READ: Haggai 1-3
THINK: No matter how busy you are, you'll almost always find time for what matters most to you-whether those things are in proper perspective or not. If something on your "to-do" list isn't getting done, chances are, you're not placing a high priority on it. One of the main reasons the Jews had neglected the temple construction was because they had become preoccupied with their own interests. They had given plenty of attention to finishing and furnishing their own houses while disregarding God's house. Haggai insisted that God and His work had to come first. In the same way, you must be careful not to let your own interests and concerns get in the way of your relationship with God. His purposes must be the first and highest priority in your life.
RESPOND: Since returning from exile and resettling their homeland, what had the people of Jerusalem started but failed to finish (1:2-4)? (See 1:1 note.) How had people put their own interests ahead of God's purpose (1:4)? (See 1:4 note.) Though people may have been working hard, why weren't they seeing success (1:6-11)? (See 1:6-11 note.) What was the response to Haggai's message? (See 1:12 note.) What promise did God make in response to people's obedience (1:13), and how can we gain this assurance? (See 1:13 note.) How did older people view the new temple compared to the former temple (2:3), and what promise did God make about the new one (2:9)? In what way would the glory of God's house in the future be greater than anything in the past? (See 2:3 note, subpoint 3.) What does this teach about the importance of God's presence within a church congregation? (See 2:3 note, last paragraph.) What principle did God illustrate in 2:11-14 about holiness and corruption? (See 2:10-14 note.) How should this affect our behavior and relationships?
PRAY: Pray that you'll never become too busy for God or put your plans and interests ahead of His. Pray that you won't live in the past, but that you'll keep looking ahead to what God wants to do in and through you.
ACT: Are you placing a personal goal, priority or interest ahead of God's purpose in any aspect of life? If so, rearrange your priorities, putting your own plans on hold and pursue God's purposes first. What you thought was important may turn out to be unnecessary. Also, are you relying on church involvement for your "spirituality," while compromising with questionable activities and relationships outside of church? If so, ask God to forgive you. Then break away from things that corrupt you and start pursuing holiness through a deeper relationship with Christ.
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