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.
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.
, 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?