Are you becoming weary in your ministry?
Are you low on resources?
Are you desperately in need of assistance?
The book of Haggai is one of the shortest book in the Bible. However, it contains a wealth of information about God and His wisdom which is still largely applicable today. It spoke about poor and failing economies, and is accompanied by people having misplaced priorities and an overall lack in financial planning. However, God provided the remnants of Israel with a way out of the economic and natural disasters when they centre their lives on Him. Today, He is providing us with similar promises as we sought to centre our lives around the construction of His Temple!
The Book of Haggai begins with God reasoning with the people, through Haggai, about their misplaced priorities, neglecting the Temple of God, and focusing their busyness on the pursuit of a comfortable life. In other words, everyone was so absorbed in self-centeredness that God Himself is purposefully neglected.
“You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes. Thus says the Lord, ‘Consider your ways.’” (Haggai 1:6, ESV)
The seriousness of the matter prompted God to repeat “consider your ways” twice (Haggai 1:5, 7), urging the people (the remnant of Israel) to reprioritize God and His Ultimate Will in their lives, focusing their energy and attention on Him.
Build the Temple, Where?
What have the construction of the Temple got to do with us in our New Testament era?
Answer is, there is a Temple to be built in our day and age. But there are three interpretations to it. Firstly, the Temple can be referred to the actual physical temple that is due to be completed for the second coming of our Lord (Walvoord, 2008). Secondly, “temple” may refer to our physical bodies. In 1 Corinthians, Paul reasoned that our “bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit” and hence, we are not our own. Because we were “bought at a price”, we must therefore “honour God with our bodies” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Thirdly, based on the understanding that the Temple is a place where God will descend upon to be with humankind, the reference of “Temple” can, therefore, be used to mean a congregation of believers. This is reinforced by Jesus’ proclamation that if “two or three gathers in My (Jesus’) name, there I am with them” (Matthew 18:20). Paul further elaborated on this point when he compared the church to a metaphorical body – the body of Christ. The body of Christ should work together, offering no special treatment to each other, and building each other up (1 Corinthians 12).
We as believers of Christ should assist in the construction of God’s Temple through all these methods. For us who are unable to play a part in the construction of the physical Temple should keep it in prayers; donating to it if we are able to. But for the most part, we should devote ourselves to the sanctification of our bodies, through the repentance of our sins. We should avoid sexual immorality and learn to control our bodies in a way that is holy and honourable (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5). Lastly, and most importantly, we should encourage one another and build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11) as a Church.
As a Church, every part requires each other. Every part plays different roles that will ultimately fulfill the Will of God. And with Christ as the Head, the Church centers all activities around Him (1 Corinthians 12). Therefore, within the community of believers, we should equip, care for, and teach one another (The Meaning of Membership, 2001). And in doing so, build up the community of Christ in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ (Philippians 1:27).
Are we building the Temple that God has called us to build?
Build the Temple, because The Maker of the Universe Will Personally Help Us
The entire Universe belongs to Him. All people who ever lived belong to Him. He works in people who He delights in. He stirs the hearts of people to work for Him, and He arranges resources on the earth to glorify Himself.
When the people heard the message of God, the people feared the Lord and obeyed His voice (Haggai 1:12). For the fear of the Lord and the repentance of the heart, the Lord declared that He will be with them (Haggai 1:13), and stirred the hearts of all the people to work on the Temple. God turned the remnant from a group of people who are unwilling to build God’s temple (Haggai 1:2), into a community of people who are solely devoted to the construction of God’s Temple (Haggai 1:14).
Hence, as leaders of the pact and as fellow workers for Christ, we should “be strong!”.
“Be strong!” God repeated this phrase three times in Haggai 2:4 to the leaders of the people. “Work, for I am with you.” And if the Presence of the Almighty Creator of the Universe is not enough, God will bring “the treasures of all nations” to “fill this house with glory”. (Haggai 2:7).
Are you struggling with the construction of the Temple God has called you to build? Rest in the Creator of the Universe. He will provide all that we need, and He will personally be with us, working with us to finish every good work that He had begun till completion on the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6).
The Meaning of Membership and Church Accountability. (2001). Retrieved from https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-meaning-of-membership-and-church-accountability
Walvoord, J. F. (2008). Will Israel Build a Temple in Jerusalem? Retrieved from https://bible.org/article/will-israel-build-temple-jerusalem