Explore the Bible
May 10, 2014
Haggai 1:1-11, 2:5-9
As we read Haggai, we must read this passage in light of the New Covenant, through the empty tomb, the cross and salvation by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8). Otherwise, we might mistake it for a building and grounds fundraising text.
First, though, let us examine Haggai in his own time. Haggai is a postexilic prophet, writing after the people of Judah had returned to Jerusalem. The nation of Judah had been taken fully into exile about 66 years before Haggai wrote. In the invasion that took them, the Temple of Solomon had been destroyed.
Upon their return, despite any initial zeal found in the joy of returning, the people had not rebuilt the Temple. Why not? The people kept saying that the “time has not come” to rebuild the Temple (Hag. 1:2). They rebuilt their homes, even with the luxury of paneling (Hag. 1:4), but left the Temple in ruins. It appears that, at first, they were not seeking God’s ways first (Hag. 1:5), and then they were discouraged because their Temple was nothing like the memory of the first Temple (Hag. 2:5-9). God addresses this concern by promising a greater “final glory” for this second Temple, a glory we see when God puts on flesh and walks into that Temple in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
How, then, should we apply Haggai’s words to our lives? Notice the heart of the problem: The people have invested their time and effort into their own benefit rather than in unified worship of the Lord God. In our lives, we need to consider whether or not we have done so. For example, how much energy do we devote to our own hobbies and pastimes? In comparison, how much do we devote to building relationships within the Body of Christ? How much effort goes to building relationships to spread the gospel?
Perhaps we should re-examine how much we put into our own comfort while the world needs to hear about Jesus.