If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: 2 Chronicles 13, Revelation 3, Haggai 1, John 2. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can’t do all the readings today, read Haggai 1.
As you no doubt have noticed, most of the prophets we’ve read prophesied judgment was coming for Israel or Judah or both. Haggai was one of the prophets who spoke the Lord’s word after his people were returned from exile.
Here in chapter 1, the Lord challenged the people through Haggai for returning to the land and building their own houses (v. 4) but doing nothing to rebuild the temple (v. 2, 4). Their reasoning for this was, “’The time has not yet come....’” Undoubtedly there was still a lot of work to be done in Jerusalem. A city that has been destroyed by the Babylonians would take a long time to rebuild. Their plan, however, suggested wrong priorities. Instead of understanding that their security and prosperity were consequences of faith in and obedience to God, they believed that taking care of business was most important and then, “we’ll get to the Lord’s work when things are humming along nicely again.”
Verses 5-11 explained the outcome of their misplaced priorities. Though they had worked hard (“planted much”) they were struggling to make ends meet (“harvest little... earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it” (v. 6)). This was all the Lord’s doing as he explained in verses 9-10: “‘What you brought home, I blew away. Why?’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops.’” Through Haggai, then, the Lord taught his people to change their priorities and see worship as far more important by rebuilding the temple (v. 8).
Unlike the past, God’s people at this time received the message of the Lord’s prophet (v. 12). Their resolve to rebuild the temple and their obedience to that intention (v. 14) was met with the Lord’s favor: “I am with you” (v. 13b).
What struggles are you facing now? Work problems or business struggles? Rebellious children? Strained friendships? A too-tight budget at home? Maybe this is just the Lord’s will for you now to teach you patience and strengthen your faith. But, have you considered that maybe the Lord is holding too low a priority in your life? You’re working harder than ever but that leaves less time for prayer and Bible reading. You’re trying to spend more time with your kids but that means you’re choosing recreation over church attendance frequently. Consider the frustrations you face in your life might be the Lord’s discipline in your life and that this passage is calling you to reassess your priorities and put more attention into your walk with God. Then, do what it takes to give the Lord his proper place. It may seem tough to find time to rebuild your walk with God but remember the Lord’s encouraging promise: “‘I am with you,’ declares the Lord.”
Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we’ll talk scripture again tomorrow.