Who wrote it?
Haggai 1:1 identifies the author of the book of Haggai as the Prophet Haggai.
When(ish) was it written?
Haggai was written in approximately 520 BC.
Why was it written?
Haggai sought to challenge the people of God concerning their priorities. He called them to reverence and to glorify God by building the Temple in spite of local and official opposition. Haggai called them not to be discouraged because this Temple would not be quite as richly decorated as Solomon’s. He exhorted them to turn from the uncleanness of their ways and to trust in God’s sovereign power. The book of Haggai is a reminder of the problems the people of God faced at this time, how the people courageously trusted in God, and how God provided for their needs.
Some Key Verses
[quote] Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?
– Haggai 1:4 [/quote]
[quote] Now, therefore, 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.
– Haggai 1:5-6 [/quote]
[quote] The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts.
– Haggai 2:9 [/quote]
A Quick Summary
Will the people of God reconsider their priorities, take courage, and act on the basis of God’s promises? God warned the people to heed His words. Not only did God warn them, but He also offered promises through His servant Haggai to motivate them to follow Him. Because the people of God reversed their priorities and failed to put God in first place in their lives, Judah was sent into Babylonian exile. In response to Daniel’s prayer and in fulfillment of God’s promises, God directed Cyrus the Persian king to allow the Jews in exile to go back to Jerusalem. A group of Jews returned to their land with great joy, put God first in their lives, worshiped Him and began to rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem without the aid of the local people who lived in Israel. Their courageous faith was met with opposition from the local people as well as the Persian government for about 15 years.
As with most of the books of the minor prophets, Haggai ends with promises of restoration and blessing. In the last verse, Haggai 2:23, God uses a distinctly messianic title in reference to Zerubbabel, “My Servant” (Compare 2 Samuel 3:18; 1 Kings 11:34; Isaiah 42:1–9; Ezekiel 37:24,25). Through Haggai, God promises to make him like a signet ring, which was a symbol of honor, authority, and power, somewhat like a king’s scepter used to seal letters and decrees. Zerubbabel, as God’s signet ring, represents the house of David and the resumption of the messianic line interrupted by the Exile. Zerubbabel reestablished the Davidic line of kings which would culminate in the millennial reign of Christ. Zerubbabel appears in the line of Christ on both Joseph’s side (Matthew 1:12) and Mary’s side (Luke 3:27).
What does this mean?
The book of Haggai draws attention to common problems most people face even today. Haggai asks us:
- To examine our priorities to see if we are more interested in our own pleasures than doing the work of God
- To reject a defeatist attitude when we run into opposition or discouraging circumstances
- To confess our failures and seek to live pure lives before God
- To act courageously for God because we have the assurance that He is with us always and is in full control of our circumstances
- To rest secure in God’s hands knowing that He blesses us and we’re called to faithfully serve Him.
- Take a few minutes to read aloud the Scripture from Haggai 1, Ephesians 1:13-14, John 14:27, Philippians 4:6-7, and Haggai 2:20-23 What verses or ideas stand out to you from these passages? What questions do you have? What “next step” are you considering as a result of your interaction with God’s Word?
- What are the broken areas of your life that need rebuilding? What prevents you from taking action?
- What are some strategies you’ve used in your life to allow you to regularly “consider your ways?” Are you able to find consistent time to stop and reflect on your life? Who helps you in this process?
- In what ways can your life be a “signet ring” for others, so they might see God’s imprint on your life and as a result believe in God’s promise to save?
- Do you have Jesus, and therefore the Holt Spirit, living in your heart? How does His presence specifically affect your ability to see change happen in your life?