[CF Devotionals] 2004-07-11 - Priorities

Haggai, Part 6

The struggle to set appropriate priorities isn't just limited to contemporary Western society and the "tyranny of the urgent." Setting appropriate priorities was a struggle for the returning Jewish exiles. And as we will see with them, the question of how we set priorities is a product of the position God holds in our lives.

  1. Building a House: This first chapter focuses on God's call to the Jews to examine their priorities and see where they have gotten off-track. There are consequences to a wrong focus, and God identifies that wrong focus for his people. Finally, we see their response to the recognition of their choices, and how they reassess their priorities.

    Verses 1-3: It is August 29, 520 B.C., and God has something to say to Haggai and, through him, to the returned exiles. It is some 15 years since work on the Temple has stopped. Now is the time to get thing going again.The message is addressed to the "leadership" of the people, that is the civil and religious leaders. Alden identifies the two men and their positions.

    "Zerubbabel was, …, an heir to the Davidic throne; and it is understandable that the magnanimous Cyrus and Darius should allow such a man to be the governor of the province of Judea. The term governor (pehah) appears only in the later parts of the OT and is a loan word from Persian, where it has the same basic meaning." Joshua son of Jehozadak" is spelled "Jeshua son of Jozadak" in Ezra (3:2, 8, et al.; cf. Neh 12:1, 8). Apparently he was a direct descendant of Aaron the Levite, the first high priest. That was Joshua's role here, the holder of the highest office in the religious hierarchy."

    God's problem is with the attitude of the people. They have taken the position that it isn't yet the time to work on the Temple. Now it is important to note, the issue isn't a rejection of the need to do the work. The problem is one of timing. As we have talked about before, it isn't that we don't want to do what God has called us to do. BUT, the question is: when will we get around to it? Can you think of any examples of this struggle? I am sure that, if you had asked, the people would have given reasons for their position. Alden comes up with a few such as: maybe the 70 years of the prophesied captivity weren't up yet; or, they were concerned about the opposition from the neighboring peoples . But whatever the case, God obviously considered these as simply weak excuses, or why else would He have stepped in! He speaks here as a response to the attitude of the people.

To be continued.

Comments or Questions?
Geoff

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