Haggai 1-2: A Time to Invest
December 21, 2020
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
When God’s people returned from exile, they began to rebuild the temple, but after a little while they lost impetus and direction and gave up and stopped the rebuilding. Haggai, under God’s direction and by God’s inspiration, now comes and preaches to God’s people to keep on building.
First, he addresses their excuses. They are saying it is not the right time to build (1:2). The economy was bad (2:17), and therefore it was easy enough to make the argument that no more building should be taking place. The budget was not healthy, therefore reduce your expenditures, and certainly do not continue on an expensive capital campaign.
But, asks God, if the issue really is the “time,” then how come it is, apparently, nonetheless the right “time” for you to be invested in your “paneled houses” (1:4)? In other words, the argument about it being the wrong “time” was really only a cover for them to invest in their own households, rather than in God’s house. What then about the economic situation? Well, says God, “consider your ways” (1:5). They have sown much—invested much—but harvested little (1:6). There has been no proportionate return on their investments. But they should consider this strange phenomenon and ask “why” (1:9).
Well, the answer is because God’s house lies in ruins (1:9). One of the hardest truths for carnal men to grasp is the practical impact of spiritual reality. Not seeking first God’s kingdom affects us practically now in this world, as well as so much more (infinitely more and eternally more) in the world to come.
But God’s people listen to this rebuke. They “obeyed the voice of the LORD their God” (1:12). And God tells them that he is “with” them (1:13). They then are encouraged that, though the present house (to those who saw the glory of the former house) seems as “nothing” to them (2:3), actually “the latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former” (2:9). For God’s “Spirit” remains with them (2:5).
This promise of the glory of the latter house is fulfilled finally in Christ (John 2:21). Finances are never an easy matter to address in church, but the Bible addresses them far more frequently than we typically dare because “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). Let us invest our firstfruits and first priority in the house of God.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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