Scripture Text:(click to open in a new window or tab)
Historical Background: Welcome to the book of Haggai. In just 38 verses, Haggai is able to show the differing consequences of disobedience vs obedience, as well as point to the coming of the Messiah. He was practical and straight-to-the-point. No other prophet had results as direct, immediate and identifiable. His ministry lasted 4 months and the temple was completed and dedicated within 4 years.
As we saw in Ezra 5:1, it was the prophets Haggai and Zechariah who had initiated the renewal of the work which led to Tattenai’s letter and Darius’ decree. It has been 20 years since the exiles returned from Babylon. But the people seemed to have forgotten the point of returning . . .
1. As a child, what did you enjoy building? Train sets? Tinker toys? Lego’s? Model cars? Tree houses? Igloos? Who were you teammates in this?
2. As a child, where did you store your allowance? Today, are you a big spender or a big saver?
3. Why do you think Haggai chose to speak to both the civil and religious leaders? And why on the first day of that particular month and year (August 29, 520 BC)?
4. After years of starting and stopping in the rebuilding the temple, “this house remains a ruin” (verse 4)? Why? To what are the people to give careful thought (verses 5 – 8)?
5. How did the Lord force their consideration of Haggai’s alternative (verses 9ff)?
6. How did they respond to Haggai’s call (verse 12)? Who led their response? How soon did they begin (verse 15)?
7. How did God enable this (verses 12 – 14)?
8. When have you been part of a communal building project? Church? Village? Barn raising? What part did you play? How was the community itself built up at the same time? How did God move during the project?
9. How has God spoken to you about your financial priorities and spending habits? Have you seen “famine” or fruitfulness in your personal finances?
10. When have you put your wages into a “purse with holes in it”? How did that feel? What will you do about that hole?