Haggai is one of the post-exilic prophets who spoke to those returning from exile in Babylon. Haggai’s messages begin the second year of King Darius’ reign in approximately 520 B.C. Babylon had been defeated by King Cyrus in 539 B.C.
The Persian Empire was in control in those days, and the Israelites had been allowed to return to their homeland. From what God says through Haggai, it appears the people are still living selfishly and not putting God in first position. His temple still lies in ruins.
Haggai’s message from God is meant to wake up the people. Whoever started the “rumor” that it wasn’t time to rebuild the temple got it wrong. Perhaps they were simply lazy realizing the enormous job it would be. We learn their first priority was to build luxurious homes for themselves to enjoy. Had they forgotten God again?
The LORD reveals his control of the situation. If the people wondered why their crop returns were so bad, it was God. Did they have a nagging feeling that something was missing? The LORD says, “You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes!” Have you ever felt like something is missing in your life?
I can only imagine that people who don’t have a relationship with Jesus feel like that all the time. They lead lives that are “happy enough” and may even enjoy success on a human level. But are they ever “satisfied?” What do they do with the empty feeling inside wanting to belong to something bigger than themselves?
It’s that emptiness that drives people to sin. It happens when we attempt to stuff the wrong things into our lives, thinking we’ll finally be happy. Stuff will not make us happy long term. But when that hunger or need is left unsatisfied, it’s easy to believe just one more gadget or life experience will make a difference.
There is a remedy. Putting God first in the place of honor he belongs. The people in Haggai’s day didn’t realize that rebuilding the temple would please God so much. God didn’t want his house to be left in ruin. That showed no respect from his people. God wanted to be recognized and be number one in the hearts of his people. If the people only knew how much God wanted to shower them with blessings.
The same is true today. Does God come first in your life? The evil one does a great job of trying to distract us with busyness and worry, both of which crowd out the place God should rule in our lives. Take some time today to think of one thing you could change in your daily routine to show God how important he is to you. Then get ready for his blessings to flow.
Let’s pray. LORD forgive me for not always putting your first. I can come up with all sorts of excuses, but you know they are weak, and I fall short. This example of not rebuilding your temple really spoke to me today. I want to do everything I can to show you how much I love you. Thank you for taking the lead in my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.