[CF Devotionals] 2004-08-04 - God's Second Message to Haggai

Haggai, Part 10

We hope you will read Haggai 1:13-15 in your preferred translation.

Was the positive response a reaction to God’s discipline and the desire to get out from under it, or was it a realization that they had failed as His people? From the following verses, I am inclined to think that latter, not the former. We know this because 24 days later …

Verses 13-15: God sends a second message. This is a message of encouragement, a response to the appropriate reaction of the people. They have started working on the Temple. The previous 23 days, how and where were they spent? We don’t know, but maybe in planning and taking steps necessary to again take up the work of the restoration of the Temple.

And what was God’s message? It was the only one that really matters. He was with them! The quality of our relationship to God is often tied directly to how we sent our priorities. And now that the people have set their priorities in the proper order, God was with them.And what is the response to the message? The people were encouraged and began the work on the Temple. They had recognized that true blessing comes from obedience to God and a life focused on Him. Then other things will take their proper place.

" … For it is God who works in yo,u to will and to act according to his good purpose" (Philippians 2:13).

Conclusion: The message of this first prophecy is one that is applicable to us today as it was to the Jews of Haggai’s. How do we set our priorities? And as we recognize we have misaligned them, are we as quick to realign them as these people did? As we consider these questions for ourselves, let us consider the words of Matthew Henry, as he examined this same passage.

"(The Jews) neglected the building of God’s house, that they might have more time and money for worldly affairs. That the punishment might answer to the sin, the poverty they thought to prevent by not building the temple, God brought upon them for not building it. Many good works have been intended, but not done, because men supposed the proper time was not come. Thus believers let slip opportunities of usefulness, and sinners delay the concerns of their souls, till too late. If we labor only for the meat that perishes, as the Jews here, we are in danger of losing our labor; but we are sure it shall not be in vain in the Lord, if we labor for the meat which lasts to eternal life. If we would have the comfort and continuance of temporal enjoyments, we must have God as our Friend. … When God crosses our temporal affairs, and we meet with trouble and disappointment, we shall find the cause is, that the work we have to do for God and our own souls is left undone, and we seek our own things more than the things of Christ. How many, who plead that they cannot afford to give to pious or charitable designs, often lavish ten times as much in needless expenses on their houses and themselves! But those are strangers to their own interests, who are full of care to adorn and enrich their own houses, while God’s temple in their hearts lies waste. It is the great concern of everyone, to apply to the necessary duty of self-examination and communion with our own hearts, concerning our spiritual state. Sin is what we must answer for; duty is what we must do. But many are quick-sighted to pry into other people’s ways, who are careless of their own. If any duty has been neglected, that is no reason why it should still be so. Whatever God will take pleasure in when done, we ought to take pleasure in doing. Let those who have put off their return to God, return with all their heart, while there is time." (Matthew Henry)

"Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Luke 12:33-34).This then is the answer to priorities, "where your priorities are there you heart will be also" or better yet, "where your heart is, there is where your priorities will be!"

Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,
All these things shall be added unto you,
Allelu, alleluia.

Ask, and it shall be given unto you.
Seek, and ye shall find.
Knock, and the door shall be opened unto you,
Allelu, alleluia.

Man shall not live by bread alone,
But by ev’ry word that proceeds from the mouth
Allelu, alleluia.

Author Unknown

Comments or Questions?

[email geoff] GKragen@aol.com