Summary: In this new Year, we need to prioritize our lives just as the Jewish exiles needed to do upon their return to Judah.
Priorities, Priorities, Priorities
Intro. A husband and wife were attending a county fair where, for twenty dollars a person, a man was giving rides in an old airplane. The couple wanted to go up but they thought twenty dollars a person was too expensive so they tried to negotiate a lower price. “We’ll pay you twenty dollars for both of us,” they said to the pilot. “After all, we’ll both have to squeeze into that tiny cockpit that was built for only one person.”The pilot refused to lower his fare, but he made a counter offer. He suggested, “Pay me the full price of twenty dollars each, and I’ll take you up. If you don’t say one word during the flight, I’ll give you all your money back.” The couple agreed and got into
the plane. Up they went and the pilot proceeded to perform every trick he knew, looping and whirling and flying upside down and lots more. Finally, when the plane had landed,
the pilot said to the husband, “Congratulations! Here’s your money back; you didn’t say a single word.” To which the man replied, "Nope, but you almost got me when my
wife fell out.”
. It seems his priorities were a little skewed.
. A group of friends went deer hunting and paired off in two’s for the day. That night one of the hunters returned alone, staggering under the weight of a 200 pound deer. The other hunters asked, “Where’s Bob?” The lone man said, “Oh, he had a stroke of some kind, he’s a couple of miles back up the trail.” The other hunters were shocked and asked why he left Bob laying there to carry the deer instead. “It was a tough call,” the hunter said, “but I figured no one was going to steal Bob.”
. One more
. A farmer ran this classified ad in the Quay County Sun: “Farmer with 160 irrigated acres wants marriage-minded woman with a tractor. When replying, please send picture of the tractor.”
. This gentleman certainly knew where his priorities lay.
. We are continuing our month of renewal and restoration and resolve.
. Last week we looked at choices, choices, choices.
. This week we will look at priorities, priorities, priorities.
. Our scripture this morning is in Haggai chapter 1. Unlike last week when we looked at 20 verses of scripture, this morning we will look at four.
. A little background before we read.
. The Hebrew people were a defeated people. The Northern kingdom of Israel had been defeated and 136 years later, the Southern Kingdom of Judah was defeated and the city of Jerusalem and the temple of God lay in ruins.
. The Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar had defeated the southern kingdom and dispersed the Jewish people throughout the Babylonian empire. Many had been brought back to Babylon.
. Persia defeated the Babylonians and was the great power in the region.
. Cyrus the great, the Persian king, issued a decree that permitted conquered people to return to their homeland and rebuild as long as they paid taxes and were loyal to the Persian Empire.
. Almost 50,000 Jews had returned to Judah and Jerusalem in particular.
. When they got there, they rebuilt the altar part of the Temple and just stopped.
. There was some opposition to their plans plus now they had a place to sacrifice and worship so they turned their attention to themselves.
. All of this is recorded in Ezra.
. Everybody was happy. They had an altar to sacrifice on and that was all they needed.
. We see what God has to say about this in our scripture this morning.
. Haggai 1:2-4, 13
. 2“This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: The people are saying, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the LORD.’ ”
3Then the LORD sent this message through the prophet Haggai:4“Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins?
. 13Then Haggai, the LORD’s messenger, gave the people this message from the LORD: “I am with you, says the LORD!”
. God is reminding them of their priorities
. First we see that Timing needed to be a priority for the Hebrew people.
. Look at verse 2 again:
. . 2“This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: The people are saying, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the LORD.’ ”
. The people keep putting off the rebuilding. We have a place to worship; we don’t need to do this. The timing is not right.
. Procrastination is not a new phenomenon folks. The Hebrew people were just as guilty of this as we are.
. Things were going pretty good. Why rock the boat and try to build more of God’s house.