Summary: Background to the book of Haggai
1. “Pressures, demands, expectations, and tasks push in from all sides and assault our schedules. Do this! Be there! Finish that! Call them! It seems as though everyone wants something from us…Soon there is little left to give, as we run out of energy and time.
We find ourselves rushing through life, attending to the necessary, the immediate, and the urgent. Too often, the important is left in the dust. Our problem is not the volume of demands…but values – what is truly important to us.
Our values and priorities are reflected in how we use our resources – time, money, strength, and talent. Often our actions belie our words. We say God is number one, but then we relegate to him to a lesser number on our “to do” lists.
In 586 BC, the armies of Babylon had destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem – God’s house, the symbol of his presence with them. In 538 BC, King Cyrus decreed that Jews could return to their beloved city and rebuilt the Temple…But then they forgot their purpose and lost their priorities, as opposition and apathy brought the word to a standstill (Ezra. 4:4-5)…
The people were more concerned with their own needs than with doing God’s will and, as a result, they suffered. Then Haggai calls them to action, “Think it over,” says the Lord Almighty.” [Application Bible]
2. When the things of God get put on the back burner, we can expect things in our life to go wrong!
3. Deity is to be our Priority.
Who…the prophet Haggai.
What…preached four sermons.
Where…to the people in Judah.
When…in 520 BC.
Why…urging them to complete the rebuilding of the Temple.
Times: Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi are the three last chronological prophets in the OT history as well as the last three books in the sequence of arrangement exile. Haggai is dated about 520 BC and is contemporary with Zechariah.
Target: Haggai targeted the approximately 50,000 Jews (Ezra 2:64,65) who returned to the land after the exile. The people responded quickly to the exhortations of Haggai – faster than any other prophet had seen. Haggai and Zechariah were both cheerleaders stimulating the people to finish building their Temple.
Theme and Traits: The theme of Haggai is: Consider your priorities – put God first. In a series of sermons he calls upon the people to build the Temple.
Text: 1:4-6, no text is more needful for Americans – living in the lap of luxury, in spite of the tough days we are living in, just compare us to how many others live in this world, and yet, with all we have we are never satisfied. God’s people were then “living in paneled houses” while God’s house remained unfinished (1:4). “You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it” (1:6). How about you?”
Haggai 1:1-6 (NKJV)
1 In the second year of King Darius, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying,