“Places of worship are a problem.  And this problem does not seem to be architectural.  Grand Gothic cathedrals that dominate a city don’t ensure that the worship of God dominates that city.  Unpainted, ramshackle, clapboard sheds perched precariously on the edge of a prairie don’t guarantee a congregation of humble saints in denim.”

“As we look over the centuries of the many and various building projects in God’s name—wilderness tabernacle, revival tent, Gothic cathedral, wayside chapel, synagogue, temple, meetinghouse, storefront mission, the catacombs—there doesn’t seem to be any connection between the buildings themselves and the belief and behavior of the people who assemble in them.”

“In noticing this, it is not uncommon for us to be dismissive of the buildings themselves, by saying, ‘A place of worship is not a building, it’s people,’ or ‘I prefer worshiping God in the great cathedral of the outdoors.’  These pronouncements are often tagged with the scriptural punch line, ‘The God who made the universe doesn’t live in custom-made shrines, ‘which is supposed to end the discussion.  God doesn’t live in buildings—period.  That’s what we often say.”

“But then there is Haggai to account for.  Haggai was dignified with the title ‘prophet’ (therefore take him seriously).  His single task, carried out in a three-and-a-half month mission, was to get God’s people to work at rebuilding God’s Temple (the same Temple that had been destroyed by God’s decree only seventy or so years earlier).”

“Compared with the great prophets who preached repentance and salvation, Haggai’s message doesn’t sound very ‘spiritual.’  But in God’s economy it is perhaps unwise to rank our assigned work as either more or less spiritual.  We are not angels; we inhabit space.  Material—bricks and mortar, boards and nails—keeps us grounded and connected with the ordinary world in which we necessarily live out our extraordinary beliefs.  Haggai keeps us in touch with those times in our lives when repairing the building where we worship is an act of obedience every bit as important as praying in that place of worship.” –Eugene Peterson, Introduction to Haggai, The Message

It’s all about God.  Life with God is doing whatever HE says when He says it.  God speaks, we listen, trust and obey, for there’s no other way to live in peace with God who knows all, is in all and loves all (the world) so much, He sent His Son to save all who believe. 

Haggai 1, The Message

Caught Up with Taking Care of Your Own Houses

On the first day of the sixth month of the second year in the reign of King Darius of Persia, God’s Message was delivered by the prophet Haggai to the governor of Judah, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, and to the high priest, Joshua son of Jehozadak:

A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies: “The people procrastinate. They say this isn’t the right time to rebuild my Temple, the Temple of God.”

3-4 Shortly after that, God said more and Haggai spoke it: “How is it that it’s the ‘right time’ for you to live in your fine new homes while the Home, God’s Temple, is in ruins?”

5-6 And then a little later, God-of-the-Angel-Armies spoke out again:

“Take a good, hard look at your life.
    Think it over.
You have spent a lot of money,
    but you haven’t much to show for it.
You keep filling your plates,
    but you never get filled up.
You keep drinking and drinking and drinking,
    but you’re always thirsty.
You put on layer after layer of clothes,
    but you can’t get warm.
And the people who work for you,
    what are they getting out of it?
Not much—
    a leaky, rusted-out bucket, that’s what.”

That’s why God-of-the-Angel-Armies said:

“Take a good, hard look at your life.
    Think it over.”

* * *

8-9 Then God said:

“Here’s what I want you to do:
    Climb into the hills and cut some timber.
Bring it down and rebuild the Temple.
    Do it just for me. Honor me.
You’ve had great ambitions for yourselves,
    but nothing has come of it.
The little you have brought to my Temple
    I’ve blown away—there was nothing to it.

9-11 “And why?” (This is a Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, remember.) “Because while you’ve run around, caught up with taking care of your own houses, my Home is in ruins. That’s why. Because of your stinginess. And so I’ve given you a dry summer and a meager crop. I’ve matched your tight-fisted stinginess by decreeing a season of drought, drying up fields and hills, withering gardens and orchards, stunting vegetables and fruit. Nothing—not man or woman, not animal or crop—is going to thrive.”

* * *

12 Then the governor, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, and the high priest, Joshua son of Jehozadak, and all the people with them listened, really listened, to the voice of their God. When God sent the prophet Haggai to them, they paid attention to him. In listening to Haggai, they honored God.

13 Then Haggai, God’s messenger, preached God’s Message to the people: “I am with you!” God’s Word.

14-15 This is how God got Zerubbabel, Joshua, and all the people moving—got them working on the Temple of God-of-the-Angel-Armies. This happened on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month in the second year of King Darius.


People repaired their homes but left God’s Temple in ruins.  Our lives reflect what or who we think about most.

All we have belongs to God who gives generously—more than we deserve.  When we hold tightfisted to what we think we have earned without giving back, it is time to take a good hard look at what we are holding on to.  We deserve nothing.  But God gives unending love, new mercies each morning, with huge gifts of His grace.  He is with us always.  He gives beyond our wildest dreams and does for us what we cannot do ourselves—saves us from all our sin.  How do we honor him?  Do we listen to God speak and do what He says?  According to our passage of truth, what honors God is that we listen and do what He says without thinking of the “cost.”

I’m reminded of the hymn right now that speaks of God’s faithfulness and provision. 

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me

I also remember singing “Give of Your Best to the Master” that taught me as a child that giving back to God not only a portion of what He has provided to us but to give of our best in all ways is a spiritual act of worship!

Give of your best to the Master;
Give Him first place in your heart;
Give Him first place in your service;
Consecrate every part.
Give, and to you will be given;
God His beloved Son gave;
Gratefully seeking to serve Him,
Give Him the best that you have…

Today, after taking a good hard look at what Haggai is saying, we learn that whatever God says to be, say, do or give—Do it!  God will take care of the rest of our lives! 

And, “I am with you”, says the God of angel armies!  What a blessed assurance! Right?!


We must take a good hard look at what we say we believe about you, making sure that what we believe is true to your Word.  It is so easy to pick up the chatter of the world.  As you provide new mercies each morning, we must assess our motives and behaviors from the day before. Do they match what you tell me us to do. 

Continue to teach me for I am yours.  Cleanse my heart, renew my mind, refresh and feed my soul while you restore the joy of your salvation in me.

In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
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