1,7 Call to Action, Haggai 1,1-11
A Call to Action
The book of Ezra opens with liberation decrees by Cyrsu in 538 B.C. and the last event of the book occurred in the 1st month of the 8th year of King Artaxerxes, 457 B.C.. Ezra covers a period of 81 years.
Chapters 1-6 focus on events surrounding the 1st return of the Jews to the homeland. David was the leader and the 1st project was reconstruction of the altar. The immediate materials were gathered for rebuilding the temple. The foundation was laid and the opposition arose. At that point, work ceased for approx 16 years. Then, due to the teaching of the prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, the work resumed.
Ezra focuses on rebuilding of the temple while Nehemiah focuses on walls around Jerusalem.
As we look at Haggai, it is important to realize that his ministry lasted 4 months—August to mid December, 520 B.C.
The name “Haggai”== the “matter-of-fact prophet”, “prophet of relative values. God used Haggai to provoke His people to rebuilding of the temple. God used him to “reprove”, to call His people into action.
As we “Cross-over”, let us do so with a call to action. The key exhortation for the people from Haggai was “consider your ways”. Why should one consider their ways? We may find that there is work for us to do that is not done.
A Call to Action-
a) Selfish Policies- Vs 2-4--Governor of Jerusalem was Zerubabel and the High Priest was Joshua. The speech began with a quotation of what the people say—this was an attitude of the citizens of Jerusalem and the surrounding area in Haggai’s time. Their attitude was this—the temple must be rebuilt, BUT, it was much too soon to start the job.
The reason was that there was still so much work to be done in completing family residences, re-establishing agriculture and getting the economy sound, that it would be folly to divert money and energy to the reconstruction of the temple. After all, it would not help feed or house the homeless nor would it help the economy.
Haggai is addressing a community that had adopted a policy of fending for themselves first. Practically, it was a sensible policy. The land was in ruins, so to restore the economy was not totally unreasonable. BUT, things were out of proportion. What is it that they wanted to do once they made it back to their nature soil, their homeland? They wanted to worship in the Temple!!!
Yet, once they returned, they forgot the temple and devoted their energies to their own stuff. Good things crowded out the best. Their comfort got in the way of doing the will of God.
They were a country who owed their existence and restoration to God and the policy was selfish and doomed to fail!!
A life devoted to one’s own needs rarely brings fulfillment. The real problem seen here is priorities---they were wrong because the people were selfish. To stop being selfish will take action—it did on their part and will on ours.
b) Practical Consideration—Vs 5-7
“Consider your ways”—look at what you have done and have suffered. This is an address to common sense. Just look and see what is working and what is not working.
Vs6—sow much, crops no better; wages increase, inflation eats all the raise up, causing money to purchase nothing.
Since the policy is ineffective, it would be best to abandon it—Lets be practical—some things don’t work!!!!
So, we must abandon and refocus.
c) Proper Priorities—Vs 8-11
The temple had to be rebuilt! Once priorities are right, all other issues will fall into the proper place.
“I will take pleasure in it”—“I will be glorified”—To neglect the temple is to dishonor God! The temple is a mirror of His presence. The fundamental priority in life should be God, not one’s own desires.
Vs9-11 God says the reason for the chastising was their selfish neglect to rebuild the temple.
From April to October, the morning dew, often heavy in Palestine, was essential to growth of the summer crops. So, the absence of the dew was devastating.
The Action to be Taken:
-Paul reminds us in 1 Cor 6:19 that our body is the temple of the Holy Ghost. We need not neglect our walk with God. Are we selfish, are we being practical and are our priorities right?
-Hebrews 10:25, we are not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. Are we selfish, practical and are our priorities right?
-Romans 12 and 1Cor 12 reminds us of our spiritual gifts that we need to be using.
-Look around—this is not a temple, but it is our place of worship. Are we doing the best that can be done here? Or, are we selfish, being practical and are our priorities right?
Once we quit being selfish, start being practical and set our priorities in line, we will be amazed how God will “take pleasure” and “be glorified”.
A Call to Action
a) Selfish Policies
b) Practical Consideration
c) Proper Priorities