HOW DID YOU SEE GOD THIS WEEK AS YOU FOLLOWED HIM?

How are people feeling as we enter this new year in light of all the events happening in our country this past week? (Stress that it’s okay to feel sad, anxious, mad, etc…) Pray before you begin that we can bring all our burdens before God and ask for God’s peace to rest upon all the members of your group.

WHAT DID GOD SAY IN HIS WORD?

Opening Question:

Have you ever had high hopes about something only to have those expectations be dashed?

The remnant who returned to Jerusalem in 520 BC felt disappointed with the rebuilding of the Temple. The older exiles remembered Solomon’s magnificent temple that had been destroyed and felt discouraged with the current work. Let’s read what the prophet Haggai said to strengthen their faith and hope.

1 In the seventh month, on the twenty-first day of the month, the word of the LORD came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, 2 "Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to all the remnant of the people, and say, 3 'Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Is it not as nothing in your eyes? 4 Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, declares the LORD. Be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the LORD. Work, for I am with you, declares the LORD of hosts, 5 according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not. 6 For thus says the LORD of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. 7 And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the LORD of hosts. 8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the LORD of hosts. 9 The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the LORD of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the LORD of hosts.'" (Haggai 2:1-9 ESV)

Reflect Together:

  • What words are repeated in this passage? (“Be strong” &“declares the Lord of hosts”)

  • Where else are these words used in the Bible? (Joshua son of Nun was exhorted with similar words when he led the Israelites into the promised land. David used these words when he encouraged Solomon to build the earlier Temple. The same God who led them to the promised land under Joshua and helped Solomon build the first temple, will empower them).

  • How does Haggai refer to God? (In ESV: “Lord of hosts” In NIV: the “Lord Almighty.” In v. 5, Haggai reminds them of the covenant of God and how he brought them out of Egypt. In the OT, God is often referred to as the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt. There is an echo of that here. And the same Spirit remains on them, so they need not fear).

  • What does it mean that God will fill this house with glory and that it will be greater than the glory of the former house? (Ultimately Jesus would be present there. Glory can refer to material splendor or to the presence of God.)

WHAT DID GOD SAY TO ME THROUGH HIS WORD?

What words spoke to your heart from this passage today? (For example: be strong, do not fear, my Spirit is with you, I will grant you peace, fill in the blank.)s

How does this promise of God granting greater glory (His presence) and peace in the temple make you feel? (Each of us is a temple of the Holy Spirit where His peace and presence dwells. See 1 Corinthians 6:19).

WHAT DOES GOD WANT ME TO DO ABOUT IT?

What work is God wanting to encourage you to do? How can we partner with God to rebuild what has been broken in our world?