Read Zephaniah 1 -- Haggai 2
The Israelites who had left Persia started to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem with great enthusiasm. But they became involved in building their own homes and working long hours in the fields which contributed to their failure to put God first in their lives. Added to this was the persistent opposition by their Samaritan enemies. No doubt, many "legitimate excuses" were given as to why the construction of the Temple ceased.
As the people built their own homes and developed their own businesses, rebuilding the Temple looked hopeless. Zerubbabel must have been discouraged as he thought of how much there was to do, how few willing workers there were, and how threatening the opposition was. While the Israelites continued to hope for better times and fewer problems, about 14 years passed and nothing more was accomplished for God.
Then God moved upon the prophet Haggai to proclaim His Word. Two months later, Zechariah also began proclaiming the Word of the Lord (Ezra 5:1; Haggai 1:3-11).
Haggai first announced: Thus speaks the Lord of hosts . . . this people say, The time is not come . . . that the Lord's House should be built. Then came the Word of the Lord by Haggai . . . Is it time for you . . . to dwell in your cieled houses, while this House (of the Lord) lies in ruins? (Haggai 1:2-4). Regardless of all their excuses, the Lord said: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and bring in little . . . and he that earns wages earns wages to put them in a bag with holes (1:5-6).
Upon hearing the Word of the Lord, the people renewed their interest in building the Temple, the one place designated by God for His people to worship Him. This time they ignored the threats of their enemies, and the elders of the Jews built, and they prospered (Ezra 6:14); and the Temple was completed in just four years.
People today make similar excuses for failing to worship the Lord and giving tithes and offerings to Him. God has reminded us: The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, says the Lord of Hosts (Haggai 2:8).
Like the people of God in the days of Haggai, Christians today neglect reading through God's Word. Without the Truth of God, we subsequently become victims of false prophets and every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14). Hearing the Word of God renews our love for His Word and imparts spiritual strength needed to put Him first in our lives.
The principles of God for achieving the best in life never change. Jesus said: Seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33).
Christ Revealed: As King of Israel, even the Lord (Zephaniah 3:15; John 1:49,18:33-37).
Word Studies: Zephaniah 1:4 Chemarims means the idolatrous priests in charge; 1:9 leap on the threshhold means rush into houses to confiscate the property; 2:15 carelessly means securely; Haggai 2:7 desire of all nations means the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Government Official: Rep. Victor Snyder (AR) · Pray for Andrew Horvath, Hungarian translator · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast in memory of Tim Peterson · Country: Barbados (259,000) on the island farthest east in the West Indies · Major language: English · Religious freedom · 79% Protestant; 8% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Make everything you do a matter of prayer (I Thessalonians 5:17).
Memory Verse for the Week: Luke 6:31