Post by the Husband
To hear these spoken words —> https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/it-is-time-solomon-ong-21052017/id1195428052?i=1000385647014&mt=2
Haggai 1:2-6 reads:
A small remnant of the Israelites had just returned home after being in exile in Babylon for 70 years.
Many of the original exiles would have died and of the ones that returned, some would have been born in Babylon.
These children would have been taught about the God of Israel…how He saved them from Egypt, and how King Solomon eventually built the Temple where God Himself would dwell.
On return to their homeland, the people, both young and old, must have undoubtedly been very excited.
It was finally a time for them to be a nation again. They could finally follow their dreams rather than those imposed on them by an outside force.
They learnt within those 70 years that idolatry was their downfall, and that they would now only ever worship Jehovah – the one true God. For it was after the exile that Israel never again worshipped any pagan gods. Their national and religious identity was being restored.
So they started enthusiastically to lay the foundation of the temple. It had been ruined, and in such disarray that the foundation itself needed to be rebuilt.
That was a good start.
But that’s ALL they did.
For fourteen years they stopped building the temple. There must have been much internal striving and external threats that led them to leaving the temple alone.
But they didn’t stop building altogether… instead they shifted focus onto their own houses, their own careers, their own families.
At some point they decided – “It is not time”. Perhaps they rationalized that the 70 year measurement might be starting off a different date, or perhaps they were just waiting for more people, more resources, more signs before they think they could do God’s work. Perhaps they resorted instead to other religious activities outside the temple.
For whatever reason – they decided that the timing was not right.
But God was not pleased. He challenged them through Haggai.
God said something like this: “If it’s not the right time to build my house, why is it the right time to build your panelled houses?”
The shift of priorities from God to self lead to an ironic situation. Despite their hard work in sowing, they reaped so little. Despite putting all their effort into making money, getting food supplies, they were becoming more poor and hungry.
In His mercy, God restricted their productiveness in all other areas of life – to remind them that He must be the centre of their universe.
This story of the Israelites is such a challenge to me. A challenge to our generation. What is our focus? Is it to build our own houses or God’s? Our kingdom or His?
Are we really waiting until a more opportune time, or till we have more, before we decide we can give to God?
Could the time to build His house, and seek His face actually be NOW?
Let’s pray together:
“Father, forgive me for building my own life when you have a mission for me on this earth. Let your will be done and your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. Be glorified in my life oh Lord.”