Haggai Rouses the Leaders in Jerusalem (Day 1)

Read Haggai 1:1-11
   The Jews who had returned from Babylon in 538 B.C. to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem were not able to finish their work because they were hindered by their enemies. After opposition put a halt to their progress, no further work had been done on the Temple for over 15 years. In August 520 B.C., Haggai delivered a message to encourage the people to rebuild the Temple. Haggai was probably born in captivity in Babylon and returned to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel in 538 B.C. (Ezra 1-2). Haggai and Zechariah, two prophets who encouraged the Temple rebuilding, are mentioned in Ezra 5:1.
   Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, and Jeshua, the high priest, were key leaders in rebuilding the Temple. They had already reestablished the altar, but work on the Temple had slowed. Haggai gave a message to these outstanding leaders and to the exiles who had returned from Babylon, encouraging them to complete the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. 
Because the people had not given God first place in their lives, their work was not fruitful or productive, and their material possessions did not satisfy. While they were concentrated on building and beautifying their own homes, God’s blessing was withheld because they no longer put Him first. Moses had predicted that this would be the result if the people neglected God (Deuteronomy 28). 
   God asked His people how they could live in luxury when His house was lying in ruins. The Temple was the focal point of Judah’s relationship with God, but it was till demolished. Instead of rebuilding the Temple, the people put their energies into beautifying their own homes. However, the harder the people worked for themselves, the less they had, because they ignored their spiritual lives. The same happens to us. if we put God first, He will provide for our deepest needs. If we put Him in any other place, all our efforts will be futile. Caring only for your physical needs while ignoring your relationship with God will lead to ruin. 
   Judah’s problem was confused priorities. Like Judah, our priorities involving occupation, family, and God’s work are often confused. Jobs, homes, vacations, and leisure activities may rank higher on our list of importance than God. What is most important to you? Where is God on your list of priorities? 
   Grain, grapes for wine, and olives for oil were Israel’s major crops. The people depended on these for security while neglecting the worship of God. As a result, God would send a drought to destroy their livelihood and call them back to Himself.