Haggai 1:3-4, “Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: ‘Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?'” (NIV)
It is a difficult thing for believers to resist the temptation to prioritize a life of comfort, or leisure. After all, mankind is naturally drawn to self-serving interests. We tend to want to make our desires the center of our universe – the sole consumption of our hearts. But Haggai 1 underscores the fallacy, the flaw, of this mindset. In this example, the exiles who returned to Jerusalem let the goal to rebuild the temple become secondary, not primary. Instead, the people, by and large, made getting their affairs in order the objective.
The people of Judah, it would seem, were more concerned with restoring a convenient lifestyle than they were in consecrating loyalty to God. As a result, the temple remained in ruins with no apparent motivation to reset the foundation. The Lord was very much in their midst seeking holy communion, and fellowship, with the people. But the people went on with life, toiling over constructing their personal dwellings and furnishing them. Haggai points out how fiercely God seeks relationship with humanity, and praise from humanity.
Eventually God stirred the souls of the governor (Zerubbabel) and the high priest (Joshua), and together these two rallied the remnant to rebuild the temple (Haggai 1:14). This is what a calling, a divine purpose, can do to a weary soul: make one excited to labor, or serve. Too often man seeks to escape, or retire, from work. But such effort can be enjoyable and joyful when it has a God-centric function, and inducement.
An undercurrent theme of Haggai 1 appears to be undeserved favor. It practically leaps of the verses. The people of Judah had been released from exile and allowed to return to Jerusalem with one purpose: to rebuild the temple. But when they arrived they gauged the spiritual climate that had taken over in their absence and determined the embedded culture was hostile to God. Then the people became absorbed with their individual requirements and necessities, so-much-so that they neglected their purpose relating to the temple. Their was a need to personally, and corporately, adore God that was largely being ignored. Far too often humanity misaligns its priorities. We allow self-glorifying values to be the standard by which we measure success, or failure. But God revealed a different value set in Haggai.
Prosperity is relational in nature, not material in nature. Specifically, knowing God and serving Him is what brings fullness to life. Gold and silver may shine, but they do nothing to preserve, or protect, our soul. Therefore, let believers seek God and ask for His divine guidance so that we can properly navigate life’s treacherous paths. Let us enjoy the goodness of God, and find our ultimate satisfaction in Him. And let us look upon, behold, and appreciate the undeserved favor of a great, and glorious, God.
Kevin Orr (9/10/2018)