective, and there were hostile peoples that had moved into the area that did not want to see the Jews return and rebuild. So for the few Jews returning the conditions in Jerusalem must have been far worse than they had even imagined.
Even in our day, we know that a community that has been devastated can take years to recover any sense of normalcy. New Orleans is still recovering even 8 years after Katrina! The Jersey shore will be recovering for years to come. The Freedom Tower in New York built on the site of the World Trade Center was completed just last year, 12 years after the 9/11 attack.
In the book that bears his name, the prophet Haggai is speaking to the community of former exiles that had been allow ...
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