Page 9 - April 2024 - Truth & Tidings
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was desolate; the word of the Lord was   low through obedience. Haggai tells the
        contrary to the word of the people. The   people to do three things: go into the hills,
        people could not use the excuse that they   bring wood and build the house. The two
        lacked resources to build the house; their   responses of the Lord in blessing would
        houses were panelled, not the standard   be that He would take pleasure and be
        type of construction but more elaborate,   glorified in it. Travelling to the wooded
        which the Lord graciously permitted. The   hills, felling and milling lumber, then
        Lord rebuked them for finishing their own   constructing the new temple would not
        comfortable homes while allowing “this   be easy work, but it would be rewarding
        house [to] lie waste” (v4). They willingly   work. They would receive the greatest
        accepted the decree by Artaxerxes to stop   recompense any could ask for: the Lord
        building, and their acquiescence led to a   would be pleased and be glorified. How
        dulling of their spiritual priority as they   amazing that mortal man could please
        became invested in their comforts. The   and glorify Him!
        people had an altar and a foundation,   Pleasing  the  Lord  and  building  the
        but they lacked a heart like David, who   house of God is achievable today. Paul
        lamented that he lived in a house while   explicitly talks about building the local
        the ark was in a tent (Ezr 3:2,10; 2Sa 7:2).   assembly, God’s building, in 1 Corinthians
          The Lord told the people twice, “Set   3. Haggai serves as the OT illustration
        your heart to consider your ways” (vv5,7   of NT truth found in this passage. Paul
        LSB). First, this statement in verse 5 ap-  exhorts believers to build the local as-
        plies to verses 5-6 and 9-11 and notes the   sembly using things of eternal value and
        lack of material blessing they receive in
        exchange for their effort. This was the   warns, “Let every man take heed how he
        Lord’s doing. Verses 5-6 was a judgment   buildeth [upon the foundation]” (v10). We
        upon them as individuals in day-to-day   must build how the Word of God tells us
        life as their needs were not met. They were   to build because how we build will deter-
        hungry, thirsty, cold and poor, reflecting   mine future reward to God’s glory; what
        their spiritual lack. These conditions are   pleases God will be revealed by fire (v13).
        like the spiritual condition of the church at   In the last verses (9-11), Haggai restates
        Laodicea, which claimed to be “rich and in   for the people to consider their ways,
        need of nothing,” but the Lord states their   since  God’s  judgment  was  not  just  on
        reality was spiritual misery, pitiableness,   the individual but also upon the land.
        poverty, blindness and nakedness (Rev   Poor harvests and famine-like conditions
        3:17). It isn’t for lack of available resources   affected the land of Israel because of
        and ability by the Spirit that spiritual   drought and spoiling grain. Verse 9 states
        decline comes; it is lack of obedience and   the convicting reason why this judgment
        dependence upon God.                  was upon them: “because of mine house
          When the Lord repeats Himself in verse   that is waste, and ye run every man unto
        7 that they should consider their ways, it   his own house.” We may not suffer physi-
        is with an emphasis on the blessing that   cally for spiritual neglect, but we also can
        He desires to bestow on them. In verses   expect the Lord to get our attention in
        7-8, they must learn to prioritize the house   some way, “for whom the Lord loveth he
        of God and then blessing would only fol-  chasteneth” (Heb 12:6).

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