We know how life can take us away from what is most important. Pressures, demands, expectations, and tasks push in from all sides and assault our schedules. Do this! Be there! Finish that! Call them! Everyone seems to want something from us; family, friends, employer, school, church, clubs. Soon we have little left to give as we run out of energy and time. We find ourselves rushing through life, attending to the necessary, the immediate, and the urgent. WHAT IS TRULY IMPORTANT?!?
We say God is number one, but then we relegate him to a lesser number on our "to do" lists. Twenty-five centuries ago, a voice was heard, calling men and women to the right priorities. Haggai knew what was important and what had to be done, and he challenged God’s people to respond. They were more concerned about building their own homes than finishing God’s work. Haggai told them to get their priorities straight.
It is easy to make other priorities more important than doing God’s work. But God wants us to follow through and build up his Kingdom. Don’t stop and don’t make excuses. Set your heart on what is right and do it. Get your priorities straight.
Purpose: To call the people to complete the rebuilding of the Temple.
ORIGINAL AUDIENCE: The people living in Jerusalem and those who had returned from exile
DATE WRITTEN: 520 B.C.
SETTING: The Temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed in 586 B.C. Cyrus had allowed the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild their temple in 538 B.C. They had begun the work but had been unable to complete it. Through the ministry of Haggai and Zechariah, the Temple was completed (520– 516 B.C.).
KEY VERSE: Then Haggai spoke, calling them back to God’s values: “Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins?” (1: 4). The people were more concerned with their own needs than with doing God’s will, and, as a result, they suffered.
KEY PEOPLE: Haggai, Zerubbabel, Jeshua
KEY PLACE: Jerusalem
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