Scripture: Haggai 1:1-15; 2: 1-9
By Matt Bisel
A project had been started but not completed. The rebuilding of the Temple had begun about sixteen years before Haggai arrived on the scene. The Babylonian empire had given way to the Persians and after more than fifty years of exile, the Jewish people began to make their way back to Jerusalem, the geographical and theological focal point for them and their faith. Though building the Temple had started, for a whole variety of reasons including political change, work had stopped. In the business of everyday life, the people had lost sight of the importance of the temple, of having a place of worship. Besides, they had not had a temple in exile and the majority would not have even seen Solomon’s Temple before it was destroyed. At most, the Temple had become something of lore, existing only in the stories of the elders. But Haggai enters the scene and gets the people busy and in less than five years the Temple is completed.
Read back through the verses and consider the following questions:
- What excuse did the people have for not rebuilding the Temple?
- What did Haggai say to motivate the people?
- How is the prophet’s counsel reassuring? How is it troubling?
- Read aloud verses 2:4-5. How do these words give the people courage to rebuild?
Like the returning exiles, we are faced with competing priorities and tend to focus on ourselves. There are times when things are hard. We have our own responsibilities to look after, let alone others.
What excuses do you give for declining to get involved in God’s work, especially with so many competing responsibilities?
What would motivate you to take a risk boldly for God?
Wesley’s Challenge Questions for the Week:
- Do I pray about the money I spend?
- Do I get to bed on time and get up on time?
 Disciple Fast Track, Remember Who You Are. Abingdon Press, 2018.