Friday, June 13, 2014

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday June 15, 2014

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HOPE FOR A NEW DAY
(GOD’s power shows through us when we live in the SPIRIT)
(Haggai 2:20-23 & Zechariah 4:5-14)

In Haggai chapter 2, verses 20-23, we see the fourth message of the prophet Haggai. It is a messianic prophecy for Zerubbabel, the son of Sheathiel, and the governor of Judah at that time. Zerubbabel was a man who lived in the SPIRIT, and always tried to follow the instructions of the LORD, and the LORD is always faithful to reward those who are obedient to HIS instructions.
In this particular passage, the LORD sends a fourth message to Haggai. It is the second that was directed to Zerubbabel overall, and the only one that was directed to him specifically, and personally (also see Haggai 2:1-9). Here the LORD tells HIS faithful servant that after HE overturns and destroys the royal thrones of the world, HE will honor him, and treat him like a “signet ring” on HIS finger.
In other words, HE will use Zerubbabel’s life and service as an example to the nation of Israel, of how a leader should conduct himself under GOD. Zerubbabel’s leadership represented closely, the “express image” of what GOD expects from those who desire, and are called, to lead HIS people. HE had chosen Zerubbabel as the channel through which HE would continue the “Davidic Line” that was interrupted by Jehoiachin.
The other significance of comparing Zerubbabel to a signet ring, “a seal of royal approval”, is clarified by the imagery in Jeremiah 22:24-25, regarding GOD’s denouncement of King Jehoiachin as HIS signet ring. Here Haggai is likely indicating that, through Zerubbabel, GOD was reversing the curse that HE had exacted towards Jehoiachin several decades earlier, allowing him to be taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar into Babylon.
Having used the words “on that day” (v.23), actually steers this prophecy to a future date and does not suggest that Zerubbabel himself would ever rule as king. Instead, it points to a fulfillment that would be realized in the Messianic Age of CHRIST JESUS. However, Zerubbabel is clearly seen as exercising his role, in the line of David that is just as important as that of any GODly Davidic King.
In Zechariah 4, in the Prophet Zechariah’s “vision of the gold lampstand and the two olive trees” (his fifth vision), the interpreting angel awakens him and directs his attention to a solid gold lampstand that was similar to the ones that were used in the temple. This complex vision contains several symbols;

·         The Lampstand – represents the abundance of GOD’s power through the HOLY SPIRIT.
·         The seven lamps represent the eyes of the LORD, which searches all around the world.
·         The two olive trees – represent the priestly and royal offices.
·         The two branches – represent Joshua and Zerubbabel, or can be anyone who assists GOD here on earth.
·         The two golden pipes that pour out golden oil – represent the SPIRIT’s abundant power flowing to GOD’s servants here on earth.
Here GOD promises the GODly leaders of that day, and now, that, although they were lacking in human resources of wealth and manpower, HIS HOLY SPIRIT would supply them with the physical, financial, and spiritual strength they would need to complete the task of the work on the House of GOD, a task that HE had personally assigned them to do.    
Zechariah 4, verse 6, which states, “It is not by force nor by strength, but by MY SPIRIT, says the LORD” (NLT), remains one of the most challenging and encouraging verses of Scripture ever written. It reminds us, down through the ages, that we rely not on our own strength, ability, or human ingenuity, but rather, on the HOLY SPIRIT of the Almighty GOD, our SAVIOR through JESUS CHRIST. There is no room in the Church for “human ingenuity”.
Due to our pride in what we do well, it is easy to become discouraged when we see how little we can do, or have to do, with the operations and functioning of the Christian Church. In those days in Judah, the temple that GOD was asking the people to erect paled in comparison to the magnificent edifice that King Solomon had constructed years earlier. However, we should rejoice in “small beginnings” which lead to larger promises from GOD (v.10).
When we step out faithfully to perform the small things that GOD calls us to do, invariably, they lead to even bigger, better things that will ultimately lead to eternal and total fulfillment in CHRIST. The LORD always purifies people so that they might glorify HIM in the end. HE supplies us with abundant power and energy to complete the task that HE calls us to do, and HE will remain with us until, and after, that task is completed. GOD’s power shows through us when we live in the SPIRIT.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander  





                                 
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