Over the last two weeks at bible study we’ve been looking at the book of Haggai as part of our minor prophet guest leadership series, these studies being written by Manny and Ally.
The book is only 2 chapters and speaks of the remnant of Israel; Judah, after their exile in Babylon, and their rebuilding of the temple. It’s a little unusual how it fits into the bible, I guess the easiest way to explain it is that it’s like putting a magnifying glass or a microscope over Ezra chapters 3 to 6.
The remnant of Israel had followed the decree of the Persian King Cyrus to rebuild the temple of the Lord. They tended to themselves first, looking after their own houses and needs, but the Lord spoke through Haggai telling them to work on his house the temple. They responded by building the temple, but amongst them were some who had seen the former temple built during the prosperous time of King Solomon who encased the temple with layers upon layers of gold, as we read in 1 Kings 6, and they were discouraged that this new temple did not match the glory of the former one. God reassures them that this temple will be more glorious than the first and that He will fill it with His precious gold and silver which he will take from amongst the nations.
Again God speaks to the people and asks them about clean and defiled things. He tells them that they are defiled, all the works of their hands were defiled, and not only that, since they’d started building the temple, God had been halving their produce and productiveness and still they did not turn to Him. He told them to think hard about these things, effectively telling them to come to God and do the things that He had asked of them. To signify this change God would stop cursing them and instead would bless them, and in the future He would overthrow Israel’s enemies.
Whilst studying the book it felt a little unusual, parts kind of stuck out, but didn’t seem to gel well together… After I stepped back and looked at the book as a whole, what God was doing and how the people were to respond and how they actually responded I could see some parallels between what happened in Haggai and how people come to be a Christian….
As a non Christian, most people tend to focus on themselves and getting ahead in life, they don’t look to God and what he wants for their life, so they tend not to prosper in things eternal. God reveals himself to them and they start looking into Him, but they are still defiled, as are their works. When they call for repentance and put their trust in God , he cleans them and blesses them, and will soon conquer their enemies at the end of days.
It was a good book to study, definitely made me consider my ways before the Lord.