Monday, April 3, 2017

Block 61: Haggai

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“’ my house so that I might take pleasure in it…’” Haggai 1:8
It is hard to understand how little or nothing can be known about so many of the minor prophets, yet their writings form a significant portion of the Old Testament.  Haggai is another mystery prophet.  It is quite possible that he was one of the captives taken to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar, but we can not be certain of that.  We do know, however, that the prophet Haggai began his ministry about sixteen years after the Jews returned to Judah.  Haggai was an older man (probably in his 70s) when he began his ministry, and he would have remembered a glorious Jerusalem before it was conquered by the Babylonians.   Haggai was meticulous about dating his prophecies, so in his book (the 2nd shortest book of the Bible), we know exact dates for his four prophecies. 
In 538 BC, the Samaritans strongly opposed the efforts to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.  The Jews caved to the Samaritan opposition and suspended the reconstruction.  The Jewish people got busy reconstructing their own homes, building farms, business and creating new lives.  They put the temple on the back burner.  Seventeen years later, the prophet Haggai entered the scene, and he was not very happy.  He chastised the Jews for building their own houses while ignoring God’s house.  Haggai told them that their crops had failed and businesses failed as God’s punishment.  He instructed the Jews that they should put “first things first.”  And God should always be first.  Unlike the minor prophets before him, whose prophecies fell on deaf ears, the Jews actually listened this time!  The temple in Jerusalem was reconstructed, and God was with them once again.
Haggai had questioned the Jews’ priorities.  They professed to love God, but their time and attention was focused on other priorities.  Through Haggai, God told the Jews to put Him first.  He tells us the same thing — every day!   How many days can we actually say that we put God first in our lives?

Haggai convinced the Jews to focus their energy on rebuilding the house of the Lord.  I chose the Log Cabin to represent God’s house, and Haggai’s role in rebuilding it.

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