Jewish exiles were finally back in their homeland. They were stirred up to return home and to rebuild the temple. But they soon began to find out that finishing the job was even harder than starting. They faced opposition from those around them and political pressure, and soon the work stalled.
In Haggai 1, we learn that it wasn’t just external pressure that brought the work to a halt, it was due to internal distraction as well. For 16 years, very little had been done to continue rebuilding God’s house. And that was partly to do with the people’s desire to build their own houses first.
They had misplaced priorities. They probably would have said, “Yeah, we are going to rebuild the temple, but….we have a few other things to attend to first. It just isn’t time yet!”
God’s response was, “Well you have plenty of time to build your own houses. Why don’t you have time to build my house?” He told them to consider their ways. They were working so hard, but it wasn’t prospering because they were not putting God first.
God then called them to go get wood, to build his house, and He would be pleased and glorified. He promised to be with them and to help them if they would seek Him first.
What a convicting message! We constantly complain about not having enough time or money to do the Lord’s work, but the truth is we have time for everything else. May God convict us of our misplaced priorities and show us that if we will begin to put the Lord’s work first, we will please God, glorify God, and have His help.