Focal Passages: Haggai 1:1-11, 2:5-9
Picture this. You’ve just moved into a new house. All of your furniture is in place and each room is filled with stacks of moving boxes, scribbled in permanent marker: Living Room, Kitchen, Bedroom, Bathroom, Office.
You’ve had a few moments to rest, and now it’s time to start unpacking and settling into your new home. Which room would you unpack first? Your kitchen, maybe? Everyone needs food, after all. Or perhaps you work from home, so you’d go straight for your office equipment.
Or, say you’re like me – you can’t stand living out of a suitcase for long – so you start with your clothes. You fold them, stack the piles neatly into your dresser drawer, and then work towards your closet.
The first room you choose to unpack reveals a lot about your life habits and priorities.
What do you think is vital, what you simply can’t live without? That’s where you start. So it is for the people of God in the book of Haggai.
After being released from Babylonian captivity, the exiles returned home to Judah. When the people started rebuilding their community from the ruins of invasion, their first priority wasn’t the Lord – it was their own homes.
They labored to build elaborate houses for themselves and forgot about God’s temple. What was intended to be the very mark of God’s presence among His people, the center of their life and community, uniting them and setting them apart as a holy people, remained rubble.
Apparently, they thought the Lord could wait. He was the one who had promised their deliverance and who had brought them safely home from judgment to live as His holy people, glorifying Him and blessing the nations. So, He sent His prophet to remind the people of their first priority – their relationship with the Lord. The same is true for us today. We constantly face the temptation to choose between our personal wants and the needs of the people of God and His Kingdom.
Will we be like Judah, focusing on our personal glory rather than the community God has established for His glory?