Taking Responsibility: Renewal
I. God’s Indictment on Priorities of His People; 1:1-5.
1 In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest: 2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: "These people say, 'The time has not yet come for the LORD's house to be built.'" 3 Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: 4 "Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?" 5 Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways.
With the work on the temple halted, the people began to pursue their own selfish interests. There is no excuse for neglecting the things that God has called us to in his Word. Though there are many priorities in our lives, God demands to be the top one.
II. Symptom One of Wrong Priorities; 1:6.
6 You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it."
Their disappointments and frustrations with life are directly linked to the discipline of God. Dissatisfaction and frustration may be signs of God’s discipline in our lives.
III. God’s Remedy for Wrong Priorities; 1:7-8.
7 This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. 8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored," says the LORD.
God asks them to consider their situation and to get busy and rebuild the temple in order that God may take pleasure in it and be honored. The solution to their dissatisfaction in life is simple, “obedience.” Does God take pleasure in your priorities, in how you spend your time and money? Is God honored by your priorities and the things that you put first, or over other things? Do the things of God often get bumped?
IV. Symptom Two of Wrong Priorities; 1:9-11.
9 "You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?" declares the LORD Almighty. "Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house. 10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11 I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the oil and whatever the ground produces, on men and cattle, and on the labor of your hands."
We need to examine our lives and see if we might be experiencing God's discipline. It is sometimes difficult to tell, because not all sickness or calamity is the result of sin in our lives. But it sometimes is directed at us as divine discipline. The Bible encourages us to ask God about the hardships that enter our lives. In a world filled with increasing activities and opportunities, individuals and families need to ask serious question about their priorities in light of God’s kingdom.
V. Proper Response of God’s People; 2:12-15
12 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the whole remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the LORD their God and the message of the prophet Haggai, because the LORD their God had sent him. And the people feared the LORD. 13 Then Haggai, the LORD's messenger, gave this message of the LORD to the people: "I am with you," declares the LORD. 14 So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the LORD Almighty, their God, 15 on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month in the second year of King Darius.
Zerubbabel, Joshua, and all the people obeyed God and Haggai. Then God speaks a word of encouragement through Haggai. “I am with you.” He stirred up the spirit of the leaders and the people. They got their eyes off themselves and back on God and his work. They demonstrated an attitude of fear, respect, and honor. They came and began to work on rebuilding the temple.
This passage of Scripture challenges us to see our world from God’s perspective and make his priorities our priorities. We will then see the consequences of not sharing these priorities. We need to take responsibility for a renewed commitment to our relationship with God and make his priorities our priorities.