Haggai was one of three prophets that God sent to speak to the nation of Israel following their return from captivity in Babylon (Zechariah and Malachi being the other two). For 19 years they had been back in the land, but had failed to rebuild the city of Jerusalem or their beloved Temple. Much of this was due to the intimidation and hostility of those now inhabiting the land. The books of Ezra and Nehemiah detail the oppression and threats the Children of Israel faced, and even the letters sent to the kings of the ruling Persian Empire seeking an injunction – which was granted – preventing the Jews rebuilding.
It was a time of national discouragement. Yet into this gloomy scene comes Haggai. His ministry is remarkable, for in just 24 days he changed the heart of a nation!
His message was clear. ” Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste? Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. (Haggai 1:4-5)
‘Cieled houses’ refers to panelled houses, i.e. houses that had wood panelling. Nothing wrong with that you may think; but this cedar panelling had originally been destined for the rebuilding of the Temple. Because of the oppression they faced, it had ended up being used to line their own homes instead.
The devil will ‘let us be’ if we forsake the work of God’s house and invest our time building our own. It is no threat to the kingdom of darkness if we are occupied trying to build our own houses, trying to provide for ourselves. We toil and labour to put bread on the table, we work hard to clothe ourselves, yet Jesus made it clear: “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”. (Matt 6:25-33)
Oswald Chambers comments: “Take no thought for your life.” “Be careful about one thing only,” says our Lord—“your relationship to Me.” Common sense shouts loud and says—“That is absurd, I must consider how I am going to live, I must consider what I am going to eat and drink.” Jesus says you must not. Beware of allowing the thought that this statement is made by One Who does not understand our particular circumstances. Jesus Christ knows our circumstances better than we do, and He says we must not think about these things so as to make them the one concern of our life. Whenever there is competition, be sure that you put your relationship to God first”
Categories | SUNDAY MORNING STUDIES
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