Haggai was a prophet who lived at the time of the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. God used Haggai to encourage the Jews to complete the work, despite opposition from the enemies. In his book, Haggai invited the people to dedicate themselves more to the things of God .
In the time of the prophet Haggai, Jews were under Persian rule. Years earlier, Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, had conquered Jerusalem and destroyed the temple of God. He took many Jews into exile in Babylon, who stayed there for 70 years.
After these things, Babylon was conquered by the Persian empire. As a sign of favor, the King of Persia allowed the Jews to return home and rebuild the temple. But there was a lot of opposition in the region. The Jews started construction but soon gave up, because the authorities were against them and did not have many resources.
Find out more about Babylon here.
Haggai and Zechariah, prophets of God
Years passed and the temple remained in ruins. The people forgot about work and focused more on their own businesses. So God sent two prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, to encourage construction.
Haggai and Zechariah called the people to repent of their lack of interest in the things of God. They challenged the people to finish the temple , despite opposition from powerful people, and promised blessings to the people when they turned to God ( Ezra 5: 1-2 ).
The people accepted the challenge and completed the temple in a few years ( Ezra 6: 14-15 ). God blessed them and removed the obstacles. The time of Haggai and Zechariah’s ministry was short, but his legacy was a temple that, a few centuries later, was visited by Jesus.
See also the story of the prophet Zechariah.
The lesson from the book of Haggai
Haggai’s book is short but has an important message. We cannot neglect God’s work.
The Jews were saying that it was not time to build the temple, because they were more concerned with their own comfort. But the more they focused on themselves and ignored the things of God, the less they prospered! They had lost focus on the principal and were suffering the consequences ( Haggai 1: 9-11 ).
Often, with life’s concerns, we get the wrong priorities. We seek only wealth and material things, but we forget the mission of God. The growth of the gospel is no longer important in our lives.
However, the Bible teaches us to seek God’s Kingdom first ( Matthew 6:33 ). When we dedicate ourselves to fulfilling the mission that God gives us, He takes care of our other needs. The people who put God first are blessed.