HAGGAI ADMONISHES

Leslie M. John

”Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD” (Haggai 1:8)

Prophet Haggai admonished the Jews, in the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month to give careful thought about their negligence in the rebuilding of the temple while they were building their own houses.

First, they set the altar and offered burnt offerings morning and evening unto the LORD. They did not lay the foundations of the temple yet, because of the fear of the local people.

As the work was in progress to build the temple, the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin approached Zerubbabel, and requested that they may also be given chance to participate in the building of the temple. The words they used while seeking permission, to be included in the building process, are noteworthy. They identified the God of Zerubbabel as ‘your God’. They said…

”Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assur, which brought us up hither”.

Zerubbabel, and Jeshua and the rest of the chiefs of the fathers of Israel quickly sensed conspiracy and said to them…

”Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God; but we ourselves together will build unto the LORD God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us”

The conversation among them resulted in confrontation and the people of the land, who were adversaries of Judah and Benjamin, weakened the hands of the people of Judah and caused troubles on purpose, to obstruct the construction of the temple. They went little more ahead and hired counselors and frustrated them with their threats and wrong counsels until Cyrus, king of Persia died, and even until his successor Darius took over reigns as king of Persia.

It was this time when Jews were desperate and were building their homes instead of the House of the LORD. Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the prophet came onto the scene and gave stern warnings to them that they should resume work on the temple.

Prophet Haggai said to them that they had excuses in staying inactive from building the temple saying that the time to resume the rebuilding of the temple-work was net yet come. He admonished them saying that they were living in paneled houses, while the House of the LORD was lying waste; the time had come to build the house and it should be built, he said.

Haggai said to them to remember how much God was angry with them when they were disobedient. He reminded them that they had sown much, but reaped very little; although they drank water, yet they did not have enough of it; they wore clothes but there was no warmth in the clothes; they earned wages but their earnings were like saving in a bag with holes.

The prophet warned them that they should consider their ways and go to the mountain and bring wood and build the temple; and he said God promised to take pleasure in their work, and His name will be glorified.

The LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, who was the Governor of Judah, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest and all the people of Judah obeyed the voice of the LORD their God and Haggai the prophet and resumed the rebuilding the temple in the twenty fourth day of sixth month of the second year reign of Darius the king. They collected all the material required for rebuilding the temple and laid foundation on the twentieth day of ninth month (Cf. Haggai 2:18)

In the New Testament period there are quite many examples as to how God assured His people to be strong and work for Him. Satan is always at work to disturb the work of the LORD but God assures that He will be with those who work for Him.

Paul was chosen to be minister for Gentiles and he started his ministry amidst great struggles. He went all alone to Philippi where he preached to Lydia, who started church in her own house and when Paul was imprisoned Jailor came to know of Jesus and accepted Him as savior.

In the 1st Century The building of the Church, which is the body of Christ, was not easy but God promised to be with His disciples always. Christ is the head of the Church, and therefore, He rewards those who work for Him.

”Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20)

Apostle Paul wrote:

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain”. (Philippians 1:21)