Welcome back, fellow exile!
Be prepared leaders! The trials are about to get tougher.
Your Bible might have a heading for this chapter, “Haggai Begins Temple Building,” but by the second year of Darius’s reign, they had been at it for nearly 3 decades! And at this point in the story, his grandson had ordered the work stopped. Sometimes, it’s better to just trust the text and not the headings the publisher puts in.
For the children of G-d, first it was the “peoples of the lands” that tried to stop the temple rebuilding, then it was an ignorant government by decree.
In your own efforts, now that Satan is on the ropes, you may find your own people saying, “The time has not yet come, the time for the house of the Lord to be rebuilt.”
In their case in scriptures, maybe it was even from some of the church leadership? Haggai didn’t say, but whoever it was lived in “paneled houses”, so they weren’t no slouches.
What are you going to do if some of your own leadership isn’t getting involved, maybe even saying, “why are we talking about rebuilding now when there are other priorities?” What are you going to do if your leadership isn’t united as we laid out on Day 3 of this study guide and reading?
This is the chapter that originally got our attention for this entire project because it came with a dashboard warning light, like the ones in your car, that fit our lives in that moment.
We all can feel that our lives, particularly our business lives, can become stagnant and unfulfilling. Like it’s a meaningless or even fearful game of working hard to put another gold coin on top of a stack, only to have some unexpected expense or loss steel one from the bottom. That feeling should be a dashboard warning light! Don’t ignore it!
When we feel this way, we all often turn to G-d in prayer and say, “Please Lord, bless my business.” But Haggai says twice, “consider your ways.” Any time the Bible repeats something, it’s moving the dashboard warning light to the top and putting it right in the middle of your speedometer, so you won’t miss it.
G-d gives us this commandment in the center of that warning light, “Go!” up to the mountains, bring wood, rebuild the temple. Or in our case, “go” into the neighborhoods around your church and home, bring people, rebuild the body. All other projects, no matter how ambitious will fail. Why? Because the Lord of armies says He will blow it away.
Did you get that?
When your ambitious church plans fail, it can be G-d Himself blowing them away because His house remains desolate while yours is fine. And fearfully, this punishment doesn’t just apply to your church, it applies to all the land around it and its inhabitants—the churched and the unchurched.
And G-d won’t just stir up the spirit of our leaders in a vacuum. We must do something first. In this chapter, before a stirring, and without any cool music concert, or entertainment, without any formula or plan of man, the leaders with all the remnant…obeyed G-d to rebuild and showed reverence. That was it. No predicate. Just obedience and reverence.
Then… G-d said, “I am with you.”
Wow. That’s amazingly cool, and then stirred up the spirit of the executive and pastoral leadership, and the remnant of the people and they all worked on restoring the temple.
Big Take-Aways from Haggai 1
16) Do a sanity check on your efforts. Is your leadership united on outreach? Are the people? Are any of your other efforts stagnating? If so, teach others why this is happening by sharing this chapter from Haggai 1!
17) Call on your leadership and your people to obey G-d and show reverence. He will be faithful and stand with you and stir your spirits.