Command to Rebuild the Temple
Open Your Bible
Haggai 1:1-15, Ezra 4:24-5:5, Ephesians 2:19-22
BY Guest Writer
Scripture Reading: Haggai 1:1-15, Ezra 4:24-5:5, Ephesians 2:19-22
Practically speaking, the Israelites had good reason to put off building the temple. It wasn’t too far in the past that Babylon had burned the first one to the ground. They feared that if they put all of their time, money, and political capital into rebuilding it, it might end up being a waste in the end. What if someone else came and destroyed it again? In response, they lived safe, small lives that created little of lasting value. But then Haggai arrived with a word from the Lord, and twice he says to God’s people, “Consider your ways” (Haggai 1:5, ESV).
Consider your ways. Think carefully about what you do and why you do it.
When I consider my ways, I realize that like the people of Israel, I spend time farming in fields that bear no real fruit in my life. I pour money and resources into things that are temporary—things that, though opulent, never feel like enough. I dress my spiritual wounds with consumer comforts. I go to quick-fixes, partly because they seem to temporarily work, and partly because I’ve been conditioned to reach for them without even thinking. I spend a lot less time considering, and more time acting out of compulsion. Much like the Israelites, I often feel like my money goes into a “bag with holes” (v.6).
Yikes. Sorry, God.
It would be easy to stop there and conclude that this passage is meant to encourage me to be more holy with the way I spend money. But is that what Haggai is saying? Is the point to give more to charity and stop wasting time? Maybe. Lord knows I have work to do in those arenas. But I think there’s more to what God is saying here. Over and over again throughout Scripture, the Lord invites His people to give Him everything—not because He is angry with them or needs something from them, but because He wants to prove Himself trustworthy.
In this story, God doesn’t leave His people to build the temple alone. He gives them His presence. He tells them, “I am with you” (v.13), and He doesn’t stop there. Along with His presence, He provides for them abundantly. Though the Israelites are willing to sacrifice their hard-earned money to build the temple, God works a bureaucratic miracle, and King Darius ends up paying for the whole thing!
Though it is terrifying to risk everything, our God delights in filling our empty hands. God didn’t need Israel’s finances—He wanted their faith. He was less concerned about their wallets and more concerned with their willingness to take Him at His Word. He pointed out the powerlessness of their pennies in order to wake them up to their purpose.
At the beginning of this story, the Israelites looked at rebuilding the temple like powering through a spreadsheet, a to-do list. By the end, they’ve experienced what it’s like to live with the resources of a holy, all-powerful God. It’s exciting to serve a God this big, this extravagant and trustworthy. He asks me to consider my small ways, and then He invites me into His bigger, more miraculous plans for my life.
Claire Gibson is a writer whose work has been featured in publications including The Washington Post and Entrepreneur Magazine among many others. An Army kid who grew up at West Point, New York, Claire is currently growing roots in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, Patrick, their son, Sam, and their dog, Winnie. Her debut novel, Beyond the Point, will be published next year.
50 thoughts on "Command to Rebuild the Temple"
Those first few verses just go to show that we are never and never will be satisfied with earthly things. No matter what we do, we cannot satisfy our own desires. Once we turn to Jesus, He reveals how blessed we are with Him at the centre of our lives! I pray we remember this and seek Him above all things.
These verses were so convicting! Money means nothing to God- no matter how much I have, He loves me, He has a plan for me, He will take care of me. I need only out my faith in Him.
“Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. 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” (1:5-6). If I am consumed with living my life how I want to live it, I will never have enough. Living for earthly priorities isn’t supposed to be fulfilling. I was created to yearn for “something more” when my desires and priorities don’t line up with God’s. God alone satisfies the desires of every heart. My identity cannot be in my family, my job, my bank account, or my hobbies. Though nothing is inherently wrong with any of those, my identity must be rooted in being a child of God!
I really love how God just wants us to trust and totally believe in his word while our human brains give us a totally different picture of things. He asks us to trust that what seem impossible is possible if we trully believe in his words. He is not limited; he can do everything, all the time everywhere at the same time. He really can do it if we trust in him; but when we don’t trust him we end up doing our own things which most of the time will always fail ; and then whe we fail we blame him for the same things he tried to warn us against doing.
We recently found out that my husband has to move away for a year for work. We just bought a house and weren’t planning on leaving yet, so we have to decide whether to separate for a year, or move together and risk our property and financial security in order to keep our family together. Thank you, Lord, for the reminder to invest our time and effort in things that matter (our marriage and raising our kids) rather than money and property. I trust that God will take care of the details as we prioritize our family over finances.
Praying for this! God will honor your faith in trusting Him in this situation!
“I will be with you, declares the Lord.” Have faith. Trusting is never easy but yet God wants it from us and He promises to be with us through whatever. Thank you my Father.
Such beautiful conviction that nothing we do here that feeds our temporary satisfactions bears fruit for the eternal. Especially during this time of year when we can be so easily manipulated by consumer comforts!
This has been a theme for me in the past few months- do I, CAN I, trust God at his word even when things seem impossible to overcome?
God, I am willing. Help me to trust you.
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