Haggai Chapter 1
Starting with a fairly short chapter at the beginning of Haggai (finding the book is the first challenge)! This is a study I completed just before the pandemic which is probably very relevant.
Verse 1: Haggai – a post exile prophet and contemporary of Zechariah (see Ezra 5 vs. 1and 2). Ezra 4 vs.24 confirms vs. 1 of Haggai.
Zerubbabel is part of the genealogy of Jesus (see Matthew 1 vs. 12 and 13).
The dating of this Hebrew prophecy was by the reign of a Gentile monarch (Darius) revealing that ‘the times of the Gentiles’ were in progress (see Luke 21 vs. 24). The prophecy is very carefully dated and is echoed in Ezra and Zechariah.
Verse 2: There is no urgency amongst the people. They have wrong priorities – contrast this with David’s concern in 2 Samuel 7 vs. 2. Is this a message for the church today?
Verse 3: See Ezra 5 vs.1
Verse 4: The prophecy points to where the misplaced priorities are – a real challenge to today’s churches.
Verse 5: The Lord’s challenge to the people is the same challenge to the church today – ‘Consider your ways’.
Verse 6: Not for the first time, God demonstrates how, what seems to be natural phenomena e.g. poor harvests, are provided by God to draw people back to Himself, and cause them to review their priorities. Climate change and global warming is a modern day example. See also: Deuteronomy 28 vs. 38; Haggai 2 vs. 16; Zechariah 8 vs. 10 – all these scenarios sound familiar today.
Verse 7: The call then, and the call today: ‘Consider your ways’.
Verse 8: God would be at the centre of all that we do – see Psalm 132 vs. 13 and 14 – centre of the Church, society, our political system, our monarchy. This requires action at the highest level – see Ezra 3 vs. 7
Verse 9: Again, God repeats how He has been ignored. Other priorities have taken hold, but proved worthless. Again, very similar with the world today – the selfish desires of Mankind.
Verse 10: God will do everything he can to break the pride of Mankind, and regain His centrality – see also Leviticus 26 vs. 19.
Verse 11: He goes to extraordinary lengths to win people back to Him, to turn them from their self-centredness and wickedness – see Deuteronomy 28 vs. 22; 1 Kings 17 vs.1; Haggai 2 vs. 17; Malachi 3 vs. 9-11.
Matthew 6 vs. 33 is a principle for all generations.
Verse 12: Not only the priesthood (Joshua), but the governor of Judah (Zerubbabel), and consequently, the whole remnant of the people, listened, repented and obeyed the word from the Lord. See also Isaiah 50 vs. 10.
Fear is only healthy when we learn to fear the Lord – see also, Deuteronomy 31 vs. 12. Fear in this respect is equivalent of ‘reverential trust’.
Verse 13: A repentant people receive a message of encouragement as they vow to put God at the centre: ‘I am with you’, reminiscent of the final words of Christ to His disciples prior to His ascension – see Matthew 28 vs. 20; Romans 8 vs. 31.
Verse 14: Never act unless the Lord has ‘stirred up’ your spirit. See Ezra 5 vs. 2; Ezra 1 vs. 1 – equally applies to the remnant chosen by grace – see Romans 11 vs. 5
Verse 15: Twenty-three days between the word of the Lord being delivered (vs. 1) and beginning work on the house of the Lord.
2 Chronicles Chapter 1
Verse 1: Solomon was already firmly established as King, and God made him great - see also 1 Kings 2 vs. 12; 1 Kings 3 vs. 4-9; 1 Chronicles 29 vs. 23-25.
Verse 2: Solomon summoned all the leaders of Israel - as his father had done when outlining the plans for building the Temple - see 1 Chronicles 28 vs. 1.
Verse 3: Solomon assembled everyone before the Tabernacle (Tent of Meeting) at Gibeon - see also Exodus 36 vs. 8 and 40 vs. 18; 1 Chronicles 16 vs. 39 and 40.
Verse 4: The Ark of the Covenant was actually in Jerusalem where David had brought it - see 2 Samuel 6 vs.2; 1 Chronicles 15 vs. 25; 2 Samuel 6 vs. 17; 1 Chronicles 15 vs. 1.
Verse 5: Instead, Solomon enquired of God before the bronze altar at Gibeon.
Verse 6: A thousand burnt offerings may seem excessive, but the necessity to come before God is to give so that it hurts. God will then acknowledge the seriousness of our request - see Luke 21 vs. 1-4. Note especially - Jesus gave everything on the cross. God expects us to give everything when we come to Him - see Luke 18 vs. 18-30.
Verse 7: Only as we worship will we see God's appearance, through the power of the Holy Spirit. We give everything in praise and worship, He meets our needs. See Luke 11 vs. 1-11; Matthew 21 vs. 18-22; John 14 vs. 12-14. We should declare our faith constantly through prayer, praise and worship - only then will we hear God's voice: 'Ask for whatever you want Me to give you.'
Verse 8: Of all the sons of David, God chose Solomon, whose mother was Bathsheba, to be heir to his throne. - see 1 Kings 1 vs. 28-31; 1 Chronicles 28 vs. 5; 1 Chronicles 23 vs. 1
Solomon was the 'born again' son after David's first son died. - see 2 Samuel 12 vs. 22-24.
As born again believers, we are also heirs. - see Isaiah 66 vs. 1 and 2; Hebrews 10 vs. 13; Acts 7 vs. 49. As heirs we can have confidence to 'Ask for whatever you want Me to give you' - see Psalm 18 vs. 50
Verse 9: Solomon appeals to God to keep His promise to his father, David - see 2 Samuel 7 vs. 25; 1 Kings 8 vs. 25
In the Great Commission, Jesus passes on His authority to the disciples - see Matthew 28 vs. 16 to end. He promises to be with them always, to the end of the age.
Verse 10:Solomon asks for wisdom and knowledge, for the task of ruling this great nation is too difficult in his own strength. 'Wisdom' and 'Knowledge' are gifts of the Holy Spirit - without them, and the other seven gifts, our witness will be powerless - see 1 Corinthians Ch. 12.
Verse 11: Deuteronomy 17 vs. 17 - God declares that any King over Israel should not possess great wealth.
Verse 12: However, wealth and riches are God's to bestow - see David's prayer in 1 Chronicles 29 vs. 12
When God bestows wealth it is remarkable, extraordinary and lavish - see 1 Chronicles 29 vs. 25; 2 Chronicles 9 vs. 22, but does not guarantee the receiver will not sin - see Nehemiah 13 vs. 26. Only Jesus is without sin - see Matthew 12 vs. 42. He clearly pointed to our priorities for life - see Luke 12 vs. 22-34.
Verse 13: Only after extensive worship and then hearing God's message does Solomon go to Jerusalem to reign over israel. We are too impatient to be doing instead of worshipping (which is far more than singing hymns) and waiting on God to hear His message.
Verse 14: Now we see the wealth which God 'adds on' to the gift of wisdom. God created wealth when He created the Universe. He can use His wealth to bless abundantly - see John 10 vs. 10 (King James Version).
Verse 15: Great wealth will be seen in the glory of His Church - see Isaiah 60 vs. 5, but not in the buildings!
Verse 16: No expense spared in God's abundance - even the death of His own Son!
Verse 17: Wealth and wisdom combine with not only importing but also exporting.
Titus Chapter 1
Verse 1: Paul is sure of his calling as 'servant of God', and 'apostle of Christ'. - see Romans 1 vs. 1. 'Faith and 'knowledge of truth' are two recurring themes in Paul's writing. God's 'elect' - His chosen ones, applies to all those who have 'faith' and 'knowledge of the truth'. - see Deuteronomy 7 vs. 6
Verse 2: Eternal life is a promise made by God 'who does not lie' - see Numbers 23 vs. 19; 2 Timothy 1 vs. 1. His promises are eternal, made before the beginnings of time. - see 2 Timothy 1 vs. 9.
Only by grace can we find the hope of eternal life. - see Titus 3 vs. 7; Matthew 7 vs. 14; Revelation 22 vs. 19
Verse 3: God's timing is always perfect - see 1 Timothy 2 vs. 6. His Word, brought to light, is the revealing of Christ - the light of the world - see 2 Timothy 1 vs. 10 - now preached by Paul and all those commanded by God to reveal the gospel - see 1 Timothy 1 vs. 11. The gospel is simple, even 'foolish' to some, but salvation to those who respond - see 1 Corinthians 1 vs. 20-25.
Verse 4: Titus - a true brother in Christ - see 2 Corinthians 2 vs. 13; 2 Corinthians 8 vs. 16-24.
Verse 5: Crete was reached on Paul's journey to Rome - see Acts 27 vs. 7. Elders were appointed in every place where the Church of Christ existed - see Acts 11 vs. 30; Acts 20 vs. 28 - n.b. - these Elders already existed - anointed by the Holy Spirit for this role. What Titus was to do was formally appoint them. Elders/Bishops are the same role. Elders - plural. No instance of only one Elder in a local church.
The appointing of Elders is important. The qualities we should see in Elders (which are gifts of the Holy Spirit) are not a mystery. Here, as in 1 Timothy 3 vs. 1-7, Paul outlines the criteria for appointment, so that in future, churches themselves can make appointments.
Verse 6: See 1 Timothy 3 vs. 2
Verse 7: 'Overseer' helps to describe the role of Elders/Bishops. 'Enrusted with God's work' suggests they should be reliable servants of Christ - see 1 Corinthians 4 vs. 1. These qualities are consistent with those given in 1 Tomothy 3 vs. 1-7.
Verse 8: These qualities may be recognized in others, but in the last days many will fall away from, and even deny these qualities (even within the churches). See 2 Timothy 3 vs. 1-5. 'Holy' - see Hebrews 2 vs. 11; Revelation 22 vs. 11 (the last days).
Verse 9: Holding firmly to sound doctrine - see 1 Timothy 1 vs. 19. Refuting those who oppose it - so important in the last days - see 2 Thessalonians 2 vs. 15
Verse 10: The circumcision group - those who emphasize 'the law'. This is religion steeped in tradition, where everything must be done in a certain way, because that is the way it has always been done - see 1 Timothy 1 vs. 6 and 7; James 1 vs. 26.
Verse 11: Such religion teaches anything to appease the people, rather than the gospel and sound biblical doctrine. They try to welcome everyone into their churches by appealing to what people want - anything for a bum and a purse (as my wife would say!) - see 2 Timothy 3 vs. 6 and 7; 1 Timothy 6 vs. 3-5.
Verse 12: Note: 'Cretans' were among those filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost - see Acts 2 vs. 11. Legalists will always criticize the work of the Holy Spirit.
Verse 13: Rebuking this evil of legalistic religion is imperative - see 2 Corinthians 13 vs. 10; Titus 2 vs. 2; 2 Timothy 4 vs. 2.
Verse 14: Religion speaks of myths and geneologies rahter than living by faith - see 1 Timothy 1 vs. 4. Religion teaches law, which will ultimately perish - see Colossians 2 vs. 22.
Verse 15: The only purity comes by faith - see Romans 14 vs. 14 and 23
Verse 16: The actions of the religious deny the presence and power of the Holy Spirit - see 1 John 2 vs. 4; 2 Timothy 3 vs. 5 and 7; Matthew 7 vs. 20-23.