The prophet Haggai brought four messages to God's people. These four messages are also relevant to today's church.
Consider Your Ways
Haggai's message was, 'Give careful thought to your ways.' (Hag. 1:7) and for them to get to work rebuilding the temple (Hag. 1:8).
Their lives were filled with things to do and God's work was way down the list, this resulted in their lives being in a mess. They blamed Opposition, God's timing, family, and even the economy, when the real problem was with their priorities. Today the people of God can be just the same, making the same excuses, when we need to put God first and get our priorities right. As with them, God can also send hardship to get our attention (Hag. 1:9-11)
For us as individuals and corporately we need to build our spiritual lives. We need to live for God's pleasure and to display His glory. The message for us as individuals remains exactly the same, to 'Put God first'. Whatever our abilities and opportunities, we have a responsibility in building the Lord's house today. We must not allow other things to keep us from doing our part in edifying the body of Christ. We must put the kingdom of God first. If we will put the Lord and His kingdom first, God will bless us and provide all our needs and bear fruit. If we neglect the Lord's work we won't have God's blessing or help and may even experience God's loving discipline.
The people became discouraged (Hag. 2:3) just like we do today, but God is in control, and He's got a plan. God has the means for us to accomplish what He wants us to do. It is the presence of Christ in the temple that will make it glorious (Hag. 2:9) Church leaders and congregations may become discouraged at their lives or ministries when they compare them with the past or with other people's ministries. We must remember that God has not called us to live in the past, or to imitate the latest church growth fad to appear successful. This is not how God measures our success. Instead, He works with us where we are, and not where we've been. That's how God wants us to think, to keep Him and His calling first in our life.
Nothing we do is too small or insignificant when God is involved. It's the presence of the Lord in the work that makes it significant. Haggai reminds us to look for our help in the Lord, that God is with us. He has called us to faithful obedience to His Word and what He chooses to accomplish through us should not be despised as something worthless.
Everything they did was unclean and caused them to lose out on God's blessing. What was missing was their obedience. It says in (1Sam. 15:22) 'To obey is better than sacrifice.' It doesn't matter how hard we work, if we're not doing what God wants us to do then we miss out on His blessing. When you start to obey, God says, 'I will bless you.' (Hag. 2:19). If we want to keep God's blessing, then we must obey Him!
Haggai reminds the people that holiness is not contagious, but uncleanness is (Hag. 2:12-14). At the start of their obedience, God would bless them. We too are instructed in the importance of holiness. We should persevere in holiness, valuing God's blessing and desiring to encourage God's people, knowing that our sinful attitudes and disobedience can easily infect others.
God called Zerubbabel, a servant, a signet ring, and a chosen one (Hag. 2:23). Though seemingly insignificant, his part was indeed important to God.
His blessing can and should be our blessing. In Christ, we are God's servants and we are special to Him. We are God's chosen ones and everything we do is important to Him. For us the Holy Spirit is our seal. As it says in 2 Cor. 1:22: 'Set his seal of ownership on us... a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come'.
We are to consider our ways and priorities, putting God first in all things.
We are all part of the body and have a unique role to play that God has given us. Let us seek to use our gifts to build up and edify the body of Christ.
We are not to compare ourselves to other people, churches or ministries. It is the presence of the Lord in what we do that makes the work significant.
We are called to be obedient and live holy lives and that uncleanness is contagious and can infect others.
Finally, we are chosen and the Holy Spirit is the seal guaranteeing our future inheritance. How great is that.
I think the message of Haggai can be summed up in one scripture.
'But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well'. (Matt 6:33)
So let us live obedient lives and keep Him first in everything.
Heavenly Father, help us to always put You first in all things and to live a life of obedience and holiness, pleasing to You. Help us to discover our place in the Body and the role You ordained for us. To remind us that no matter how great or small our role is; it is vital and both have equal importance in your sight. We thank you too that Your Word says, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit; our future inheritance is guarantied.