Archive for February 1st, 2014

Haggai 1

Haggai 1 captures the “word of the Lord by the hand of Haggai” to the leaders rebuilding in Jerusalem.  You may recall from the story in Ezra that the enemies around the rebuilding of Jerusalem were challenging the effort.  They first just tried to dissuade the people from doing it, but then followed up with a challenge to the king via a letter.  But God speaks to Haggai about the situation as the leaders are trying to figure out what to do with the latest accusations.  And “the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet”. It is written this way multiple times in this chapter so we don’t miss the fact that this was from God, not man.

The prophet level sets everyone asking some hard questions.  “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.”  Things haven’t been going so well.  You work hard, but have little to show for it.  Others have taken your work and effort.  Time to stop and evaluate what is going on.

So God through Haggai says “consider your ways”.  Get up and get after building the temple.  Stop worrying about what others say, and get to work restoring the relationship with God.  Haggai tells them “the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce”.  This is the result of sitting back and leaving God’s house in ruins.  There is a price for allowing the relationship to go dormant and cold.  The people have moved away from God, and as a result there is little good happening.

But the leaders listen to Haggai and get back to work.  They are focused once again on rebuilding the city and the temple.  And God says “I am with you”.  Those had to be awesome words for the people to hear.  And as they worked in obedience, “the Lord stirred up the spirit of all the remnant of the people”.  He moved them from discouragement and frustration to excitement and obedience.  They are back on track and working together to complete the task ahead.

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