I remember coming across these verses in college. I had always heard that wealth, money, and even work were somehow negative/bad. Thankful for the freedom and truth found in the Old Testament.
Imagine your nation being plundered/ destroyed and you are taken captive. All that you have ever known is now gone, quite literally. You soon find yourself immersed in a new culture. A culture that is foreign and very unlike what you are accustomed to. At this point you can chose to blend in with the new culture, adopt some of it’s customs; or you can chose remain an island, a remnant of your own culture.
Many years pass, the king of this foreign land allows you to return home. He gives you a green light to rebuild the temple that had been a central part of your life, your existence. Some around you chose to stay immersed in their new lives; others around you chose to return home. The table scraps, what is left of your nation/cities/ and towns, is the new reality that awaits you. The comforts of “home” have long disappeared.
Charged with the task of rebuilding the temple, you quickly become discouraged. Opposition from outlying neighbors and the overall futility of restoring the temple to its former glory is overwhelming. So you give up. You focus on yourself. Soon you have a roof over your head and crops planted. Everything you do though somehow doesn’t seem blessed. You are constantly in want. You are distracted by your own needs and ignoring what God has called you to do. This goes on for years.
After some time, the prophet Haggai speaks. He tells you that the reason your endeavors don’t succeed is due to the fact that you are ignoring God. In denying God by not building the temple, you are denying God worship and thus his blessings. You, and the remnant of people around you, quickly put two and two together. The reason for the failed crops and hail. God. He has been trying to get your attention. So you decide to obey. To do what God has called you to do. To complete his temple. God assures you that he is with you. You know that everything is going to be okay because God is sovereign.
As Christians, it is very easy to get distracted by the things around us. We often lose focus of what God is calling us to do and instead focus on ourselves. In doing so, we are not allowing God to fully bless us. I know that I want that blessing. Do you?