Haggai 1 (text vs. 5, 7)
Our values and priorities are reflected in how we use our resources.
Often our actions are not consistent with our profession. We say God is number one, but then we relegate Him to a lesser number on our “to do” list.
This is what happened to the Jews who returned from 70 years in captivity to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple. They returned with great anticipation and enthusiasm. They quickly laid the foundation.
However, opposition and adversity lead to apathy in the people. The work came to a standstill (Ezra 4:4-5).
Meanwhile, the Jews began to build their own homes. “Ceiled houses” â€” beautifully paneled; they were luxuriously built (v. 4).
The Temple remained unfinished for 15 years!
God raised up the prophet Haggai to encourage the people to reorder their priorities and FINISH what they started 15 years earlier (text). In Ezra 6:14 we read: “And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet …”
Letâ€™s examine the what happened to get Godâ€™s people back on track.
I. The Excuse for Delay (1:2). We find excuses for not doing Godâ€™s will.
- Met with gigantic obstacles which required arduous effort and hardship. Intense opposition from the Samaritans (Ezra 4:1-6, 11-12, 21-24).
- Became discouraged by the work and adversity.
- Rationalized it must not be the time to build. “It is so difficult, evidently, God isnâ€™t in this project.”
- They decided to maintain the status quo.
- They are covering their disobedience with the pious-sounding excuse, “It is just not the right time to build the Lordâ€™s house.”
II. The Extravagant Disregard (1:3-4).
- Conflict of interest. Putting self interests ahead of Godâ€™s interests.
- No time for Godâ€™s house, but plenty of time for their own houses. They drag their feet to the house of God, but RUN to their own houses (v. 9b).
III. The Exhortation to Deliberate (1:5, 7). “CONSIDER YOUR WAYS!” There are many exhortations to “consideration” in the Scriptures (Ps. 8:3-4; Heb. 10:24; 12:3; Mt. 6:28; Luke 12:24).
- “Let a man examine himself” (1 Cor. 11:28). Jeremiah lamented, “Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD” (Lam. 3:40).
- Consider: “How much are you spending on yourself, versus how much are you doing for God?”
- “Consider your ways” â€” Which way? If you continue on the way you are going, where will it lead? (The way of drugs? â€¦sex? â€¦lying and deceit? â€¦rebellion?)
- Broken homes, broken hearts, broken lives donâ€™t just happen. They break by going the wrong direction and failure to “consider your ways.”
- “Consider your ways” â€” Look at what is happening to youâ€¦
- Whatâ€™s happening to your marriage?
- Whatâ€™s happening to your children?
- Whatâ€™s happening to your walk with the Lord?
IV. The Experience of Drought (1:6, 9-11).
- The harder they worked for themselves, the less they brought in.
- Failure to recognize the drought was Godâ€™s doing (v. 9).
- Are you experiencing a spiritual drought in your life? Did it ever occur to you that God may be behind the things happening in your life trying to get you to turn to Him?
V. Godâ€™s Expression of Delight (1:8). Simple obedience delights God.
Notice Haggaiâ€™s three-fold appeal:
- The CENSURE of the HEART (v. 4).
- The CHALLENGE to the MIND (v. 5).
- The COMMAND to the WILL (v. 8).
VI. The Energized Dedication (1:12, 14).
VII. The Encouraging Declaration (1:13). “I am with youâ€¦” When you know God is with you, that should encourage you to do whatever He asks