Haggai 1:4-6 “Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you! You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes!
Haggai isn’t a book we read often, and it is considered one of the minor prophets, not because he was minor in importance, but rather because the book Haggai is a pretty short book. In fact, this book in the Old Testament consists of only two chapters with a total of only 38 verses. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because it is a tiny chapter, it is not important. In this book, we are reminded that we must get our priorities in order.
Haggai begins with a call for the people to rebuild the temple of God. The word of God came to the prophet Haggai in which God informed Haggai that the people were saying that the time had not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord, and God asked the people if it was a time that they could live in their comfortable homes while the house of God lied in ruins. After seventy years of captivity, temple construction had begun. In the second year, the foundation had been built, but it did not continue. The people were distracted and pressured by the people in the surrounding lands to give up the work (Ezra 3-4). Then the work of the temple came to a standstill for twenty years. The people had become apathetic and complacent. God used Haggai to rouse the people to begin building the temple again and to remind them of their priority.
We must remember that the significance of the work rebuilding the temple does not lie with the building of the Temple itself, but with the restoration of a proper worship of God. The people needed to have God as the center of their lives. Without the Temple of God, there would not be worship of God, and without the worship of God, the people are left without a spiritual compass. The people were living only for themselves. They lived for their own comfort and enjoyment. Their only worldview was a materialistic one, just like many today. They lived for themselves, and everything revolved around them. They had lost their focus on God, and they had begun focusing only on themselves. If we want to have the abundant, fulfilling life that God has promised to us, we have to make God a priority. We must make God the center of our lives.
Through Haggai, God reminded the people of their priorities. They planted much, but harvested little. They ate but were never satisfied. They drank but continued to thirst. They put on clothes but didn’t have enough to keep warm. They put their money in their pockets, but their pockets had holes in them. God gave these words to Haggai the prophet many years ago, but they still ring true today. This world we live in has become a world in which the people do whatever makes them happy. I wouldn’t doubt it if there was a law currently being written in congress stating “the people can do whatever they want as long as it makes them happy.” I’m serious. It has come to this. We have lost our focus. Our priority has become one of pleasing self rather than serving God, but make no mistake, God is not going to allow this self-pleasing lifestyle to continue.
How do we get back to the basics of simply being the children of God that He created us to be? How do we get our priorities in order? First, we have to remember what our priority is, my friends, and that priority is God! The term priority can be defined as the fact or condition of being regarded or treated as more important. Is God important? Yes! Should He be regarded and treated as important? Definitely. But we can’t merely put God on the top of our list of priorities. When we do this, we give Him a place, but we intertwine His place with a whole bunch of other stuff that we also consider important. Take God off of that list, folks. Yes, you read that correctly. Take Him off of your list of priorities. God shouldn’t be at the top of the list. He should be the list. He should be our absolute one and only priority. Everything else pales in comparison. Take some time today to reflect on who God is. Spend time in His Word. Remember His glory and grace, His mercy and love. Consider what God truly means to you, and make Him a priority in your life today. This is no time for apathy and complacency. Now is the time to make God our priority!