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‘A MESSAGE WITH A MISSION’

Friday, 16 February, 2018

Haggai 1 : 1-15

‘Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave this message of the LORD to the people: “I am with you,” declares the LORD.’ –Haggai 1:13

The Book of Haggai begins with a call to build the house of the LORD. At it centre lies the theme of restoration- more specifically the restoration of the temple which had been ruined by the Babylonian invasion. The remnant from the exile came with much enthusiasm to rebuild it but they lost their zeal down the way and needed someone to spur them on to the work—Haggai was chosen as the LORD’s messenger to them!

The message in our text, Haggai had for the leaders and people can be looked into this way:

An Exposure of their Problem
God’s people had become complacent- “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.’”(vs.2). They were living in fine houses while the Lord’s house was in ruins. Rebuilding the temple, the centre of their worship should have become a priority for them but they were engaged in activities for their betterment. Though they toiled, the fruit of their toil didn’t bring them satisfaction- “…And he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes.”(vs6)

An Exhortation to Act
The Lord tells them through the prophet: “Consider your ways!” (vs.7)- a time of stock-taking! -to consider their lives, their attitudes and activities whether it was pleasing to the Lord. They were running their lives to suit their purposes and it was reflected in the leanness they experienced- they faced a drought! So the exhortation given was to turn their focus to some hard work in bringing in the materials for building the temple.

An Encouragement for their work
When the exhortation was given the leaders and the people took it in good spirit and they obeyed the voice of the Lord. Hence the word of the Lord came through Haggai: “I am with you..”(vs.13) The Lord stirred their spirit for the work with the assurance of His presence. The end result- they came and worked on the house of the Lord! The Lord did not leave them on a guilt trip of their wrong attitude and ways, when He saw their repentant attitude, He lifted their spirits with an encouraging word that He was with them!

What lessons does this text have for us today?

We are to set our priorities right! Jesus taught us: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”(Matt.6:33) When we put God first, everything else will fall in place! A time for retrospection: Where has been our seeking these days?
We have to put the remedial measures in place when we are warned by the Lord or His servants or His Word. “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord…”(Acts 3:19). A turning away and a turning to God!
We will experience the Lord’s presence as we walk in His ways and do the things He puts into our hands to do. Jesus promised us: “….And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”(Matt.28:20). God strengthens us through encouragement!
May we have Christ Jesus at the centre of our lives— seek to live in ways pleasing to Him and engage in tasks He assigns us in fulfilment to His plans and purpose for our lives! On a broader note we His church are called in these last days to advance His Kingdom that His rule will extend to the earth as it is in heaven. May our zeal be to build His Kingdom!

PRAYER: “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”(Matthew 6:9,10)

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