Read Haggai 1:1-15
My life has been punctuated by some very specific dates and times when God challenged me to significant steps of obedience. I suppose I could record some of those dates in a personal spiritual journal.
In many ways, our study for the next four days will expose us to four entries in a spiritual journal reflected in the book of Haggai. At the beginning of each entry, we find a date on which God spoke words of challenge, encouragement, and hope to the people of Judah.
We read the first of these journal entries today. “In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month…” (1:1). On a modern-day calendar, this would have been about August 29, 520 BC.
Some eighteen years earlier, the people of God had been released after 70 years of exile in Babylon. Upon their release, they had a passion to reconstruct the temple that “Nebuchadnezzar and Company” had destroyed. But in the face of opposition, they had given up. On this date in August of 520 BC, the temple was still in ruins.
The events recorded in Haggai give us further insight into what was happening in Ezra chapters 5 and 6. In this journal entry, then, God directed Zerubbabel, the governor, and Joshua, the high priest, to resume construction once again. After 18 years of inactivity, you would think the Jews would at least be saying, “Yeah, we really ought to get back on the job sometime soon.” But instead, they were saying “The time has not yet come for the Lord’s house to be built” (1:2).
You know, sometimes our excuse of “wrong timing” in spiritual endeavors is really an issue of mixed-up priorities. Verse four from our reading today says, “Is it time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”
You see, the first of these journal entries addresses Judah’s priorities. The people were so concerned about themselves that they lost sight of the things that were important to God!
Is today a day when you need to say, “God, I am going to make your priorities of growth, outreach, ministry, fellowship, and worship my priorities!”? The people of Judah recognized their need to change priorities, so construction began 3 ½ weeks after this message from the Lord!
Take note. Your reprioritization can begin today!