Haggai 1:2-11


Thus says the Lord of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house. Then the word of the Lord came by the prophet Haggai, saying: Is it a time for you yourselves to live in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider how you have fared. You have sown much, and harvested little; you eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and you that earn wages earn wages to put them into a bag with holes.

Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider how you have fared. Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored, says the Lord. You have looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? says the Lord of hosts. Because my house lies in ruins, while all of you hurry off to your own houses. Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the soil produces, on human beings and animals, and on all their labors.


Haggai was writing in the year 520 BCE. The Israelites had been freed from Babylon by Cyrus the Great nearly 20 years earlier. They had returned to their homeland in and around Jerusalem. However, they had not yet rebuilt the temple. Haggai was writing to the two leaders of Israel, Joshua and Zerubbabel, to build the new temple at once. In this passage, the prophet complains that the people have been totally focused on building their own homes and tending to their own concerns, and have ignored the Lord their God. "Consider how you have fared," he urges several times; this seems equivalent to the contemporary challenge, "How's that working for you?" The raft of problems the people were facing, Haggai insists, were a direct result of their choice of priorities. To restore prosperity and abundance, they must immediately build a temple for their Lord.

I see the same challenge unfolding in my own spiritual process. I tend to focus on the outer, trying to fix things in my mortal life, without recognizing that I am putting my spiritual work and awareness much lower on my priority list. When I focus on the outer, the result is disappointing, at best. When I remember to 'Put God First' by making the affirmation and appreciation of my own divine Spirit, everything else falls into place.


Rev. Ed