September 19 (Daily reading: Haggai) We don’t know much about Haggai, but he is mentioned in Ezra 5:1 as being instrumental in the decision to resume the work on the temple. The work had been delayed for about eighteen years when God inspired Haggai to speak to the people. God’s question was: “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house (the temple) lies desolate?” In other words, “What is your priority?” The problem was not that they had built their own houses, God expected that. But they had neglected the house of God! For us, this symbolizes more than a building. It concerns neglect of the work of God that He wants to do in our lives.
God gave the result of their neglect: They planted a lot, but the harvest was not so great. They ate and drank without being satisfied. Their clothing wasn’t sufficient. God was saying: Nothing you do will satisfy you as long as it is more important than Me! We may look for pleasure and fulfillment in our possessions, but if they come before God, we will never find what we are looking for! The final statement in 1:6 is intriguing: it was as if they had put their money in a sack that had a hole in it! Their misguided priorities had weakened their faith in God and given them dissatisfaction in life.
The people responded to Haggai’s message much better than they had to many of the prophets. Their response was obedience, and it was immediate! They just needed a reminder. On the first day of the month, Haggai gave his message, and on the twenty-fourth day, the rebuilding began again! In less than a month, they were back on point after years of delay. When our faith leads us to correct our priorities, we will know satisfaction in our lives.
– Al Gary
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