Haggai was one of the prophets who were mentioned in Ezra chapter five. He prophesied and exhorted the children of Israel to finish building the Second Temple of God in Jerusalem. In the book of Ezra we were told that Haggai prophesied to the people, but it didn’t give us any of the details. In the book of Haggai we will learn what the message was that the LORD revealed to Haggai for the people.
(Editors Note: Deborah wanted me to tell you that “The book is still 99 cents through this weekend. After that, the price will go up”)
The name Haggai was thought to be the abbreviated form of the phrase “Festival of Yahweh.” It is believed that he may have been born on a major feast day in Israel. Haggai was one of the twelve Minor Prophets in the Hebrew Bible and the author of the book of Haggai in the Holy Bible. Haggai was the first of the three prophets, along with Zechariah and Malachi, who prophesied to the Jewish people after their return from Babylon.
In this Scripture we see that it was on the first day of the sixth month in the second year of King Darius’ reign, which would have been September, 520 B.C., when Haggai revealed the Word of the LORD to Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah and to Joshua, the high priest. At that time the children of Israel had been out of captivity and back in Jerusalem for about eighteen years, but the work of the temple had not been completed. In fact, the work on the temple had been idle for the past fourteen years.
The LORD spoke to Haggai saying that this people say that the time hasn’t come to build the house of the LORD. The people used God’s timing as their excuse for not building the temple. Notice that the LORD called them “this” people in the Scripture instead of “my” people, which indicates that He may have been frustrated with them and their excuses.
Have you ever done that with your children when they frustrated you? You may have said something to your husband like, “You will never believe what your son (or daughter) did.” It is like you’re not claiming them to be your children at the moment because you are aggravated or frustrated with them or something they did or did not do. I know I have done this before and have heard other people do it as well.
Haggai revealed the LORD’S message to Zerubbabel and Joshua. The LORD asked, “Is it time for you, who live in paneled houses, and the house of God lies in waste?” The people had built houses for themselves and their families, but they had not completed the temple. The LORD wanted them to realize why they weren’t receiving His blessings.
He told them to consider their ways, which meant for them to take a look at their lives and see if they wanted to continue down that road. He reminded them, “You have sown a lot, but you brought in little; you eat, but you don’t have enough; you drink, but you are not satisfied; you put on clothes, but you are not warm; and you work to earn wages and put it in a bag with holes in it.” They were doing all these things, but because the LORD’S blessings were not on them, all of their work was in vain.
Sometimes we do the same thing. We want to blame someone else or something else because things are not going right in our lives. In reality, we need to do as the LORD instructed Haggai and consider our ways and examine our hearts and lives to see if there is something we did or didn’t do to block the blessings of the LORD in our lives.
Haggai told them that the LORD said for them to go up to the mountain, bring wood, and build His house. He would take pleasure in it, and He would be glorified. He reminded them, “You looked for much, and it turned out to be little; and when ye brought it home, I blew on it.” The LORD asked if they wanted to know why this was happening. He told them it was because they left His house in ruins while they were all busy building their own houses.
Because of this He kept the dew from falling from the heavens, and the earth from bearing fruit. He caused a drought in the land. The drought affected the mountains, the corn, the new wine, the oil, the crops, the men, the cattle, and all the labor of their hands. In other words God was telling them, you have been doing all this work, but you haven’t prospered because you have left the house of God in shambles, so my blessings haven’t been on you and your efforts.
The people were being judged by God and they didn’t even realize it. God was trying to get their attention, but they didn’t get the message. They thought it was simply bad luck, or bad economic times, or something like that instead of realizing that they were out of the will of God.
The LORD told Haggai to tell the people that He was with them. The message that Haggai gave Zerubbabel and Joshua from God got their attention and stirred their hearts. They told the remnant of the people what the LORD told Haggai and the people all obeyed, because they feared (had respect for) the LORD. So, in the sixth month, on the twenty-fourth day, the people came together to Jerusalem to finish the building of the Temple of God.
Anytime God calls us to do a job, He will be there to support, strengthen, encourage and equip us to do what He has asks us to do. If something is not going right maybe we need to examine our hearts. We should pray and ask Him to reveal to us if there is something in our lives that we need to get right with Him. After all we all want to have His blessings on our lives and whatever we are doing. We don’t want our work to go in vain.
We are told in Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Sometimes we get our priorities out of order. We put everything else ahead of seeking God and His righteousness and then we wonder what is wrong with our lives. LORD, help us to always remember to put You first.
Excerpt from: The Book of Haggai: Consider Your Ways by Deborah H. Bateman
About the Author:
Deborah H. Bateman
Author of the books in the Daily Bible Reading Series
and Self-Publishing Simplified: How to Publish a Book on Kindle
Founder of Christian Daily Resources a Christian online ministry dedicated to “Sharing God’s Word.”
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