About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Chapter - Chapter 1
Commentary On The Book Of Haggai
commentary is based on the 1984 edition of the New International Bible.
The chapter titles in the book correspond with those in the NIV
Bible to make for easy study purposes.
was one of two prophets that
spoke the word of the Lord to post Babylonian Jews to encourage them to
start rebuilding the temple. Zechariah
was the other prophet. Their
message was to be an encouragement to keep building the
had a brief ministry. Some say it only lasted 4 months.
It began in Aug., 520 B. C.. We
know this from the dates he mentions in his writing.
Call To Build The House Of The Lord (ch. 1:1 - 15)
1 tells us that the Word of the Lord came to Haggai in the second year
of king Darius’ reign. It
was also the first day of the sixth month. That’s our August.
learn in verse 1 that Haggai spoke this word to two men, Joshua, the
high priest, and Zerubbabel, the civil leader. This is important.
When God speaks to his people, the leaders must hear in order to
lead the people of God in the direction that God wants them to go.
Often times the leaders don’t hear the prophetic word, and at
that point, God’s speaks to the ordinary person who takes the lead in
doing His will. This has
taken place many times throughout the history of God’s people.
way in which God speaks through Haggai is the same way in which He spoke
through the prophet Malachi. It’s
conversational in style. In
verse 2 God says that His people say, “the time has not yet come for
the Lord’s house to be built”.
We must realize that God’s house was already partially built
when this prophetic word came. Israel
stopped building about 15 to 18 years earlier.
So something changed in the people’s thinking.
They clearly believed that it was the right time to build less
than two decades earlier. That’s
clearly seen in the book of Ezra. But
now, they don’t think it’s time.
So what happened in their thinking?
clear from Ezra that pressure from the world around Israel
stopped the building of the temple.
They caved into this pressure and got discouraged.
From this place of discouragement, they felt that it was not
God’s will after all. Discouragement
and pressure from the world often gets to the people of God. It still
does today. Just because
there are problems, doesn’t mean it’s not the will of God.
The Jews simply let the situation determine what the will of God
was, not God Himself.
3 says that “then the Word of the Lord came through Haggai …”
The word “then” either suggests another time, or right after
what was previously stated. But it does suggest to me at least a brief
distinction in time.
asks the Jews the following question.
“Is it time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled
houses, while this house remains in ruins?”
Look closely at the wording of this question.
God says “you yourselves” and “your paneled houses”.
This is surely emphasizing the Jews.
They have their own homes. They
spent much time and effort building their own house.
Paneled houses are specifically mentioned because they were
houses made of wood, and there wasn’t a lot of wood around Jerusalem. The wood had to have been
transported from the hill country, quite a distance away.
This suggest, time, money and effort went into building their own
didn’t really say that he was against their paneled houses, but what
He was saying is that while they were building their own homes, they were
neglecting the temple of God, which was to be the centerpiece of Jewish
society. God was not happy
can easily do the same today. We
don’t put the Body of Christ as something that is central to our
lives. Our own homes and our
own lives are more important than the Body of Christ for us today.
The Body of Christ is the New Testament
thing we should understand is that much of what we call church today, is
not the Body of Christ, or the New Testament temple as seen in the New
Testament. We’ve let the
New Testament temple fall into disrepair, just as these Jews had back
verse 5 God says to
6 and 7 tells us what the Jews were to think about.
God says, “you have planted much but have invested little …”
How true that is for many of us. We plant, we work, and we spend
and we don’t invest. “you
eat but never have enough, you drink but never have your fill.”
We, like these people live from day to day, hand to mouth.
People are the same no matter what day and age they live in.
“You put on clothes but are not warm.”
It’s like they just have a hard time getting by.
The money is spread too thin.
“You earn wages, only to put it in a purse with holes in it”.
How true. Once again, such
economics don’t change no matter when or where.
verse 7 God says once again to give careful thought to these things.
In verse 8 He then says that once giving this careful thought, go
up into the hills an bring back wood to build my house.
These people had already gone up into the hills to build their
own paneled homes, now God is saying that it’s time for them to do the
same for Him so “He can have pleasure in His house”, just as they
have pleasure in their houses.
New Testament times we understand that God does not live in buildings
made by men. This temple was
symbolic of something better to come.
That something better is the New Testament temple, that is the
New Testament people of God. If
God asked these Jews to consider their ways, and if He wanted to take
pleasure in their temple, the same would apply to us today.
God would want to take pleasure in us, His temple.
He’d also want us to consider our ways.
We’ve put much time, money and effort into building our own
lives. Have we put the same time and effort in building and maintaining
God spiritual house today, or is it in decay like this temple was back
verse 9 God says that the Jews “expected much, but you see, it has
turned out to be little”. No
matter what wave of people who left
continues in verse 9 by telling the Jews what they brought home, he blew
away. It was God who was
causing them to live from hand to mouth.
And He was blowing their prosperity away because of their neglect
to take care of God’s things, the
once again points out that these Jews were busy with their own homes
while His house “was in ruins.”
This is one of the most important messages to Christians in
our day. We’ve spent way
too much time on our things and not the things of God.
Jesus said the same as God. He
told us to seek first His Kingdom, and if we did that all the rest would
fall in place. Now in
context, Jesus wasn’t suggesting that we’d all be millionaires.
The early church was mostly poor but they were seeking God’s
things first. The “all
things” that would come our way once we put God’s Kingdom first are
the necessities of life. These
Jews were struggling over the necessities.
also important to understand what “seeking God’s kingdom first”
really means. It does not
necessarily mean that you spend all your time, effort and money in your
local church, that might not even be demonstrating kingdom principles.
We need to see God’s temple today as people joined together in
functioning relationships in the Body of Christ.
The organized church is not necessarily the same as the Body of
Christ these days.
verse 10 and 11 we see because of Israel’s unfaithfulness to their God, He called for a draught to come on the
land. This is why they were
living from hand to mouth. It
is thus clear that God does cause bad things to happen to His people.
We also know from Malachi and elsewhere that God causes bad
things to come on nations of the world as well in the form of judgment.
Here in 2009 I believe many nations of the world are experiencing
such judgment. I also believe that in many areas of the church God is
judging as well.
verse 12 we see both Zerubbabel, the civil leader of Israel, and Joshua the priest accepted the Word of the Lord that came from
Haggai and led the whole Jewish community back to fearing their God.
Notice that the change first came to the Jewish leadership who in
turn led the people into change.
verses 13 and 14 we see that once
15 tells us that this took place on the 24th day of the 6th
month, of the second year of King Darius.
That’s our July 24th.