Haggai 1** After the return from captivity, Haggai was sent to encouragethe people to rebuild the temple, and to reprove their neglect.To encourage their undertaking, the people are assured that theglory of the second temple shall far exceed that of the first,by the appearing therein of Christ, the Desire of all nations. * Haggai reproves the Jews for neglecting the temple. (1-11) Hepromises God's assistance to them. (12-15)1-11 Observe the sin of the Jews, after their return fromcaptivity in Babylon. Those employed for God may be driven fromtheir work by a storm, yet they must go back to it. They did notsay that they would not build a temple, but, Not yet. Thus mendo not say they will never repent and reform, and be religious,but, Not yet. And so the great business we were sent into theworld to do, is not done. There is a proneness in us to thinkwrongly of discouragements in our duty, as if they were adischarge from our duty, when they are only for the trial of ourcourage and faith. They neglected the building of God's house,that they might have more time and money for worldly affairs.That the punishment might answer to the sin, the poverty theythought to prevent by not building the temple, God brought uponthem for not building it. Many good works have been intended,but not done, because men supposed the proper time was not come.Thus believers let slip opportunities of usefulness, and sinnersdelay the concerns of their souls, till too late. If we labouronly for the meat that perishes, as the Jews here, we are indanger of losing our labour; but we are sure it shall not be invain in the Lord, if we labour for the meat which lasts toeternal life. If we would have the comfort and continuance oftemporal enjoyments, we must have God as our Friend. See also#Lu 12:33|. When God crosses our temporal affairs, and we meetwith trouble and disappointment, we shall find the cause is,that the work we have to do for God and our own souls is leftundone, and we seek our own things more than the things ofChrist. How many, who plead that they cannot afford to give topious or charitable designs, often lavish ten times as much inneedless expenses on their houses and themselves! But those arestrangers to their own interests, who are full of care to adornand enrich their own houses, while God's temple in their heartslies waste. It is the great concern of every one, to apply tothe necessary duty of self-examination and communion with ourown hearts concerning our spiritual state. Sin is what we mustanswer for; duty is what we must do. But many are quick-sightedto pry into other people's ways, who are careless of their own.If any duty has been neglected, that is no reason why it shouldstill be so. Whatever God will take pleasure in when done, weought to take pleasure in doing. Let those who have put offtheir return to God, return with all their heart, while there istime. 12-15 The people returned to God in the way of duty. Inattending to God's ministers, we must have respect to him thatsent them. The word of the Lord has success, when by his gracehe stirs up our spirits to comply with it. It is in the day ofDivine power we are made willing. When God has work to be done,he will either find or make men fit to do it. Every one helped,as his ability was; and this they did with a regard to the Lordas their God. Those who have lost time, need to redeem time; andthe longer we have loitered in folly, the more haste we shouldmake. God met them in a way of mercy. Those who work for him,have him with them; and if he be for us, who can be against us?This should stir us up to be diligent.
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