“What you brought home, I blew away.”
Any guesses as to where that verse is in the Bible? (Keep reading:) One appealing aspect of Community Bible Study is the thoroughness of the Biblical texts that we study. When we’re going through a course, I teach it all. I’ve taught some pretty obscure Bible passages in my day, and never without reward.
This week it was Haggai chapter 1. I cannot remember ever hearing a sermon on Haggai. It’s actually a valuable little book, and I don’t know why it’s not taught more often.
Haggai was a prophet who spoke to Israelites who had come back to Jerusalem after their exile. He wrote in 520 BC, and his book of two chapters covers about four months of time. It’s less than a page and a half in my Bible, and you can read it in about 5 minutes. It would be five minutes very well spent.
The Israelites started well, but they lost track of their goal largely because of fear and politics. Understandably, they got busy with their own lives. Haggai stepped in after 16 years of inaction on the temple and asked: “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” Good question.
God explained: “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?…Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house.” Haggai 1:9
A lot has changed in the twenty-five hundred years since this was written. Jesus came. He inaugurated the Kingdom of God on the earth, he made it possible for the Holy Spirit to lead us, and we are now God’s temple.
But the question that Haggai asked is still valid.
Whose “house” are you focused on?
We live in an era in which both the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world are active, and we can serve either one. I can’t always tell if I’m working on God’s Kingdom or if I’m working on my own.
For example, I’m a Bible teacher which sounds like a no-brainer for Kingdom work. However, if I teach to build up my own status or if I do not approach it with humility and grace, I’m building my own little kingdom. Honestly, it’s probably both for my motives, like yours, are mixed.
Haggai may have taken only five minutes to read, but it spawned significantly more time soul searching. My conclusion? God may indeed blow things away to get our attention or to change our priorities. It’s all done to make more room for himself in our hearts.
The Israelites obeyed the instructions of Haggai, and then the Lord sent another message through his prophet: “I am with you.” That is what it’s all about.