Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it. ‘ ” – Haggai 1:5-6 (NIV)
There’s one thing that has surprised me about the books of the twelve minor prophets…just how much is in all of them. Although none of the twelve take all that long to read, I’ve spent a lot of time over the last week or so trying to really grasp what’s found in them, and to make connections to what I’ve already read.
The above passage from Haggai is a great example of this. Now I’ve read these verses up, down and sideways over the last three days. And I’m trying to get the full meaning of what God was trying to convey through Haggai in this short passage. To set the scene, Haggai’s time was about 520 B.C. The rebuilding of the temple was being done in Jerusalem, after the Jews had returned from exile. This was right around Ezra and Nehemiah’s time too. The temple’s rebuilding was not moving along that quickly (for a variety of reasons), and God let the people know, through Haggai, that he was not pleased.
I know that the above passage in context is related directly to the temple’s restoration. I should stop and mention that while I’ve been reading through these 12 books, I’ve also still had Ecclesiastes stuck in my brain for the last month or so. You know the Teacher had it all – wisdom, money, fame. Ultimately, he realized these things were empty and came up short of true fulfillment. It’s only after God is placed first in our lives that true fulfillment is possible. And that’s what the Teacher finally learned.
I’m also wondering…is that also what God is trying to convey to his people, through Haggai, in these verses ? That the people’s eating and drinking to excess, and making piles of money are also “meaningless”? God pointed out that although they had spent time doing these things, they had “harvested little” and did not have their “fill”. They were blind to the fact that their own enjoyment was taking precedence over the temple and also, God’s rightful place in their lives. And God asked, “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin ?” (Haggai 1:4, NIV). Is this another wake-up call from God to give careful thought to our own ways today ?
God has kept me on these verses for a couple of days now for a reason 🙂 What do you think…am I making a valid comparison with this passage or am I taking it out of context ? What does this passage mean to you ?