A Time to Rebuild:
As with many of the minor prophets, I had read Haggai before, even had a vague idea what it was about, but sadly I was quite mistaken, I knew far less about the little book of Haggai with its 38 verses than I would have imagined.
The church I was associated with, many of the relationships had become very strained, I felt discouraged and all alone, my wife was out of town helping our older daughter, it felt as though all was falling apart, there was despair on every side. Then late one Saturday evening while sitting in a restaurant God led me to the book of Haggai. It gave me perspective of the problems facing myself and the church. I began to see it wasn’t just the congregation that was at fault, I too was part of the problem. Perhaps, I was a bigger part of the problem than they were.
Looking back, it does not matter who was more responsible, it only matters that things needed to change for us as a congregation to once more move forward.
I bring a Bible with me wherever I go, and that night sitting in the restaurant was no exception. As I waited to place my order the Bible fell open, my eyes rested on was verse six in chapter one of Haggai where it says: “You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat, but do not have enough; You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes.”
Then verse seven says, “Thus says the Lord of Hosts: ‘Consider your ways!’”
The service was poor for there were way too many people in the restaurant for the wait staff and the cooks to keep up with, so it took well over an hour for my food to be served. For quite some time, I thought and prayed about these two verses. “Consider your ways!” What ways, what have I done, what has the congregation done?
Eventually I started at the beginning of the chapter: “In the second year of King Darius, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the world of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest saying, 2 ‘This people says, “the time has not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built.”’”
The thought went through my mind, “Have we as a people begun to make excuses? Have we convinced ourselves that the time to move forward is at some distant time in the future and that we as a people have become content with our present condition? Does our reluctance to move forward have anything to do with the strained relationships in the church?”
What was God trying to impress upon me?
Over the next few posts we will explore the prophecy of Haggai, what it meant to the remnant of Israel who had returned from Babylon, and if any lessons can be applied to the remnant of Spiritual Israel today?