Summary: We face many different dilemmas because our prorities are mixed up.
Putting God First
(See also "Love grown Cold")
Hag 1:5-6,9 Hag 1:9-10
Haggai was a prophet who spoke to the tiny Jewish community, which had settled again in the Promised Land after the Babylonian Captivity.
His message was a reminder of the importance to; Put God First
God’s words through Haggai: "Give careful thought to your ways. (understand what is important) & (live for what is important)
The two short chapters of Haggai contain four important messages from the prophet to the people.
1st He called on the people to rebuild the Temple,
2nd to remain faithful to God’s promises,
3rd to be holy and enjoy God’s great provisions,
4th and to keep their hope set on the coming of the MESSIAH and the establishment of His kingdom.
They came from Bondage to Barrenness
Some 50,000 people returned to Judah from Babylon. They settled in a tiny portion of the Jews’ ancient heritage, centered on Jerusalem. There they found their once-fertile lands ruined. What had once been forested was stripped of its trees and grasses.
What had been fertile cropland was now wilderness. In addition, the little remnant, struggling to clear its land, was met with a series of natural disasters. There were droughts and storms. Crops planted in hope were harvested in despair, as not even seed was recovered.
It was this situation that the Prophet Haggai preached to a people who had gathered in Jerusalem for a religious festival.
The cause of their dilemma was, their priorities were mixed up.
Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it...
"You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?" declares the Lord Almighty. "Because of My house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house."
The people had returned to Judah in 538 B.C., some 16 years before Haggai first spoke out. They had come with the specific intention of rebuilding the ruined temple of their God. The people had quickly laid the foundation of the temple, but then enthusiasm had faded.
Why had their intentions faded, because their priorities were mixed up
For over a decade work on the temple had been abandoned, and even the funds they had brought with them for the building program were spent on a futile effort to make the little community self-sufficient.
Their efforts shifted to preparing houses to live in, and to clearing fields so crops might grow.
Haggai’s message was a call to recommitment.
It was an explanation of dashed hopes, for through Haggai the Lord now explained what had been happening.
"You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?" declares the Lord Almighty. "Because of My house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house. Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops."
You have to be willing to sacrifice if you’re going to be blessed!
You have to put God first! You have to show God you love Him! Give to God first, even when it’s a sacrifice. And then, yes then, God will bless you.
"Neglected Foundations of the temple"
The foundations of Judah’s commitment had been laid, and that God withheld blessing because the people had not carried through on their commitment. They had been distracted by the "cares of life" and had not put God first.
IMPORTANCE OF A FOUNDATION
A very short man wanted to drive a nail in his wall to hang a picture. He stood on a chair, but it was not high enough. His wife placed a box on the chair, but he was still short of his goal. So a stool was piled on top of the box. Balancing himself precariously, the do-it-yourself picture hanger began to tap timidly with his hammer. "Why don’t you hit it hard?" asked the wife. "You’ll never drive the nail that way!"
Our hero looked down from his perch to reply, "How can a man hit anything hard on a shaky foundation like this?"
Have the foundations of any special commitment to God been laid in own lives - foundations on which have not built upon, while we go about other business?
1. BUILD UPON THE FOUNDATION WITH FAITH
Faith in God brings peace of mind and heart because we know that we belong to him, and we know that one day all pain and suffering will end.