June 9, 2019 – Haggai 2

Lesson Date: June 9, 2019

Focal Scripture Passage: Haggai 2:1-19

AIM: To lead students to discover the promises God made to the Jews as well as the internal problem they still had, and to examine their lives to see if they lack personal holiness.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Haggai 2 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Prepare the index cards described in the “Conclusion” step. Write the following on the marker board or chalkboard:

Wedding Day

The Foundation for a New House

College Graduation

First Day on a New Job

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Read the phrases written on the board, and then ask the class if they recognize anything common to all of them. Ask: “What do these events say about the future?” (all of those events hold promise for the future – they promise that something new and exciting and good is coming).

Tell the students that building a new house is an example of this. The sight of the lot being cleared, the foundation being poured, and the structure starting to go up promises that good things are coming in the future. Ask: “What if the contractor used rotten building materials to build your new house?” (the structure would not be sound and you would have problems for years to come).

Tell the class in today’s lesson we will see that the Jews received some wonderful promises for the future, but they still had an underlying problem that needed to be addressed.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Remind the class that we are studying the Old Testament book of Haggai.
    • Ask: “What did you learn about in last week’s lesson?” (the ancient Jews left the Temple unfinished for sixteen years; Haggai rebuked them for their sin and selfishness, after which they got back to work).
    • Remind the students that many of the Jews’ problems were brought on by their disobedience and unwillingness to serve God.
    • Ask if any volunteer would be willing to recite last week’s memory verse (Hag. 1:7)
    • Ask: “Did you consider your ways this week and recommit yourself to serving God unselfishly?”
  2. God’s Questions.
    • Read Haggai 2:1-2.
    • Explain that the date was October of 520 c. (refer to the Timeline of Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, which was attached to last week’s lesson).
    • Ask: “What did God tell Haggai to do?” (deliver a message to Zerubbabel the governor, Joshua the high priest, and the people).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Haggai 2:3.
    • Tell the class in that verse God asked three questions.
    • Ask: “What was the first question?” (“Who among you saw the original Temple?”).
    • Explain that Solomon’s Temple had been destroyed 66 years earlier, so only a few very old people were present who remembered it.
    • Ask: “What was God’s second question?” (“What do you think of the new Temple?”).
    • Ask: “What was the third question?” (“Doesn’t this new Temple look like nothing compared to the old one?”).
    • Tell the class this was exactly the reaction of the old men recorded in Ezra 3:12.
    • Explain that since the Ark of the Covenant – symbolizing God’s presence – had been lost, the people and priests thought the new Temple could never be as glorious as its predecessor.
    • Summarize: God, through Haggai, questioned the people about the new Temple. They didn’t think it could ever be as glorious as the previous Temple.
  3. God’s Promises.
    • Read Haggai 2:4.
    • Tell the class that God told Zerubbabel, Joshua, and the people to be strong.
    • Ask: “What did God promise in that verse?” (“I am with you”).
    • Erase the board and write the words, “God’s Promises” across the top.
    • Write, “I Am With You” on the board, and tell the class this is the first of six promises God made to the Jews.
    • Tell the students to listen for five more promises, as a volunteer reads Haggai 2:5-9.
    • Ask them to name the promises they heard. Write those promises on the board. They should name the following:
      • God’s Spirit will Remain Among Them (v. 5).
      • He will Shake the Heavens, the Earth, and all Nations (v. 6-7).
      • God will Send the Messiah (“the desire of all nations” – v. 7).
      • He will Fill the New Temple with More Glory than the First (v. 7 & 9).
      • God will give Peace (v. 9).
    • Explain that the phrase, “desire of all nations” refers to the Messiah, Jesus Christ. People of all tribes and tongues and nations are drawn to Him for salvation.
    • The glory of the second Temple was greater than the first because the Lord Jesus Christ – God in human flesh – walked its courts and preached the glorious gospel of grace.
    • Jesus Christ is the only true source of peace. God gives peace to everyone who comes to Christ in faith.
    • Summarize: God made six very special promises to the people, including the promise that His Son Jesus Christ would one day come to that Temple.
  4. Problems Within the People.
    • Tell the class these were wonderful promises, but there was an inner rottenness among the people that needed to be addressed.
    • Read Haggai 2:10.
    • Tell the class the date was December of 520 c.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Haggai 2:11-13.
    • Haggai was to ask the priests two questions. Explain those two questions:
      • If something that is holy (ritually clean, sanctified, set apart for God) touches something that is not holy, does that make the unholy thing become holy? The priests answered “No.”
      • If someone who is ritually unclean touches something clean (holy), does that make the clean thing become unclean? The priests answered that it does make it unclean.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Haggai 2:14.
    • Ask: “What did God say about the people, their works, and the offerings they brought to Him?” (He said the Jews were unholy, so everything they touched was unholy; because of this their offerings were unclean).
    • Summarize: In spite of God’s goodness and wonderful promises, the people were still unclean and unholy. That’s because the only way to holiness is through Jesus Christ.
  5. A Warning and Another Promise.
    • Read Haggai 2:15-19.
    • God told them to examine their condition, brought about by their lack of holiness.
    • He said their unholiness affected them materially, just as their lack of obedience and selfishness (described in chapter 1) affected them during the 16 years they abandoned the Temple building project.
    • Tell the students when we face difficulties, trials, and reversals in life we ought to stop and examine ourselves to see if God might be trying to get our attention. God is far more interested in our eternal well being than in our immediate comfort.
    • Ask: “What promise did God make to them in verse 19?” (He Promised to Bless Them). Add this to the list on the board.
    • Summarize: The people had a problem with unholiness and uncleanness, which hurt them materially as well as personally. Because of His great mercy and love, however, God promised to bless them.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Review God’s promises to the Jews by reading the list on the board. These are wonderful promises, but God also pointed out a problem. Ask: “What was that problem?” (their lack of personal holiness).

Tell the students God has also made many wonderful promises to us, but we have the same problem as the ancient Jews – we are not holy (set apart for God, unspotted by the world). Ask: “What can you do about your lack of personal holiness?” Christians should strive to live separated from the pollutions of our wicked world. Lead a brief discussion about how Christians can try to be holy.

Tell the class it is impossible for anyone to be truly holy and pleasing in God’s sight without a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. No one can ever be holy without knowing Jesus Christ as Savior. That is the only remedy for the rottenness we all have within. Encourage any who have never trusted Christ for salvation to do so now. Lead a closing prayer, in which you give students the opportunity to repent of their sins and ask Jesus to save them.

 

CONCLUSION: Encourage the students to memorize Haggai 2:9, and to find and memorize some Bible promises this week. Give them each an index card on which you have written the question, “Have I tried to live a holy, separated life today?” Ask them to put the card on their nightstand or bathroom mirror, and to ask themselves that question every night this week.

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