Summary: The Message Of the Lord through Haggia was to get their priorities straight. God’s property comes first. This message is an exhortation to make God’s work a top priority.
"Back to Work or Blown Away?"
Have you ever worked your head off and found little satisfaction when it was all over? Do you feel like the more money you earn the less there seems to be? Does whatever you do feel like a chore or a bitter task with little fruit? Do you try to save, but when it comes to using what you saved or set aside, it seems to be far less than expected? Do you get to the point where even though you eat more there is less satisfaction? Well, if you found yourself answering yes to any of these questions, you may find a reason and a solution in these five little messages from the prophet Haggai.
The united kingdom of Israel had become a good sized and notorious nation under David and Solomon. Solomon’s son did not follow good advice and caused the kingdom to split into the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and the Southern kingdom (Judah). A splinter group that occurs from dissension rarely does very well and thus the Northern kingdom lived in sin their whole existence; both people and kings. In 722BC God finally culminated ample threats and prophecies of judgment when the Assyrians ravaged them and deported them out of the land. The Southern kingdom roller coastered up and down until they suffered final judgment and captivity at the hand of Babylon about 586BC. After seven difficult decades of discipline by the Lord the Jews finally relinquished their propensity to idolatry. God caused them to find favor under Persian rule and return to their own land in various caravans.
These were the remnant. These were not the same rebellion people who refused to give up their other gods. These were those who had been humbled and finally learned the lesson of trusting God along. A group of these god-fearing people returned under the leadership of Zerrubabel. Upon arrival, they immediately set up an altar to the Lord and set about to rebuild the temple. Within the year (536) the managed to restore the foundations for the temple. They had sacrificed their resources and managed to gather significant financing; nearly 5 million in gold and another half million in silver had been collected for the temple project. However, due some hardship and preoccupation with other things, construction on the temple came to a halt up till the time of Haggai and Zechariah. (520 -- a period of about 16 years)
That is the state of things at the time that God calls Haggai to address the situation. These were good people, in the right place who got sidetracked along the way. These were those used to sacrifice and hardship had left the glory of Babylon with all its wealth to start over and scratch a new world in a decimated land. Somehow, in spite of their devotion to God, they became sidetracked. God used Haggai to deliver five pointed messages delivered over a four month period to get them back on track.
I. Message One -- Consider your calendar and adjust it to God’s 1:1-2
These people had taken it upon themselves to dictate the timing for doing God’ will.
In the second year of Darius the king, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the LORD came by the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying, This is what the Lord Almighty says: "These people say, `The time has not yet come for the Lord’s house to be built.’" 1:1-2
When we ask our children to do a job we often hear, “Yea, I’ll do it latter!”
Sometimes that is all right but sometimes the timing is as crucial as the task. When we take it upon ourselves to dictate when we will do the Lord’s work, we can always find reasons to put it off a little longer and still feel spiritual about it. As long as we intend to obey, we figure God understands and is pleased. We so often judge ourselves by out intentions rather than our actions. Conviction and repentance (change) are not the same. One precedes the other. Conviction without repentance is incomplete. Delayed obedience is disobedience. We have to realize doing God’s will has as much to do with the timing as it does the task itself. It is so easy to get wrapped up in our own things that the work of the Lord gets put delayed, put aside and even forgotten.
"But my family is the work of the Lord. I have to make a living and support my family don’t I."
Yes, God has given us a ministry to our families. Remember, these people had families too. Notice, they were not refusing to work on God’s things. They just were doing it on their own time table. Time is life and life is time. Therefore it is important to do things on God’s timetable because we never know whether we even have a tomorrow or if what God asks us to do now will save our life tomorrow. God calls them to consider their calendar and His calendar. They are not always the same. We need to let God’s calendar dictate our calendar.