Reflections on Scripture

by Wayne Bandy

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ENTERED: October 01, 2015
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Scripture Passage

        Haggai - Chapter 01 (Contemporary English Version)
      1. On the first day of the sixth month of the second year that Darius was king of Persia, the LORD told Haggai the prophet to speak his message to the governor of Judah and to the high priest. So Haggai told Governor Zerubbabel and High Priest Joshua
      2. that the LORD All-Powerful had said to them and to the people: You say this isn't the right time to build a temple for me. But is it right for you to live in expensive houses, while my temple is a pile of ruins? Just look at what's happening.
      3. (SEE 1:2)
      4. (SEE 1:2)
      5. (SEE 1:2)
      6. You harvest less than you plant, you never have enough to eat or drink, your clothes don't keep you warm, and your wages are stored in bags full of holes.
      7. Think about what I have said!
      8. But first, go to the hills and get wood for my temple, so I can take pride in it and be worshiped there.
      9. You expected much, but received only a little. And when you brought it home, I made that little disappear. Why have I done this? It's because you hurry off to build your own houses, while my temple is still in ruins.
      10. That's also why the dew doesn't fall and your harvest fails.
      11. And so, at my command everything will become barren--your farmland and pastures, your vineyards and olive trees, your animals and you yourselves. All your hard work will be for nothing.
      12. Zerubbabel and Joshua, together with the others who had returned from exile in Babylonia, obeyed the LORD's message spoken by his prophet Haggai, and they started showing proper respect for the LORD.
      13. Haggai then told them that the LORD had promised to be with them.
      14. So the LORD God All-Powerful made everyone eager to work on his temple, especially Zerubbabel and Joshua.
      15. And the work began on the twenty-fourth day of that same month.


Haggai - Chapter 01

Entered: October 01, 2015

Haggai's short prophecy predated that of Zechariah and had a similar purpose which was to encourage the Jews who had just returned to Jerusalem from exile in Babyon to rebuild the temple. He announced right off, in verses 2-4, "These people say: The time has not come for the house of the LORD to be rebuilt." But the Lord asked, "Is it a time for you yourselves to live in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?" Apparently they had rebuilt their own homes and planted their crops and were content to relax and forget about the temple. More than likely it also meant they were not intent on worshiping the Lord either. He was no doubt relegated to an insignificant role in their lives.

The Lord said to them, "Think carefully about your ways." They needed to rethink the role that God had in their lives - to change their worldview. They had come to think, as many of us do, that they had no choice but to think first of their own needs and then give attention to God with whatever time and energy they had left. God was calling them to reorder their lives. They gave their efforts to putting in their crops expecting a good harvest, and instead it was ruined and they got little. Who is it, after all, who causes the crops to grow? Shouldn't they turn to the One who does? If they will worship the Lord and observe His commands, putting these first in their lives, will they not find that He provides what they need? This was the lesson Jesus taught, "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you." (what you will eat and drink and wear) (Matthew 6:33)

Haggai experienced an unusually positive response to his message. The people immediately obeyed and feared the Lord. The Israelites had developed a reputation for rejecting the messages of the prophets and treating them badly. But they seemed to recognize that Haggai's message was from the Lord and worthy of their obedience. Leaders and people alike went into action and the work on the temple was begun.

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