Tuesday, 02 January 2024
This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways.” –Haggai 1:7
The house of the Lord was lying in ruins and the people of God was least bothered! This is the picture we get at the beginning of our reading today – but there was a message given by the prophet Haggai and a ready response to it.
The task here was the rebuilding of the temple ruined by the Babylonian invasion. The remnant from the exile came back to their homeland with much enthusiasm to rebuild it but they lost their zeal down the way and needed someone to spur them on—Haggai was chosen as the LORD’s messenger to them!
The message Haggai gave can be looked into this way:
God’s people got so busy with their own lives that they neglected the house of the Lord! They had become complacent- ‘These people say, “The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.” (V.2) They were living in fine houses while the Lord’s house was in ruins. The Lord tried to get their attention through two ways:
There was a drain: 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.”(V.6)
There was a drought: The Lord sent a drought as He caused the heavens to withhold the dew and the earth its crops (Vs.10-11) and so they experienced lack and ruin.
The leanness in their life was due to their excessive preoccupation with themselves putting aside the work of the Lord. Therefore the Lord says: “Consider your ways!” (V.7) -to consider their lives, their attitudes and activities whether it was pleasing to the Lord.
While rebuilding the temple (the center of their worship), should have become a priority they had been running their lives to suit their purposes for their betterment. So the Lord now turns their attention to the purpose of building His house! They had to get themselves to do some hard work in contributing to the building of the temple- “Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the LORD. (V.8) No matter how busy they were in their day to day activities, they were to put the Lord’s purpose first- that He would be pleased and be honored!
When the exhortation was given the leaders and the people took it in the right spirit and obeyed the voice of the Lord. Hence the word of the Lord came through Haggai: “I am with you..” (V.13) The Lord stirred their spirit for the work with the assurance of His presence. When He saw their repentant attitude, He lifted their spirits with an encouraging word that He was with them! The end result- they came and worked on the house of the Lord!
The Lord calls our attention to our lives-
· Set your 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!
· Bring in remedial measures
“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 from selfish ends and a turning to God!
· Experience the Lord’s presence
Jesus promised us: “….And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”(Matt.28:20). As we walk in His ways and do the things He puts into our hands to do, God strengthens us with His presence.
Where has been our seeking these days? May Christ Jesus and His purposes be for our lives be first! We His church are called in these last days to advance His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. May our zeal be to build His Kingdom!
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, turn my focus on You and the building of Your Kingdom. Amen
Listen: 'Build Your Kingdom Here'