Friday 04 December 2015

Bible Book:

“Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honoured says the Lord.” (v. 8)

Haggai 1:1-8 Friday 4 December 2015

Psalm: Psalm 139


The name Haggai means festal or festive. Haggai's message wasone of exhortation and strong encouragement to the Israelitesreturning from a time of exile to rebuild the temple. Haggaiperhaps anticipated the time when Israel's great feasts would becelebrated again in a rebuilt temple, which at present was lying inruins.

It was the 6th century BC and some of the Israelites hadreturned from exile in Babylon and were permitted to rebuild theirtemple. The temple was the religious centre of the people ofIsrael, the place of the where in the holy of holies, resided thepresence of God. The temple was core to their religious identity asa people of God. However initial efforts had faltered and other dayto day priorities had taken over.

Haggai pronounced a word of challenge from God. The people weremore preoccupied with rebuilding their own houses, rather than thehouse of God. God's challenge to them was that they used muchenergy and effort to build homes, grow food and cloth themselves,but it did not seem to have rewarded them with much. They harvestedlittle, did not have enough to drink, and were still cold.

The time had come to rebuild the house of the Lord, the placewhere the presence of God resides with God's own people. The timehad come to focus on their core identity and priorities. They needto show their thankfulness to God for bringing them out of exileand back home.

Psalm 21 is a song of thanksgiving forvictory. The king of Israel, thankful for the victory God hasgiven, does the will of God, and has given God his heart's desire(verse 2). This demonstrates the king's trust(verse 7).

To Ponder

  • Why do you think it is important to pay attention to the coretraditions and values of a religious or any other identity?
  • Why do you think it was important for those returning fromexile to think about the priorities of the whole community and notjust their individual families?
  • Is having a communal identity important? If so, how do youcreate it or maintain it?

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