Putting God First

Downtown Church sermon from December 13, 2009 by Ken Neller on the book of Haggai.

This is part of our ongoing series called God’s Relentless Pursuit – A Study of the Minor Prophets.

Download the MP3

Small Group Discussion Questions

1. [The background for Haggai can be found in Ezra 1:1-5:2.]  Suppose you were a Jew living in Babylonian captivity for 50 years, and you had a house in Babylonia, and your children and grandchildren had been born there.  If the call for volunteers went out to return to Jerusalem in order to rebuild the temple and the city, would you volunteer to return?  Why or why not?

2. It says in Ezra 4 that there was local opposition to the rebuilding of the temple, so the people stopped.  The enemies of the Jews tried to make them afraid (Ezra 4:4).  They ceased doing God’s will and went about their “own business.”  Fifteen years later, God through Haggai tells the people “Do not fear” (Haggai 2:5).  What are some ways today in which fear causes Christians not to put God first or not to do his will?

3. Note in Haggai 1:13-2:5 the times where it says “I am with you” or “Be strong” or “Do not fear.”  Share other times you can think of in the Bible where God says similar things.  What do you do, personally, to draw on this promise of God (I am with you) to gain courage?

4. The Jews who had returned evidently thought it was OK to stop building God’s house and simply tend to their own houses and families.  God thought otherwise (Haggai 1:2-11).  What are some ways today in which the influence of our culture causes Christians not to put God first?

5. Share with the group a time in your life when you did not put God first.  What did you do to change that? In closing, pray together that God would help each of you to truly put him first in your lives.