Haggai was a prophet to the Jewish people who had returned from their exile in Babylon. They had been allowed to return home by the Persians in order to build a temple to the Lord (Ezra 1:1-4).
But, some years later, largely because of local opposition, that temple was still not built. The work had stalled, and the people were instead tending to their own personal concerns.
This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the LORD. “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the LORD Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house.Haggai 1:7-9 NIV
And God, through Haggai, challenged them in this passage, to give careful thought to their ways. The house of God was in ruins while their own homes were in order. Now there is nothing wrong with having a nice home that is in order. Unless getting it, and keeping it, causes you to neglect your service to the Lord. And when I neglect that service, should I expect that God will bless my life?
Building the Temple Today
Our temple today is not a physical structure, it is the body of Christ built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ as the cornerstone (Eph. 2:20-22). And that body of Christ is revealed wherever God’s people assemble together in his name.
But the principle we find here in Haggai is still true. Where are my priorities? If I put a priority on investing my time and resources in myself and my family, and the Lord gets what is left over, can I expect God’s blessing in my life? Should I be surprised when things don’t work out the way that I expected?
Investing in building up the house of God, his church, will not go unrewarded. It may not result in earthy riches. But it will lay up treasures in heaven for you (Matt. 6:19-21).