The book of Haggai is a record of the messages of the prophet Haggai. As with most prophets, Haggai’s message focused on current events for the people of Israel.
Haggai was a contemporary of Zechariah, and his prophetic mission was to encourage the reconstruction of the temple by the returning exiles. Haggai focused on the importance of the temple to the Jews, urging them to make it’s reconstruction a priority. He also criticized materialism and self-centeredness, advocating a timeless message of making God the people’s priority and focus.
Haggai is sometimes called a minor prophet. This doesn’t mean he wasn’t important, but merely that the book named after him is shorter. (Compare this to the major prophets, whose books are much longer.)
For the past several months, most of the A Bible A Day posts have been about the minor prophets. Recall that they are called “minor” not because their prophecy is insignificant, but because their books are short!
In yesterday’s post, The Effects of Priority, we saw that wrong priorities results in wrong results, whereas right priorities results in God’s blessings. It is, however, worth it to consider the timing of these events.
The prophecy is given on the first day of the sixth month. The people respond to it about three weeks later, on the 24th day of the sixth month, starting to rebuild God’s house. (Some might say that a delayed response is disobedience; however, a delayed response is better than no response.)
Then three months after reconstruction starts, on the 24th day of the ninth month, God promises to bless the people because of their obedience. Note a three month delay; the people did not receive an immediate blessing, but rather a delayed one. It might be that God wanted to make sure they would follow through and take his work seriously. Or perhaps he was testing them. Would they continue to serve him and make him a priority even if he didn’t bless them?
What if they got discouraged and gave up after a week or a month? What if they stopped obeying him on the 23rd day of the ninth month? If so they would have missed his blessing.
I wonder if sometimes we give up too soon in obeying God. Do we do the right thing for a while, but not seeing any change, we revert to our old ways? If so, we may miss God’s blessings.
In the short book of Haggai, the central theme is that God’s house (the temple) needs to be rebuilt. The people have not done so because they are focused on their own houses and comfort. As far as God is concerned, their priorities are wrong.
Three times God points this out, asking them to consider the quality of their lives. Things are not going well for them. Their efforts fail to produce the results they want, things don’t work out the way they should, and they are lacking what they need.
After Haggai delivers God’s message to the leaders and the people, their response is to rebuild the temple. Then God promises to bless them.
When their priorities were wrong, things went wrong; when their priorities became right, God’s blessings resulted.
Although the conclusion isn’t absolute, it is worth considering that when things are going wrong, it might be because our priorities are wrong.