Haggai 1:1     




The Bible says in Haggai 1:1-2, “In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD's house should be built.” The first circumstance to notice from Haggai 1:1 is that Darius was the king. The people of Israel had been allowed to return to Jerusalem seventy years after they were taken captive by the Babylonians, but now the Gentiles were in control. The king was Darius. Even though Darius was not a Jew, God still worked in his heart; and somehow in God’s infinite and unknowable ways, God controlled Darius. In other words Darius’s decisions led to God’s will being done in the lives of the children of Israel. Therefore, we can conclude that the circumstances experience by the children of Israel during the time of Haggai were very similar to our circumstance. We also have leaders who do not hold the same Christian beliefs that we do. Many of these leaders are probably not saved and are without genuine faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. But God still works through them and in them, and God directs them. That is why we are told in Second Timothy 2:1-2, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” We are also told in Romans 13:1-5, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.


The problem that the children of Israel had was not with the pagan king Darius. The problem was with themselves. The spiritual problem that the children of Israel had during the time of Malachi was very similar to the problem that we often struggle with in our own day and time: setting the right priorities. The things that you are doing might be fine with nothing wrong with each individual activity you are involved in, but the question is: do you have the right priorities? God wanted the temple to be rebuilt, but the people said as recorded in Haggai 1:2, “This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD's house should be built.” The spiritual principle is this: if you claim to be a servant of Christ, then what are you doing with your time and resources? All that God wants from you is 100 percent. He wants everything that you have and everything that you are dedicated to Him. Jesus gave His blood on the cross of Calvary so you could spend an eternity in heaven. Of course, the Lord knows that we have practical responsibilities to fulfill our employment requirements and to take care of our families and our homes. But the very fact that we do have all of these various responsibilities in life does mean that we must be watchful to make sure that our priorities are correct: the Lord first and everything else second. Jesus said in Mark 12:30, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” 


What were the Israelites doing that was causing them to misplace their priorities? If building the Lord’s house was not their priority, then what was their priority? The Bible says in Haggai 1:3-5, “Then came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, saying, Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste? Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways.” They had returned from captivity and were busy working on their own homes. There was nothing wrong with that, but they were neglecting the temple. Be careful. Or you too will get so involved with the practical requirements of your own life, that you will neglect building up God’s temple. What is God’s temple today? Your body is God’s temple, and so building up and maintaining your own spiritual vitality is more important than any other work that you are doing. It says in Jude 1:20-21, “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost. Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” 


Notice that God says in Haggai 1:5, “Consider your ways.” The Lord repeated that phrase again in Haggai 1:7,Consider your ways.” A certain amount of honest introspection is important for every person. To follow Jesus requires having the highest of standards. One would think that it would not be hard to sit down and examine oneself in regards to this high standard. The standard has as its primary emphasis: love. After doing an honest evaluation of yourself, what is the next thing to do? Confessing your sins should be next. It says in First John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”


If you do not confess your sins, the consequences will be seen in your daily life in regards to your accomplishments. Your best accomplishments will come with Christ as your constant companion and helper. With His help you will see the best possible results for your endeavors. But without His help it will be as though you are taking one step backwards for every step forwards. Here is the way it was explained to the Israelites in Haggai 1:6-11, “Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD. Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house. Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit. And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.


Notice the phrase “ceiled houses” in Haggai 1:4. The word “ceiled” means to have a covering, in other words, to have a roof. Of course, a building of any kind is not very usable unless it has a roof on it. The implication of Haggai chapter one is that these people had roofs on their own homes, but there was no roof on the temple. There was work that needed to be done on the temple. God said to the Israelites in Haggai 1:9, “Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.


God did not tell them to tear down their houses. There is nothing wrong with taking care of your own. You must have a place to live. God knows that. But God has a plan for this world, and He wants you to be a part of His work. In some way you should be praying, or building, or giving, or supporting, or inviting, or listening, or singing, or speaking: doing something to advance the gospel of Christ. It says in Haggai 1:12-15, “Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the LORD. Then spake Haggai the LORD's messenger in the LORD's message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the LORD. And the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the LORD of hosts, their God, In the four and twentieth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.” It says in First Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” God has always been at work in the world. God worked when He brought the world into existence, and He has been at work ever since. When He was twelve years old, Jesus said in Luke 2:49, “How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?” Jesus said in John 9:4, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.


When God calls you to do some specific work for His glory, He gives you a specific promise. Notice what He said to the Israelites in Haggai 1:13, “I am with you, saith the LORD.” This promise of God’s presence implies several things. It implies that God will help you with your work, so that it will be successful and bring glory to His name. It implies that He will guide you and give you wisdom. It implies that He will protect you and supply your needs. It implies that He will bless you. Of course, it also implies the opposite. If you are not involved in God’s work for you, then you will not have all these things in your life. This being said, then it is critical that you find the work that God wants you to be involved with and get involved. In other words, find out the way that God is going, and go with Him. In other words, make sure that you seek and do God’s will. That is why we read in Luke 22:40-43 concerning Jesus, “And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.


After you become saved through faith in Jesus, there is nothing more important for you than to have God’s will done in your life. Therefore, your biggest enemy is often your own free will. Through prayer and the surrender of you own will, make sure that you can always say, “Not my will, but thine, be done.” At times the forces of life will be very powerful in pushing you away from doing that. One of the reasons that it is good to surrender to the will of other people, especially those in authority, is because it will teach you to surrender to God’s authority. If you cannot surrender to the will of man, how can you ever learn to surrender to the will of God? It says in Proverbs 14:12 and in Proverbs 16:25, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”   



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Copyright; 2011 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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