Loving Father, I envision the day when I trust You more and fear less. Loosen fear’s hold on me. When fear calls to me, may faith answer.
Read HAGGAI 1
A Call to Build the House of the Lord
1 In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jozadak,[a] the high priest:
2 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.’”
3 Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”
5 Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”
7 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord. 9 “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. 10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11 I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.”
12 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the whole remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the message of the prophet Haggai, because the Lord their God had sent him. And the people feared the Lord.
13 Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave this message of the Lord to the people: “I am with you,” declares the Lord. 14 So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the Lord Almighty, their God, 15 on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month.
In the second year of King Darius.
- Haggai 1:1 Hebrew Jehozadak, a variant of Jozadak; also in verses 12 and 14
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.’1
‘I can’t get no satisfaction’ is how a world- famous pop song from 1965 begins. Written by the iconic Rolling Stones, it was controversial for its expression of sexual frustration. However, its predominant theme was the impact of crass commercialism in the Western world. It became an anthem for the period’s disenchanted youth, who were being told incessantly that, materially, they’d never had it so good. Yet despite the increased prosperity, life often seemed unfulfilling. Many were learning that materialism alone cannot satisfy.
It is a message as old as time. The poor aspire to wealth, the wealthy to even more riches – and few are genuinely content! How many of us truly learn that happiness consists of more than the sum of our possessions? The Old Testament Israelites should have known that. Throughout their history, God presented himself to them as their greatest reward. Sadly many, perhaps most, failed to take up his offer.
Haggai preached to Jews who had returned from the Babylonian exile. Their first priority was to rebuild the Jerusalem Temple. They started well enough, but opposition from their enemies led to a general lack of enthusiasm. The work was halted. They claimed, ‘The time has not yet come’ (v 2). Actually, they were too busy beautifying their own homes. God saw through them! Their neglect of him plunged them into a spiral of dissatisfaction. Things would only improve when they prioritized again the Lord’s house. This they did at last, with the wonderful promise that God would be with them. Their lesson to us is this: ‘strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well’.2
Once, when Abram feared for the future, God told him, ‘I am … your very great reward’.3 How much do we value God above everyone and everything else?
Faithful One, You have promised to meet with those who seek You. Come now and reveal Yourself to me.
1 Ps 37:4 2 Matt 6:33, NRSV 3 Gen 15:1
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