From Kathleen’s Perspective:
The Book of Haggai is interesting, although somewhat wordy; it indicates Christ, His Church and the covenants. However, I mostly thought the Lord was pointing out how although we want the things of this world they do not satisfy our true needs and desires, which are not material but spiritual. In this particular book, He calls the people through the prophet to rebuild the temple as a sort of remedy, so must we build our temples, our souls, to gain true fulfillment.
God here also describes how everything is His, the gold, the silver, the earth and it’s contents. We need to remember that everything is from God and to glorify Him for everything that happens to us good or bad because they can, if we allow them, strengthen our faith in Him. As in the book of Haggai, God will help us to a path pleasing to Him; it is up to us to accept His will as the people who rebuilt the temple from the prophecies of Haggai.
From Michelle’s Perspective:
The Book of Haggai is the 3rd last book of the Old Testament, with only two chapters. What can we learn from two short chapters? Apparently a lot!
I used some Orthodox resources to expand my knowledge on the context of the book. So now I understand that God sent Haggai to the people to tell them they’re wrong for building their own houses and not the house of God. For 16 years they were building their own houses and they did not touch the temple. For the Jews, the temple was the main place to worship. There was only one temple but many synagogues. If there’s no temple, then there’s no worship of God, no life with God, no presence with God… God dwells in the temple. I can’t imagine one day without God, what about 16 years!
In the Orthodox Study Bible it says the main theme of this book is: “Forsake life’s comforts and rebuild the temple.” In other words, “get your priorities straight; leave the worldly things and put God back into your life.” In a sermon by Fr. Bishoy Andrawes he says: “If we want to put a title to the Book of Haggai it’s: ‘Put God first.’”
“You have sown much and brought in little. You have eaten, but you are not satisfied. You have drunk, but no to get drunk. You have clothed yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag of holes.” (v. 6) That verse describes the world today: a world without Christ. We don’t belong to the world. Nothing lasts in this world, nothing. Even our bodies return to dust. We are nothing without God. When we put Him first everything goes right; we have life!
The lesson in this book is so important. Putting God first in our busy lives is necessary. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33)