Haggai 1:8 – Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD.
One of the most important lessons given in the Old Testament is the result of sin. The Word of God defines the boundaries of the path that leads to an abundant life. The Word was made flesh to shepherd God’s people to that life. Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly” (John 10:10). When we follow the commandments and teaching of the Shepherd, we know that we please our LORD, and our relationships with our fellow man are blessed as well. Therefore, we should not be surprised when the results of our sins individually and collectively drag us down and away from blessings and life.
Haggai is not one of the most well known prophets, but his message was just as important. He was a contemporary of Ezra and preached to the children of Israel during the return from Babylon following decades of enslavement. Having returned to Jerusalem, the people started by rebuilding the wall around the city for defense with the intent of rebuilding the Temple when that task was complete. However, once they felt safe, the people focused instead upon their own homes and livelihoods neglecting the House of God. While in some important ways the Temple was merely symbolic, the peoples’ lack of devotion was very real.
In the opening chapter of his prophesy, Haggai chastised the Israelites for enriching themselves while the Temple was left waste. A straightforward reading of the book clearly shows that the peoples’ efforts at prosperity were found to be vain. They sowed and did not receive a return. They ate and drank, but they were never filled. Their efforts were frustrated, because their focus was wrong. The LORD knows that we need to sow, and eat and drink. He made us thus. However, first and foremost we are made to love God (Deuteronomy 6:5).
When we fail to seek Him, His kingdom, and His righteousness, we should not be surprised when our life is not joyful and prosperous. True joy and prosperity are derived from the fruits of the Spirit and not the fruits of our worldly work. Let us then return to the work God has appointed. Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and The LORD will take pleasure in it, and He will be glorified. Amen.