Haggai Overview

Haggai’s message is about how the truth about the future should inspire and disturb priorities in the present.

It’s set late-ish in the Israelite’s story, after Babylon has smashed their land and culture, and Persia has taken over Babylon’s Empire with a more reasonable approach of letting the Israelites resettle Jerusalem and re-establish their religion.

Haggai is a player incthe book of Nehemiah, the rebuilding of Jerusalem.

He tells the truth, based on revelation of God in the scriptures from the past: the people are rebuilding their houses and not the temple. It’s a call to a revival of their beliefs, not just re-occupation of their homeland.

Then when they are hypocritical, he tells a parable based on Levitical infection laws, saying their greedy morality will infect the house of God, and that it should work the other way. The task of rebuilding the temple will infect them to revisit their own standards.

They are disappointed at the size of the new temple compared to the grandeur of Solomon’s. Again he turns to scripture, but this time to point to the future, the revelation of the Messiah and the covenant, that from their temple and their people would come the Salvation of the world, God’s blessing poured out.

Trust his word. Obey. Don’t worry that what you are doing seems pathetic, God uses love for him, sincere faithful responses to the moment, in ways we can’t imagine.

Use what you know of God to make your contribution to making the moment match what he has promised the future will be like.

1 is time! To build the temple. They may think they can’t afford it, but you never do think you can afford God if your priorities are wrong

2 they may think the temple is a shadow of its former self, but God will use their willingness to do what they can, their obedience, in ways they can’t imagine.

Haggai 2

So the temple is a ruin and they have started building, long path ahead. Will the glory days ever be back? Do our tiny steps to climb an impossibly huge mountain make a difference to God?

Yes, they do!

It makes all the difference in the world. The Israelites have gone from being cursed and defiled to world shakers. Putting a few stones on each other towards the new temple has unleashed god’s plan of love and grace that will embrace all mankind.

God doesn’t need our strength or our achievements, he wants us to seek him. Turn to him. Acknowledge him. This is what the Israelites have done by responding to the call to build the temple, and it makes all the difference in the world.

It’s a hugely encouraging chapter. Do what you can, where you are. Trust and obey, as the song says, god will do the rest.

Lord I thank you for the simplicity of the Christian life, its a great thing knowing someone else is in charge of the big picture.

Haggai 1

Its time!

The remains of the Israelites have been allowed to return to Jerusalem and started to do OK, but Haggai the prophet is stirred up to speak out about the temple.

You’ve made sure you have nice houses, he says, what about god’s?

I love his picture of wages going into a purse with a hole in it, suggesting that they will never feel like they have enough money to build the temple. Some things never change!

And the people respond. We’re in for a temple building! Its a good chapter about listening to the things that stir you up when you are complacent. You should not ignore that voice.

I’m in a sweeter spot than I was a year ago. What does god want of me?