The Book of Haggai: Study No 1 Reluctant Builders Revived (1:1-2)

Study No.1   Reluctant Builders Revived (1:1-2)

(Vs.1-2) “In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest: This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come for the Lord’s house to be built.’”

Procrastination in doing God’s will and work when it is known does not bring the blessing of God. One of the most subtle tricks of the devil is to make us complacent and slack in our zeal to work for the Lord which is a daily expectation from Him and our duty to perform it. While God is not against working at one’s career, or building a nice house, or driving a nice car or taking some time out to relax with family and friends, He does expect us to always keep working at what He had ordained for us to do even before we were born into this world, a plan for our lives He has mapped out for us from all eternity (Psalm 139:15-16) (Jeremiah 1:4-5) (Ephesians 2:8-10) (Hebrews 10:24-25).

When we were saved we were saved to serve Him and given spiritual gifts along the line of the avenue of service and ministry He has called us to and ordained for us. While our avenue of service, calling and gifting will be unique and according to the way God has created us, the main thrust of this calling and gifting will be to serve Him in building His kingdom on earth and to serve our brothers and sisters in Messiah.

God’s message through Haggai came to Zerubbabel the governor of Judah and to Joshua the High priest. Israel as a nation was not a democracy but a theocracy where the secular rulers and the religious leaders were under His headship. They were obligated to God to submit their powers of governance to His leading and instruction, not only for them as leaders, but also for the people over whom they had oversight. The fact that the people had become accustomed to sit back and were by and large “feathering their own nests” as it were and had become slack in continuing building God’s House was a reflection on the leaders.

To be fair in the people’s case at Jerusalem they had experienced fierce opposition in the past when they were laying the foundations that had stopped the work more than likely because they were discouraged and dispirited to some degree and this went on for 16 years after only having laid the foundation for the temple. Satan will always opposes the work of God and his agents in this diabolical work are people through whom he works to harass God’s saints and to hinder their walk in Him and their work for Him (Daniel 10:12-13) (1 Thessalonians 2:18).

This is why those who have the responsibility of oversight of the local assemblies must not become slack to teach the people the Word of God and to seek to live what they teach before the people, and to constantly remind them of what God requires in the work of building His kingdom. Until the rapture and resurrection comes at the Second Coming of Messiah His living Temple, which we are if we have been spiritually reborn by the Spirit living on the inside of us, must continue our work of seeking to see sinners saved, saints sanctified and collectively working together in the local assemblies under the direct control of the blessed Holy Spirit (Zechariah 4:6) (Nehemiah 9:20) (Acts 15:28-29).

When the Children of Israel were on their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land they were led by the Pillar of Cloud by Day and by the Pillar of Fire at night which physically represented the Holy Spirit. When the pillar moved the people moved and when it stopped the people stopped. This is a type of you and I as God’s living temple being regularly led by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us personally and collectively when we are working side by side with our fellow believers and exercising our spiritual gifts in the local assembly as we seek to serve the saints, to edify others and to build up the Body of Messiah in faith and love (Romans 8:14) (Ephesians 4:-16) (John 13:34-35) (1 Corinthians 12:4-7) (Galatians 5:13).

Sadly there are many mega churches today that have their prestigious buildings, their professionally orchestrated worship services and whose congregations are living in the lap of luxury and multitudes are pew warmers, maybe involved to a degree in Church activities in the respective assemblies they attend but have lost sight of the main thrust in God’s work of seeing sinners saved and saints sanctified. In the time of Haggai the governor Zerubbabel and the High Priest Joshua had possibly also been affected by this fleshly desire to live in luxury along with the saints in their care and God had to give them and His people “a wake-up call.” Even though they were still worshipping Him they had become somewhat slothful in keeping their zeal fresh for building God’s temple. They knew it was God’s will and purpose to keep working on His house but possibly had become slack themselves with continuing the work with zeal.

This is always a spiritual danger we face from Satan especially when we have been assaulted and opposed by Satan. If we are walking in the will of God then the battle against the world, the flesh and the devil will be fierce and intense at times, and we will all have the tendency to just give up and not to continue in the work God has called us and gifted us for. Also we may experience stiff opposition in our ministry for the Lord and this in itself can cause us to draw back and to lose our zeal for doing wholeheartedly what God has called us to do for Him. However, we live by faith and not by our feelings or by what we experience in our circumstances, and whenever we seek to keep in step with the Holy Spirit walking by faith we can expect opposition.

As it is written; “through much tribulation (tests, trials, afflictions, opposition, hardships, oppression and persecution) we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22b). However, God is pleased with faith, which not only implies believing but faithfulness expressed by our actions, and this pleases God immensely and He rewards this kind of trust in Him (Hebrews 11:6).

Exercising this kind of faith shows that we are sowing to please the Spirit and not sowing to please our selfish and sinful nature which cannot please God anyway (Romans 8:5-9). As Paul writes; “The one who sows to please his flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; but the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to the family of faith” (Galatians 6:8-10).

It has been said; “the nature we feed the most is the one that will control us.” With these promises to us in God’s Word and in light of them let us keep working at laying aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and keep running with endurance the race that is set before us, always fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1`-2). If you have become a reluctant builder and have started to lay back and to neglect your calling and gifting and your zeal for the things of God has grown cold, do not fall into the mindset of those Israelites who said; “‘The time has not yet come for the Lord’s house to be built.’” In light of what is happening in the world and especially in Israel and the Middle-East, can we afford to ‘chill out’ from being involved in building the kingdom of God and seeing many living stones added to the building of His Living Temple, the Body of Messiah?

Go to Study No.2