Updated: May 8
In one of my Sunday School lessons, I taught on Haggai, one of the twelve minor prophets in the Old Testament. The book of
Haggai is only two chapters long, but there is a ton of thought provoking information in those two chapters.
Two key themes come out of the book of Haggai. The first is God has charged them to rebuild Solomon's Temple destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, 66 years before this book was written. The second is the theme of misplaced priorities.
The book states:
"Haggai 1:5-6 And then a little later, God-of-the-Angel-Armies spoke out again: "Take a good, hard look at your life. Think it over. You have spent a lot of money, but you haven't much to show for it. You keep filling your plates, but you never get filled up. You keep drinking and drinking and drinking, but you're always thirsty. You put on layer after layer of clothes, but you can't get warm. And the people who work for you, what are they getting out of it? Not much— a leaky, rusted-out bucket, that's what."
7 That's why God-of-the-Angel-Armies said: "Take a good, hard look at your life. Think it over."
8-9 Then God said: "Here's what I want you to do: Climb into the hills and cut some timber. Bring it down and rebuild the Temple. Do it just for me. Honor me. You've had great ambitions for yourselves, but nothing has come of it. The little you have brought to my Temple, I've blown away—there was nothing to it.
9-11 "And why?" (This is a Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, remember.) "Because while you've run around, caught up with taking care of your own houses, my Home is in ruins. That's why. Because of your stinginess. And so I've given you a dry summer and a skimpy crop. I've matched your tight-fisted stinginess by decreeing a season of drought, drying up fields and hills, withering gardens and orchards, stunting vegetables and fruit. Nothing—not man or woman, not animal or crop—is going to thrive."
What does this scripture mean?
God is telling them because you've been so focused on all the things that are important to you, and by "you," I mean us, we haven't placed any priority on Him. Until we choose to prioritize God, none of the things we do will last.
We're very focused on our jobs. We are often overly focused on our children. We focus on being the head of the company, securing a position on the board, or starting a business. The effort it takes to focus on these different things take our attention. By default, we take our focus off of God. When I talk about misplaced priorities, it's not to say those things are not important. The question is are we prioritizing the things of God first?
God told the people of Israel that as long as you continue to put yourselves first, the things you want are not going to be as successful as they could be. You can still grow a crop during a drought. It just won't be the harvest it could have been had you benefitted from plenty of rain.
As you read that scripture, reflect on your life.
What are your priorities?
Are you focused on the things of God first?
What shifts do you need to make to put God first?