A Storm is ComingThe book of Haggai is a very short book; just two chapters. For such a short read, it has much to say about God’s attitude toward His people during times of warning and judgment. With that in mind, I encourage you to consider the following; and I encourage you to hear for yourself what the Father is saying to you and those in your spheres of influence.

Haggai was a prophet sent by God to encourage the rebuilding of the temple in 520 B.C. To understand the importance of Haggai’s message, we must first recognize that God’s temple in the New Covenant context is the body of Christ, the church. Therefore, the prophecy of Haggai applies to the wife of Christ making herself ready (Revelation 19:7); God’s answer to His Son’s prayer for our unity (John 17:23).

Some would equate “rebuilding” with “revival”. I would not argue with them, except to say that true revival is not an event, but a process – a process whereby we are transformed into the image of the glory of the Lord (2Corinthians 3:18), and are built up into the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13).

Regardless of what you call it, the main point is this: Proper work on the temple of God has stopped (or slowed considerably), and God is not happy about it. Judgment is coming to the church in America.

So, please take out your Bible, ask the Father to give you wisdom and revelation in its reading, and follow along with me (I look forward to your comments):

Who will build the House of the LORD?

Chapter 1, vv. 1-11: The people of God have decided that it is not time to build the LORD’s house. They have been too busy working on their own. Their own possessions are more important to them than the desire of God for a temple that will give Him pleasure and glorify. Ironically, their focus on physical provision has resulted in their poverty. Their possessions have come to nothing, at God’s hand.

God’s warns them to “Consider your ways!” This is a fair warning for Christian leaders today. Jesus Christ is building His church; and He is doing it His Father’s way. Man’s ways for doing God’s work will always come short of His intention. Many times, it is a sign of rebellion.

As we prepare for the storm that is coming, these verses challenge us with a question: Where will I invest the lion’s share of my time, resources and energy? Will I focus on protecting my possessions, or will I learn and follow His ways for building the body of Christ?

vv. 12-15: Here we discover the remnant of God: Those that obey the LORD and fear His presence. In response, God stirs up their spirit to work on His house. The remnant are those that respond humbly to God’s warning; in obedience to His reign.

God Rewards the Temple Builders

Chapter 2, vv. 1-5: Approximately one month later, the word of the LORD comes again; this time with encouragement. Though the temple they are building appears less than the original, God is more interested in them remaining strong in the work they have been given. He affirms the presence of His Spirit among them; and encourages them not to fear. They are to press on with the work regardless of the troubles and trials that will come against them.

vv. 6-9: Here God explains His ultimate purpose for the temple that His people are working on (remember, in the New Testament context, this is the body of Christ). God is preparing to shake the nations (see Hebrews 12:25-29) to get their attention; that they would see His temple filled with His glory. In fact, the glory of the latter will be greater than the original; and it will be a house of peace.

This reminds me of Matthew 5:16: Let your light so shine before men that they see your good work and glorify your Father in heaven. Note that each use of “your” is plural. The glory of the Father is radiated from the body of Christ. Our light is the life of Christ (John 1:4). Therefore, our temple building work includes the increase of the image of the glory of the Lord in those within our spheres of influence. In other words, we are to be making disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.

vv. 10-14: At this point, the LORD interjects another warning. Those that mix the holy with the common are defiled; along with their work and their offering. We are to be in the world, but not of it. What does this mean? How about: No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier (2Timothy 2:4)? The church that Christ is building is to be a counter-culture, not a sub-culture. What do your spheres of influence look like? The world, or the body of Christ?

vv. 15-17: God reminds His people of the warning they failed to heed. The church has been warned of her idolatry with the American Dream at least twice in the last 14 years. Generally speaking, they have had little effect. We have continued to pursue our own prosperity; at the expense of God’s desires (i.e., His reign, habitation and intimacy, over and with us). How much longer will He permit our rebellion?

vv. 18-19: This is perhaps the greatest encouragement of Haggai: The people of God did not have to complete the temple to begin receiving God’s blessing. They only had to begin the work. Surely, together, you and your spheres of influence can lay the foundation for fellowship. Try Acts 2:42 as a start. Do so, and the blessings of the LORD will come.

vv. 20-23: In response to the leader’s faithfulness, God made him “like a signet ring”. The signet ring is a sign of authority and rule. Like the good and faithful servant in the Parable of the Talents, the Master will make you the ruler of much more than you can ask or imagine.

This is the desire of our Father’s heart; to see His people blessed in supernatural ways. I hope and pray you will commit yourself to building His temple – the body of Christ – during this critical time in the history of the church. Please let me know how I can help you in this regard.

Humbly yours and forever His,