This message of Haggai, the servant of the most High God, and one of the Minor Prophets of the Old Testament, came during the second year of the reign of Darius the Great when the people had returned to Judah from exile in Babylon. He gave the message to Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah (the political leader), Joshua the High Priest (the spiritual leader), and the remnant of Judah, who apparently were concerned about their personal needs rather than the rebuilding the Temple of the Lord. The Temple was the symbol of God’s presence in the midst of the people, and leaving it unattended was like placing God in the back seat of a car instead of Him being the driver.
When our children get into activities of their interest without parental control or attention, many times the enemy takes charge and the result can easily lead to confusion, emptiness, suffering, and so on. When God’s people became enthused about their private and personal goals, the loving Father sent His servant the prophet, to warn them in a manner they could understand. The message was to remind them that if they failed to put Him first in their plans, failure and emptiness would be the result: “You sow much but you reap little” (v. 6). The Lord further states, “Now consider your ways and be blessed. Go to the mountains and bring wood to build my house to glorify me and to make me happy” (vv. 7-8). This is the recipe for Christian happiness today. “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all the blessings you desire shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). “For without me,” Christ says, “ye can do nothing” (John 15:5)
This was the time when the people could have given many reasons to justify their personal projects. Today, we emphasize that the family is our first responsibility and rightly so but Haggai encourages us to make knowing, loving, and demonstrating interest in the business of God be at the forefront of family interests. If church and family leaders will fear God and love Him and allow His Spirit to lead, church members will certainly respond positively to spiritual calls. We can achieve what we plan for when we set our priorities right. Let us be like Zerubbabel and Joshua to pay attention to this message and bring happiness to the Lord.
“Dear Lord, help us to set our priorities right in order to fully seek you and your kingdom first in all our personal and corporate plans, so we can glorify you and make you happy. Please give us grace to do this and let your Spirit take control of what we do to glorify you. Amen!”
Emmanuel S. D. Manu
Treasurer, West-Central Africa Division