Haggai 1-2 Dwelling in paneled houses, while the LORD’s house is in ruins

From Haggai 1-2

37 haggai thumbIntroduction

When the first wave of Jewish exiles returned from Babylon to Jerusalem in 538 B.C., they began to rebuild the temple but soon gave up. Inspired by the prophetic ministries of Haggai and Zechariah, they finally completed the task in 516. Haggai rebuked the people for living in “paneled houses” while the house of God remained in ruins (1:4). He warned that, despite their best efforts, their wealth would never suffice, because the Lord was not pleased with their neglect of his temple (see Lev. 26:2–20). He called them to repent and renew their covenant with the God of their fathers. He assured them that God would achieve his purposes for his people and for all other nations. The rebuilding of the temple symbolized God’s restored presence among his people. (The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.)

This post is part of my bible in a year series.

Passage and Comments

Ezra and Nehemiah are reasonably well known for being books that describe Israel’s return to the promised land after exile. Haggai is another. In Haggai the LORD issues a command;

1 In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came by the hand of Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest: 2 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the LORD.” 3 Then the word of the LORD came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?

5 Now, therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways. 6 You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.

7 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways. 8 Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the LORD. 9 You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the LORD of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house.

10 Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. 11 And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast, and on all their labors.” (Hag 1.1-11)

The people were worried about their own homes and farms. They neglected the LORD and left his house in ruins. The LORD needed to command them to rebuild it. He promised he would return.

Story of Israel

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

We see through the story of Ezra that the people eventually did rebuild the temple. But unlike times past the LORD’s glory did not fill it. The LORD no longer dwelt among his people that way. They followed the LORD’s command, but the LORD had other idea’s for the temple he would fill with his glory.

Story of Jesus

The LORD revealed his glory, not in the old temple, but in his son Jesus Christ.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. (Jn 1.14-18)

Jesus means ‘God with us’. God has supremely revealed who he is by his Son. Jesus like Haggai commands his people to look away from the worries of the world and seek the Father’s righteousness.

31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Mt 6.31-33)

What would that look like for us today?

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