A Day of Small Things

Text: Haggai 2:1-9

 

I.         As Israel began to return from seventy years of captivity, there was great excitement

            A.        Zerubbabel lead the first wave of less than 50,000 people back to Jerusalem.

                        1.         There was a lot of work to do because Jerusalem was completely destroyed.

                        2.         But worship restarted immediately - Ezra 3:3-4

            B.        The next year work began on the foundation for the temple - Ezra 3:9-11

                        1.         It was wonderful and sad at the same time because it just wasn’t what it used to be - Ezra 3:12-13

                        2.         However, they met with local resistence to the project - Ezra 4:1-5

                        3.         Eventually those opposed to the rebuilding of Jerusalem got a government order to stop work on the Temple - Ezra 4:17-23

                        4.         In the stoppage, people began focusing on their own homes and farms. The initial enthusiasm has waned.

                        5.         So only about a year was spent on the Temple.

            C.        The prophet Haggai came about 14 years later to stir the people back up

                        1.         Work started, but after a month people became discouraged. The temple would never be like the glory of Solomon’s temple

                        2.         Haggai again stirred the people up - Haggai 2:1-9

            D.        Zechariah delivered a message about the same time - Zechariah 4:6-10

                        1.         The Jews were despised. They have been beaten down. Their land is in ruins; all its wealth is gone. Only a small portion of the population even returned.

                        2.         They are working, but the problems are great and they just don’t have the resources to put things back.

                        3.         Yet God works through small things. Glory would come through those small things, glory that will prove to the world and Israel that God accomplishes His will

II.        Big things are accomplished through small steps

            A.        The lesson of the ant is that significant results come from small things - Proverbs 6:6-11

            B.        We have a false tendency to ignore or discount small actions

                        1.         Actions like giving a cup of water - Matthew 10:40-42

                        2.         A chat with a stranger might seem like a small thing. But consider Jesus’ talk with a Samaritan woman at a well. The result was the conversion of a town - John 4:27-29, 39-42

            C.        Many churches start in homes - I Corinthians 16:19; Colossians 4:15; Philemon 1-2

                        1.         This is what Jesus said would happen to the church - Matthew 13:31-33

            D.        A little salt makes a big difference - Matthew 5:13

III.       God chooses to work through things the world overlooks - I Corinthians 1:27-29

            A.        God often doesn’t want the mighty to accomplish His tasks - Matthew 11:25

            B.        Eight people building an ark to save the world - I Peter 3:20

            C.        How often has God used single, seemingly insignificant people to turn the world upside down? - Hebrews 11:32-40

            D.        The glory is that God always accomplishes His Will, despite the seeming impossibilities of the odds - Isaiah 55:11

            E.        God’s power is shown in weakness - II Corinthians 12:7-10

IV.      God’s people have never been numerous - Matthew 7:13-14

            A.        Seven thousand faithful in all Israel - I Kings 19:14-18

            B.        Only a small number returned from captivity, but Isaiah said they would take root and grow - Isaiah 37:31-32

            C.        Only a small number of Jews became Christians - Romans 11:1-6

            D.        It is because of the small number that we realize that people are not saved because of their ability.

            E.        Of the seven churches in Asia, it is the weak church in Philadelphia that no fault is mentioned - Revelation 3:8-10

                        1.         And it is this church whose members would become pillars in God’s temple - Revelation 3:12

V.        I may be small and despised, but there is a might big God behind me - Psalms 119:141

            A.        He cares and protects even the smallest - Matthew 18:1-5

            B.        No one here is unimportant - I Corinthians 12:14-26

            C.        If you are not yet a member, you are needed

            D.        If you are a member, don’t deceive yourself that you are not needed