Is it a time for you, yourself to be living in your paneled houses
Is it a time for you yourself to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains in ruins. Haggai 1:4
In 586 BC, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon destroyed Jesusalem,.. the House of the Lord was burnt down ..and people were taken as slaves to Babylon.(Jeremiah 52). In 538 BC, the conqueror of Babylon, king Cyrus of Persia, issued a decree allowing the Jews who are interested to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple.(see Ezra 1:2-4; 6:3-6) Under the leadership of Zerubabel, about 50,000 Jews returned and began work on the Temple. By 536 BC, they completed the foundation. People of Samaria and other neighbors opposed it vehemently and the work was halted. Prophet Haggai began his preaching in 520 BC. He tried to arouse the Jews from their lethargy. In 516 BC, the Temple was finished and dedicated.(Ezra 6:13-18). The messages of Haggai were given during a four month period in 520 BC.
Haggai 2:3, seems to indicate that the prophet had been in Jerusalem before the destruction of the Temple in 586 BC; means he was more than 70 years old now.
A. A call to build the House of the Lord.
Prophet Haggai’s first message to the Governor and to the High Priest was given on 29th August 520 BC. (King Darius ruled Persia from 522 to 486 BC)
a. God’s complaint about the attitude of people.
These people say, “The time has not yet come for the Lord’s house to be built”. Haggai 1:2
Most of these people were born in Babylon and had houses and jobs there. In 538 BC, they left everything because of their love for God and came to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple. They even built the foundation. Once the work was halted, their priorities changed. They all started constructing paneled houses for themselves, got busy in farming and earning. Personal prosperity became their priority. This was affecting God’s glory.
Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in paneled houses, while this house remains in ruins. Hag.1:4
b. God’s punishment.
Because they forgot God’s House and went after personal prosperity, God was punishing them.
- Planted much but harvested little, 1:6
- Ate and drank but were never enough, 1:6
- You expected much but earned less, 1:9
- You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.- earnings finishing and never enough. 1:6
- Because of you, the heavens have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld it’s produce Hag.1:10.
Haggai asking them give careful thought – what is the reason? 1:5
Reason is given. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house….” Hag.1:9.
Is it not true today? Jesus has asked us to preach the Gospel to the whole world,( Matthew 28:18-20; Mk.16:15) but even after 2000 years, the work remains unfinished. In many places, that work is abandoned. Many of us don’t even remember that commission. People are busy with the construction of their own houses. Best house, best car, best school for children, best investments, latest gadgets, costly furniture… Many are competing to construct the best house in the family, in the street, in the village and even in the country. We forget the construction of God’s House. As a result, God is withholding His blessings on many of us. Let us “give careful thought”.
B. Obedience for the construction of God’s House.
a. They obeyed the voice of the Lord. 1:12. They decided to start the construction of the Temple. Then God strengthened them with the promise, “I am with you.” Hag.1:13.
Lord stirred up their spirit and they came and began to work on the house of the Lord Almighty, their God. Hag.1:14. They started the work on September 21, 520 BC.
b. Obedience bringing blessings.
Hag. 2:15-19, God was reminding them how God punished them because of disobedience.
“From this day on I will bless you.” Hag.2:19. Because they responded to God’s voice through the prophet and started the work, God decided to release the blessings which was withheld.
Hag. 2:7-9; 21,22 says if the people of God would place God at the center of their lives, they would realise the future blessings that God had in store for His people. God will grant true blessings when we put His House first.
Is God’s House the priority in our life? Are we involved in building the House of the Lord today?
Is God and His Kingdom our priority in life or building our kingdom?
People and resources are needed in reaching the untold millions with God’s love. What could be our role or contribution?
There are thousands of villages, hundreds of cities, dozens of countries who need people to build God’s Kingdom. They need resources. What could be your role?
Let us use our time, money and resources in building GOD’S HOUSE. What are some of the concrete steps from today?
Rev. C. V. Abraham