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Generosity and the Glory of God
Haggai 1:13–2:9 (NIV)
Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave this message of the Lord to the people: “I am with you,” declares the Lord. 14 So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the Lord Almighty, their God, 15 on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month. In the second year of King Darius, 1 on the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: 2 “Speak to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, to Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people. Ask them, 3 ‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing? 4 But now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord. ‘Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty. 5 ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’ 6 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. 7 I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. 8 ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. 9 ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”
1. Remembering the past glory of God.
‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory?’
One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. 5 They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty— and I will meditate on your wonderful works… 17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. 18 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:4-5,17-18 (NIV)
2. Expecting the new glory of God.
‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’
Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. 2 The Lord has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations. 3 He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Psalm 98:1-2 (NIV)
I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Revelation 21:22–26 (NIV)
3. Displaying God’s glory in our serving and giving.
I am with you… Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work.’
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (NIV)
Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. 1 Timothy 6:18-19 (NIV)
Small Group Questions
CONNECT WITH GOD (Just like last week, choose between the below practices of either listening or justice. If a different practice suits your group better, I encourage you to again practice Lectio Divina from a previous week)
Rhythms of Justice and Mercy (5-7 minutes)
Read: “Perhaps the rhythm that I find most challenging and most important, however, is God’s heartbeat for justice and mercy. It doesn’t come naturally to me. God’s love for people who have been marginalized, discarded, and taken advantage of reverberates throughout the Bible…” (Deuteronomy 10:18-19, Psalm 146:7-8, Jeremiah 22:15-16, Matthew 25). https://www.crcna.org/FaithPracticesProject/justice-and-mercy/rhythms-justice-and-mercy
Reflect in writing or in prayerful contemplation: What does this quote stir in you? Has God’s priority for justice and mercy become a daily rhythm in your life? In what ways might you shift your mindset and rhythms to allow the practice of justice to become a priority in your life?
Listening to God (5-7 minutes)
Alone: In a posture of stillness and openness, come to God with the intention to listen. Pray: “Lord, I am here. Quiet the noises and voices around me. Teach me to listen for You.”
Journal: While you pray: listen and wait. Then, jot down any themes of images that come to your mind. Listening well also means listening with others and so you are encouraged to find a partner to share your experience.
CONNECT WITH EACH OTHER
Individually: Read Haggai 1:13-2:9.
- Hint: For more context, read all of Haggai (chapters 1-2)
After you read, reflect together on the passage, considering the prompts and questions below:
- What stands out to you in this passage?
- Where is there hope rising in this passage?
- What words or phrases had the most impact on you?
CONNECT WITH SCRIPTURE (Read the passages and review the sermon outline. Then select the best questions or customize the questions for your group.)
- If you haven’t already: Read Haggai 1:13-2:9.
- Read the main points from the sermon outline.
- What significance could the word “remnant” (1:14, 2:2) have for Haggai and for the context of the people of Judah and Jerusalem?
- How would you summarize the message of the LORD in this passage?
- Compare and contrast the “glory” described in verses 2:6-9. What does “the glory of the present house” mean as compared with “the glory of the former house?”
- What future time might God be describing in verses 2:6-9?
- God repeatedly declares “I am with you” (verses 1:13, 2:4). What does that promise of presence mean for the people then? What does it mean for you now?
- Why do you think God’s command to “be strong… and work” is followed by the promise “…for I am with you” (2:4)?
CONNECT WITH GOD’S MISSION IN THE WORLD (select one prompt/question for discussion)
- How do you or will you display God’s glory in how you serve and give?
- What thread and theme of hope is present in Haggai that is also present in our lives today as the church?
Take time as a group to pray for your response to God’s deep presence in your life and in our life together. Ask God how you—we—might respond to God’s faithful presence? Ask God to help us confess our shortcomings, return to the hope of God’s presence, and live in gratitude for God—who is with us.