Summary: “Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified” Haggai 1:8.
Haggai 1:1-11 Theme: It is time to build
Text: Haggai 1:1-11
Today’s harvest is not only a call to remember the abundant blessings of God but also a call to take advantage of the unique opportunity to invest in the Kingdom of God. He has blessed us with everything we have that to please and glorify Him by building Him a sanctuary should not present any problems at all. We cannot ever give more than what God has given us. Our reading from the prophet Haggai recounts the story of what happened after the return of the Jews to Jerusalem from Babylonian captivity. God raised up a leader by name Cyrus to do His will. He not only freed them to return to their homeland but also offered them assistance to rebuild the Temple of God. God provided their needs and give them the opportunity to please and glorify Him by rebuilding the Temple. God will not demand from us what we are not capable of giving and today, like in the time of Haggai, the Lord is telling us it is time to build.
Today, just like in our Scripture reading, there is the need for believers to take stock of their current spiritual and economic circumstances. After their return the Jews began to rebuild the Temple, building the altar and laying the foundation. As soon as they faced opposition they declared it was not yet time to rebuild the Temple and stopped work. There was clearly a reluctance to persevere and obey God. In the meantime they concentrated on building their own houses and businesses. The Triumphant Presbyterian Church has also faced opposition from various sources and many members are now concentrating on building their own homes and businesses. God is speaking to us that it is time to put God first and build His house. When the Jews took stock of their circumstances they found that they lacked in spite of their hard work. God reminded the Jews in Haggai’s time that He was the cause of their lack and their hard work alone would not yield the expected harvest or success. “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” Haggai 1:6. Their problem was the result of focusing on themselves rather than on God. Today Christ is reminding us that our success lies in having our focus on Him and not on ourselves. Taking stock of their spiritual circumstances exposed their failure to honour God. A failure to honour God is always the result of a wrong focus on self rather than on God. We can only honour God when He comes first in our lives. This is the only way we get to know His will and obey Him. Failure to honour God deprives us of His presence and His blessings.
God desires a house of prayer and worship. In the Old Testament it was a place of sacrifice where innocent blood of animals was shed to cover their sin and point to the ultimate sacrifice of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Today it is a place where we partake of the Holy Sacraments. The Holy Communion to remember the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and all the benefits and blessings that have been made available to us. When we understand the enormity of Christ’s provision and the abundance of His blessings, we will recognise that we can never give God more than He has given us and see our giving as an act of worship. Today we are being given the opportunity to worship God with our substance. The land to build the sanctuary on is available. I believe the money is also available. Unfortunately the money is still in your pockets or at your homes or in the bank. Let us change our priorities today and put God first as we build His house.
Believers need the house of God. It is a place of worship. In the Old Testament the Temple manifested the visible presence and glory of God. God’s glory was visibly present at the dedication of Solomon’s Temple and resided in the Holy of Holies. Today the presence of God is in every believer in the person of the Holy Spirit. The Church provides a gathering place for believers to worship the Lord. One of Satan’s primary goals is to prevent the gathering of believers to keep their focus on themselves rather than on God. The house of God to be built will shift the focus of believers back to God, the source of our abundant life. The abundant life is a life of victory in the power of the Holy Spirit. This requires a revelation of the truth that is often revealed in the Church. A reliance on the truth of God’s revealed word in the power of the Holy Spirit will always result in the manifestation of God’s glory. The house of God is a place for nurturing believers to attain spiritual maturity. We are approaching the time when the Church will manifest the life of Christ declaring in the words of Paul “I have been crucified with Christ, and I live; yet no longer I, but Christ lives in me. And that life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith toward the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself on my behalf” Gal 2:20