At the end of Judah’s captivity, God began to bring His people back to Jerusalem. The first thing God wanted the people to do in restoring their city back to what it was was to rebuild the Temple. The first group that came back to Jerusalem began rebuilding the Temple. But in days to come they stopped working on it because of persecution. So for 16 years the people left the Temple of God lying in ruins.
It is here where the book of Haggai comes in. God sends His prophet Haggai with a message to the people. Take a look: In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came by the hand of Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest: “Thus says the LORD of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the LORD.” Then the word of the LORD came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now, therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways. 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 he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes. Thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways. Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the LORD. You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the LORD of hosts. Because of My house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house. 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 ground brings forth, on man and beast, and on all their labors” (Haggai 1:1-11).
The people had forgotten to put God first. They let others interfere and hinder them. Then they busied themselves with their own lives, own wants, own needs. The people neglected their relationship with God. They didn’t make it their number one priority to glorify God and keep His commandments. That’s why God sent Haggai to rebuke them in order to stir them up and get them going again. Thankfully they listened. They obeyed the Word of the Lord and got back to work building the Temple.
What about us today? No, God doesn’t want us to build a physical Temple today. But He does want our hearts to be His temple. As Christians Paul tells us that we are the temple of God and His Spirit dwells in us (1 Corinthians 3:16). We are living temples for the Lord. Our lives. Our hearts. Our minds. So how are we doing as the temple of God? How is our relationship with the Lord? Are we neglecting God by not making Him the number one priority in our lives? Do our hearts lie in ruins when it comes to God and righteousness?
Let’s make sure the temple of God is not lying in ruins today. If it is then the Lord says that we need to get busy and get to working on it. Let’s make God first priority in our hearts and lives. Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. Then God will take care of us in what we need in this life.