The message of the prophet Haggai was one of few prophetic messages obeyed by its recipients. Many Jews had returned to Judah following their exile in Babylon, but rather than rebuilding God's house, they had occupied themselves with personal home and economic matters only to find that nothing seemed to turn out productively. "In the second year of Darius the king . . . came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel . . , governor of Judah, and to Joshua . . .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.
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. 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." Haggai 1:1-6. They were suffering from the malady of disordered priorities, something that we are only too prone to share. Anyone who thinks they lack sufficient income to pay tithe is partaking of this problem. Worry over personal material needs also reflects misplaced priorities. Unless we put Christ and His kingdom first at all times, we will likewise have, not only a potential for chronic deficits, but unnecessary anxieties as well.
When Haggai gave the message, "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" (verse 8), the response was one to warm God's heart. "Then Zerubbabel . . . and Joshua . . . 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" (verse 12). The following assuring words of the Lord are for us when we choose to give Him and His will first place in our lives. "I am with you, saith the LORD" (verse 13). Now, that makes for confident living!
Kathryn Irizarry is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.