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Bible Commentaries

Smith's Bible Commentary

Haggai 1

Verses 1-15


Then we go to Haggai who prophesied in the second year of Darius the king. This is not the Darius of Daniel's fame who was the Persian general when Babylon fell, but this is a Darius who came along later in the year 520 B.C., and that's about the time of Haggai's prophecy. They feel that his prophecy covered a period of two months. Isn't that interesting how that in two month's time the fellow fulfilled God's call upon his life? Esther fulfilled the call of God upon her life in two day's time. Remember her uncle Mordecai said, "How do you know but what God has not brought you to the kingdom for such an hour as this? This is your moment, Esther. This is why you've been born. This is your purpose for life." And it was all accomplished so quickly. Here's Haggai a prophet, prophesying for a period of a couple of months.

Now as we get into Haggai, and Zechariah, and Malachi, shift gears. Historically, now we were just in Zephaniah and that was just before the fall in Babylon, to Babylon. He was predicting the judgment that God would bring upon him through Babylon and all. Then during the time that they were in the Babylonian captivity, Daniel and Ezekiel were prophesying to them. Now the Babylonian captivity is over.

Now a remnant have gone back to Jerusalem, and have started building the temple under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Joshua. But they are hassled by the Samaritans, the people who had inhabited the land during the seventy years that they were in captivity. The Samaritans first came and offered to help them. They said, "You're a bunch of mongrels. We don't want your help. We're able to do it ourselves." So then they began to send letters to the king of Persia, and they said, "You better check out these dudes. They're rebellious, every, their whole history is that of rebellion. If they build a city, they're already talking about rebelling against you once they get the walls up. You better stop their building." So the king of Persia ordered a cease and desist order. "Stop the building." Then through other communications they said, "Look, we have the permission of Cyrus. We've got the papers that have given us the permission to build. Check the records." They checked it out. So the orders came to start building again. But by this time the people had become interested in building their own homes. They were beginning to settle down in their own places, fixing up, and making their places luxurious. They had lost interest in the rebuilding of the temple.

So Haggai comes along and he is encouraging the people to get back to work in the rebuilding of the temple. His prophecies have to do with the encouragement of rebuilding the temple.

So in your books of history in the Old Testament, this prophecy of Haggai takes place during the period of Ezra and Nehemiah. Now if you want extra credit for the course, go back and read Ezra and Nehemiah in conjunction with the last three books, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. If you read it with Ezra and Nehemiah, you will then fit it with its historic position.

So in the second year of Darius [520 B.C.], in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, [the second year of the reign of Darius the king,] there came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel [who was one of the leaders in this movement of rebuilding] the son of Shealtiel, the governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD'S house shall be built ( Haggai 1:1-2 ).

"This isn't the time to do it." There was a procrastination on the part of the people.

Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying,

They were saying, "The time isn't come," and he said,

Is it time for you to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste? Now therefore thus saith the LORD; Consider your ways ( Haggai 1:3-5 ).

Now it is interesting how that Haggai, or the Lord through Haggai is constantly calling the people to consider. You know, there are a lot of things that happen around us and we never take it into consideration. It seems that we've become very shallow people. Through our television news and through our news magazines and through all of the media that we have today, we've become extremely broad people. We know a little bit about everything because of all of the glorious media that we now have, able to condense things down and give us a little synopsis of this, and a little synopsis of that. So we've become extremely broad. We know a little bit about everything. But we don't know much about anything. We're very shallow. We don't really stop to consider a lot of times things that are happening around us. The Lord is saying, "Hey, look. Take a look at this. Consider this now. Consider this now." So Haggai is calling the people to consider their ways. For he said,

[Look,] you have sown a lot of seed, but you've harvested very little; you don't have enough; you drink, but you're not filled; you are busy making your clothes, but you are not warm; and he that earns wages earns wages to put it into a bag with holes ( Haggai 1:6 ).

Very descriptive, isn't it? Remind you of anything you've experienced? You put your wages in a purse that has holes. Where does the money go?

Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways ( Haggai 1:7 ).

The second challenge to consider, "Consider this, times are bad, your crops are failing, you don't have enough, there's not enough to go around." Now he said,

Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD. For you looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when you brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of my house that is waste, and ye have run every man to his own house. Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit. I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground brings forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon the labor of their hands ( Haggai 1:8-11 ).

The Lord said, "I've brought the drought because you have forsaken My house; you've allowed my house to lie waste because you are putting yourselves first."

Now Jesus said that the heathen world, the Gentile world is seeking after what it's gonna eat, what it's gonna drink, and what it's gonna wear. These are basically the things that the Lord is talking to these people about. So many people today are working double jobs. They're both, husbands and wives working because they're so concerned with what they're gonna eat, what they're gonna drink, and what they're gonna wear. Times are tough. There's not enough money to go around. There seems to be a drought. But the Lord said, "The reason why is because you have forsaken My house. You've allowed it to be desolate." So the Lord, he said, called for the drought.

Now in the New Testament where Jesus said, "These things do the Gentiles seek," He said, "but you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be taken care of" ( Matthew 6:33 ). You see, the people had messed up their priorities. They were seeking themselves first. They were seeking their own luxuries first, and as a result, they didn't have enough. They were seeking to provide for their physical needs: their clothing, their food, their drink, and they never had enough. They never had enough. The Lord said, "Look, you seek first My kingdom and My righteousness, and all these other things will be added." Get your priorities straight. Put the Lord first in your life. Seek the Lord first in your life, and God will take care of your needs.

Now our sinful hearts of unbelief said, "But I don't know how He can do it." But it isn't yours to know how; it's only yours to obey in faith. If you obey in faith and put God first and seek God first, you can be sure that His Word is true, and all these other things will be added to you. God will take care of you. God will provide for you if you put Him first. But you know one of the first things to get whacked out of a budget is the Lord's place. One of the first things to go. "Oh, I've got to work on Sunday, gonna miss church, but I'll listen. I'll get the tapes, and I'll catch up on the Sunday lesson." We're putting our own needs above the things of God. God is getting short-changed. But hey, that's a one-way street. The more I short-change God, the shorter my change becomes. God said, "Look, I've called for the drought."

Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the LORD ( Haggai 1:12 ).

So they responded to this exhortation of Haggai. They considered, and they responded. So Haggai came with a second message.

Then spake Haggai the LORD'S messenger in the LORD'S message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the LORD ( Haggai 1:13 ).

Now that was a very short message, but oh, what a comforting message. They obeyed and the Lord spoke again and said, "I am with you, saith the Lord." That was all the message.

So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, the governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of their God. And in the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king ( Haggai 1:14-15 ).


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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Haggai 1". "Smith's Bible Commentary". 2014.