(squeezed in between the two Z's)
This morning I decided to take my Bible and my breakfast onto the deck in the sun. What a wonderful addition to our home it has been!
We’re really looking forward to Summer this year, entertaining and sharing time with others on the deck will be great!
A friend said that he was preaching on Haggai this coming Sunday and it got me thinking that I’d never really read the book of Haggai. So, knowing it was quite short I decided that I would study that this morning.
Here is what I learned:
Haggai and Zechariah have been commissioned by the Lord to instruct the people to a) rebuild the temple and b) get some order back into their spiritual lives.
The destruction and absence of the temple meant the departure of God’s glory (Ezekiel 8-11). Therefore the rebuilding of the temple would mean the return of God’s presence.
The people were in a time of economic hardship; they were therefore selfishly concerned with their own homes and lifestyles rather than the restructure of the temple for the Lord. Their neighbours were discouraging them against building, (Ezra 4:1-5) and so their priorities stood with themselves.
Isn't this true of ourselves also, when we are not close with God, the order in our lives is lost and chaos ensues. With chaos comes a lack of joy and bitterness.
Haggai 1:4-9 outlines this lack of correct priorities; the people were living in their homes comfortably while the house of the Lord stood unfinished.
Verse 8 instructs the people to go up into the mountains and bring down timber to build the house of the Lord. God is asking them to collect timber, a wooden temple to be built is quite the contrast to the original temple built by Solomon.
God explains through Haggai that he has not blessed them with rich crops because of their disobedience and lack of concern for God’s temple.
This can be a warning to us, to not pursue selfish endeavours ahead of spending time reading God’s word and in prayer with him. Just as the people needed to have their priorities corrected, we too must correct our priorities and ensure that we are putting our spiritual welfare first in our lives.
Verse 12 sees the people obey the Lord and accept the message he had sent them through Haggai the prophet. Haggai gives them a new message, “I am with you,” declares the Lord. The people had responded in repentance, beginning to rebuild and now this new message spurred them on further.
Chapter 2 discusses the return of God’s glory to the people and the promised glory of the New House. Haggai comes with another message from the Lord, the message is one of encouragement and is particularly aimed at the governor of Judah, Zerubbabel, and at Joshua, the high priest.
In verse 3 he speaks of Solomon’s temple being of far greater splendour compared to what it is like now. However, in v 4 he counters this with his command to ‘be strong’. God assures them of his convenant promises and declares that he is with them. He promises in v6-9 a temple far more glorious than this ‘in a little while’.
As a result of their obedience in completing the temple, God promises to bless them hereafter v19. He reminds them what their situation was like before they completed the temple, with a lack of crops and reduced wages. He tells them to give careful thought to the date they laid the foundations of the Lord's temple. God is showing that from that day forward they will see a distinct change in their lives, some of which will be seen directly through their crops.
In summary, God, through Haggai the prophet has made it clear that when we, His people put our own selfish desires before God, we will not receive the blessings which He has in store for us. However, when God’s people put their trust in Him and do as He commands, they are renewed and will find new joy in His blessings.
This 2nd smallest book in the OT has shown me that even though I’m not rebuilding the temple of the Lord in a physical sense as the people here were. I am a part of the body of Christ and the living temple of God, I am here by God’s grace to share God’s Word with others. A question I ask myself and perhaps you might ask yourself is; Am I seeking to build up His living temple? Am I sharing His love and His Word with those around me?
As the people here were being sidetracked by their own endeavours, I am often sidetracked with things I would ‘rather’ do. To confess a few... facebook, sewing, cooking, TV, going to bed early, sleeping in late and ‘relaxing’ are all things that I all too often put ahead of spending time with God.
Psalm 37:4-6 says, “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”
Well, it is sometime between dawn and noon and the sun is certainly shining!
I hope this short book for a Friday morning can be of help in your walk with God.