“Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” Haggai 1:4

This verse probably means very little without some context. Well here it is: the Israelites, who are the people this book is adressing, have been in exile for 70 years in a place called Babylon, when finally, another kingdom comes in and takes over. Lucky for the Israelites, the new king has given them permission to go back to Israel, and he tells them to rebuild God’s temple while they are there. Generous right? Well you’d think the Israelites would not neglect their freedom, especially after being slaves for so long, but they mess up again. The Israelites do begin rebuilding the temple, but it didn’t last long. Samaritans and others showed lack of interest, and opposed their plans to rebuild the temple, so the Israelites got discouraged and stopped. So what do you think they did instead? They built their own houses, and finished them. I’m not going to go deep into this topic, because I want to cover this in one of my main posts, but in summary, this verse tells us that if we build our own houses up and leave God’s unfinished, we’re doing it wrong. It’s easy sometimes to just go back to our normal everyday lives without God in our heart. The Israelites were so quick to forget their promises to God. This verse is a challenge to keep God first on the list of priorities.