Some Tips on How to Read the Book of Haggai
Haggai can be read in one sitting. To read Haggai, we need to know the history of the people of God.
Background : THE RETURN TO JERUSALEM
Haggai was a great encourager to the depressing situation in Jerusalem. When King Cyrus, Persian King conquered Babylon, he allows the Jews to return to their homeland, Jerusalem. He even provided materials for them to go back and rebuild the temple so that the Jews can pray to their God on his behalf.
The Jews went back to Jerusalem, going home to ruins. Most who went back were the priests with the hope to rebuild the temple again. The rebuilding was not easy for there were too many ruins. They also face opposition from the Samaritans living in Jerusalem. After rebuilding the foundation of the house of God for 2 years, it has been deserted for 14 years. When King Darius became king, the subsidy and resources provided has put to a stop. The people continue to build their own lives but leaving the work of rebuilding the temple behind.
In this dimming situation, Haggai the prophet spoke. He encourages the people to continue the work of rebuilding to its completion.
Questions to ponder as you read
- What do you notice about Haggai the prophet?
- How did Haggai encourage the people to rebuild?
- What were the promises of God through the prophet Haggai
THE RETURN GLORY OF GOD
God’s house must be a priority
Haggai and gang return home to Jerusalem with the hope of rebuilding the temple of God. Soon after the foundation was laid, the work of rebuilding has put to a stop. The word of the Lord did not come to Haggai but came through Haggai. It has come to his senses that God’s house must be a priority. God’s house represents the presence of God among the people that is why it should be a priority.
The returnees have gotten their priorities right when they first got back to Jerusalem. They made a sacrifice to go home and they have tried to rebuild. But because the work was just too daunting for them and with the cut of resources, everything was put to a stop. But this stop has been quite long. For 16 years not one brick was added to the rebuilding and the people has gone to build their own houses, their own home.
It is time!! God’s house must be a priority. The people must come back to God.
“Give careful thought to your ways”
Haggai then asked the people to ‘give careful thought to their ways’. Consider again how come their situation did not improve and their crops were failing. It was because God’s house still remains in ruins while the people busy with their own panelled houses. Think again, what is really missing? Have we become too busy and left the more important thing aside?
I Am With You
The LORD Almighty was with the people throughout the whole process of rebuilding the temple to its completion. The LORD stirred up their spirits to restart their engines. Whenever the people were discouraged when they saw a smaller and not so grand building, the LORD kept encouraging them to be strong and keep rebuilding.
The Glory of this present house will be greater
One may think, what glory is that since the new temple doesn’t look that great? But this glory was that God’s presence will be there with the people. God Himself will fill it up and in it He will grant peace.
A Celebration Indeed
It is indeed a celebration when the rebuilding of the temple was completed. Haggai the encourager, whose name means festival, really brings to celebration.