Listen: John North presents “Time With God”. (Airing 6am weekdays on Hope 103.2 & Inspire Digital.)
The book of Haggai in the Bible, is a passionate message from the prophet Haggai to the people of Judah. He urges them to rebuild the temple, and put God in the centre of their lives. In this 5-part series, John North looks at what we can learn today from this message.
Good morning. We want to start the week off the best way possible and that’s by getting into God’s word and listening to what God has to say to us. Build your life on what God has to say about life and God will then get involved in your life in ways that you can’t imagine. We wanna talk this week about the fantastic little Old Testament Book of Haggai. This is how it starts out.
In the second year of Darius, the king, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the Lord came by the prophet, Haggai…that’s where the book gets its name…to Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the governor of Judah, and to Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Now Darius, the king, was the king of the Medo-Persian Empire. And when Israel had disobeyed God for so long and God sent them prophet after prophet to warn them to turn back to him, He tried using calamity to make them turn back to Him. He tried blessing them. Nothing seemed to work.
And finally, God warned that they would be overrun and carried away into exile if they didn’t turn back to Him. But they ignored His word, his prophets, bringing really what was His word of love calling them back to Himself. And so God sent His judgment and the great nation of Israel and Judah were both destroyed and taken into exile into Babylon. The Babylonian empire was then superseded by the empire of the Medes and Persians. And in that time, Israel responded to God, and God allowed a bunch of the Israelites to come back to Israel and begin rebuilding Jerusalem.
And that’s what happened up to this point. Zerubbabel is the governor of those people who’ve come back, and work has stagnated. And the house of God, the temple, is sitting there still in ruins. And so here comes the message to Zerubbabel through the prophet, Haggai. It says, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, this people says, the time has not come, the time for the house of the Lord to be rebuilt.” That is, we’re focusing on other things. We’re just trying to survive. We’re barely making it. We’re not going to invest time and energy into building God’s house.
Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai, the prophet, saying, “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house lies desolate.” Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts. “Consider your ways.” We’re going to find that phrase coming back again and again in the Book of Haggai. “Consider your ways. Think about your priorities. You have time to invest on building your paneled houses, making sure that you’re taken care of, but you’re not focusing on God, the most important person in your life.”
I wonder if you find God challenging you with that same message today. Do you feel like in your life you’re saying, “Well, I know one day, I’ll put God first in my life. One day, I’ll start honoring God with my income. One day, I’ll really stand up for God, but not yet.” And God is saying to us, “If you get this priority wrong, everything in your life is wrong.” I’m John North.