The prophet Haggai teaches us about the Law of Priorities. God raised him up to address the misplaced priorities of the Hebrews under the Persian reign of King Cyrus. Haggai insisted on doing the right thing at the right time for the right reason.
Haggai became the first prophet to serve God’s people when the Jews returned to their homeland after the Babylonian exile. King Cyrus conquered the Babylonians 70 years after they had taken the Jews into their captivity. Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to their homeland just as the prophets Daniel and Jeremiah predicted. He sent them back to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple of the Lord.
Upon their arrival they laid the foundation for the temple and the work began. But soon hostile neighbors tried to stop the work (there’s a spiritual lesson in there somewhere). Slowly the building project ground to a halt, but outward opposition was only part of the problem. An inward enemy called “indifference” and “distraction” were the major threat.
Most of the workers became apathetic, even though this building project was the reason for their return to their homeland. Before long many of them began building their own homes and starting businesses and lost the vision to which God had called them. By the time King Darius took the throne, the building project had laid dormant for 16 years. God sent the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to his people to call them back to their priorities. He called them back to their vision, faith and values – We are here on this earth to serve God’s purposes, not ours.
Haggai was not just a building supervisor, his leadership addressed the problem of priorities in general. He began his message focusing on the building but then focused on the presence of God. Haggai teaches us how our calendars, schedules and behaviors reflect our priorities and what is really important to us. He longed for not only Israel to return to the Lord with their whole heart, but all nations to seek the Lord.
This book reminds us that we should never be satisfied until we are living out God’s priorities in our everyday life.
Eight Areas of Priorities
How are you living our God’s priorities in your everyday life? Evaluate yourself in these Eight Spheres of Life. Is Jesus Lord over each sphere? Are you living our your priorities according to his Word and principles for each of these areas?
- Relationship with God – Growing in your relationship and knowledge of what pleases him?
- Relationship with Family – Loving and serving your spouse and parents?
- Relationship with Other – Serving, forgiving, esteeming others? Sharing the Gospel?
- Relationship with your Work – Diligent, honest, faithful in the small things?
- Finances – Giving to God and others? Making financial decisions based on biblical principles?
- Education – Choosing your course in life according to what glorifies him and will serve his purposes in your generation?
- Entertainment – Are you spending your leisure time in positive, healthy activities or are you involved in some forms of entertainment that are not honoring God?
- Future – Prayerfully making decision about your future and laying up treasure in heaven?
Lessons from the Book of Haggai
- If you forget the most important you’ll be ruled by the urgent.
- Activity does not always mean accomplishment.
- The issue is not “Will my calendar be full?” but “What will fill my calendar?”
- If I don’t evaluate I’ll stagnate.
- Priorities involve knowing what is important and needs to be done first, second and third and also actually doing them!
It’s difficult to live by priorities if you don’t know what your purpose is. It’s difficult to decide what to spend your time and money on if you don’t have a purpose. God has a specific purpose for each person on earth. We go through Seasons of Life as we discover that purpose. If we are faithful to him during each season, one season will add to the next.
However, until we discover our specific purpose in life it’s important for us to understand and order our life according to the General and Revealed Purpose of God for all mankind as revealed in Genesis 1:26-28.
- Know him more and more.
- Represent him in everything we think, say and do.
- Rule and reign in life over the flesh, the world and demonic spirits – we are victors!
- Reproduce others who know him, represent him and reign in life – we call this “making disciples.”