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Sep 26, 2021

Fess up.

Fess up.

Passage: Haggai 2:10-19

Speaker: Patrick Lafferty

Series: Rebuild - Haggai

Keywords: repent, holy, blessing, clean, food, unclean, effort

Some efforts to rebuild require something more than--something prior to--simply restoring what’s been lost due to time or neglect. The foundation of a project may need a new foundation in those who undertake it. Haggai is holding up a mirror to Israel to reflect on who it is and how that affects all it does. Even millennia later and in a vastly different moment, perhaps the same move is worthy one for us?

Readings & Scriptures

PREPARATION: Psalm 139:7-10, 23-24
LEADER: Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.

ALL: Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!

CENTRAL TEXT: Haggai 2:10-19
Hag. 2:10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, 11 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: Ask the priests about the law: 12 ‘If someone carries holy meat in the fold of his garment and touches with his fold bread or stew or wine or oil or any kind of food, does it become holy?’” The priests answered and said, “No.” 13 Then Haggai said, “If someone who is unclean by contact with a dead body touches any of these, does it become unclean?” The priests answered and said, “It does become unclean.” 14 Then Haggai answered and said, “So is it with this people, and with this nation before me, declares the LORD, and so with every work of their hands. And what they offer there is unclean. 15 Now then, consider from this day onward. Before stone was placed upon stone in the temple of the LORD, 16 how did you fare? When one came to a heap of twenty measures, there were but ten. When one came to the wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were but twenty. 17 I struck you and all the products of your toil with blight and with mildew and with hail, yet you did not turn to me, declares the LORD. 18 Consider from this day onward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month. Since the day that the foundation of the LORD’S temple was laid, consider: 19 Is the seed yet in the barn? Indeed, the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have yielded nothing. But from this day on I will bless you.”

BENEDICTION: Based on 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
LEADER: Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

All: Let us go forth to serve the world and build up his church as those who love our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Leader: The peace and holiness of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

All: And also with you.


  • Deuteronomy 30:15-20
  • **Psalm 139:23-24
  • Isaiah 1:18
  • Isaiah 29:13 / Matthew 15:8 / Mark 7:6
  • Ezekiel 18:25-32
  • Matthew 5:48
  • Colossians 3:12-17
  • James 5:16


  1. Ever start a project and then find you had to start all over because something important was missing?
  2. What might Haggai be getting at in those two hypothetical cases in verse 11-14?
  3. How does that little dual parable apply to Israel?
  4. To flesh out the implications of that parable: why do external practices serve our internal realities, but can never be a substitute for them? And why must we reckon with the fact that what we conceal in private will almost invariably have an effect on what we do in public?
  5. What do you think of Haggai’s claim (on behalf of God) that God himself has actively frustrated their efforts to live without reference to Him? 
  6. Do a little exercise: try to put in your own words what verse 19 is out to say. You’re encouraged to paraphrase the preceding parts, too, if it helps.
  7. Re-read the short dual parable in the early part of the passage. How does the gospel both agree with and yet also offer a powerful variation of what’s being said there?
  8. With the words of Jesus from Matthew 7:1-5 in our heads as we seek to answer these questions: what do you see in the church at-large it may need to repent of in order to continue in faithfulness? Now answer the question as it may apply to GMR? Finally, what of you?


  • We see young evangelicals walking away not because they do not believe what the church teaches, but because they believe the church itself does not believe what it teaches. Russell Moore
  • Old Mother Hubbard
    Went to the cupboard,
    To give the poor dog a bone:
    When she came there,
    The cupboard was bare,
    And so the poor dog had none. “Old Mother Hubbard” c. 19th century
  • Read not the Times. Read the Eternities. Henry David Thoreau
  • Some people believe that man is divine, like kind of a hippie idea. I can’t believe that because I know my own heart, and I know that’s not true. Other people believe that we’re wretched like the cynics or the atheists would believe we’re all just wretched nothingness, just animals, just creatures. I can’t believe that. It doesn’t make any sense, that we’re just beasts. I will say that Christianity has this interesting compromise where we’re both divine and wretched, and there’s this Middle Man that’s the Savior, that through Him we can become divine, but we’re born wretched. I kind of like that one, because it sort of makes sense. Norm MacDonald (d. Sept, 14, 2021)
  • Late have I loved you, beauty so old and so new: late have I loved you. And see, you were within and I was in the external world and sought you there, and in my unlovely state I plunged into those lovely created things which you made. You were with me, and I was not with you. The lovely things kept me far from you, though if they did not have their existence in you, they had no existence at all. You called and cried out loud and shattered my deafness. You were radiant and resplendent, you put to flight my blindness. You were fragrant, and I drew in my breath and now pant after you. I tasted you, and I feel but hunger and thirst for you. You touched me, and I am set on fire to attain the peace which is yours. - Augustine


  • The Bible Project’s summary of Haggai