Divine and Human Action: Haggai

In the book of Haggai chapter one, we are able to see how God’s divine action is connected to human action. In chapter 1:1-12, Haggai received a word from the LORD, that rebuked the people for forsaking the rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem. Chapter 1:5-6, mentions all the things that the people put their hands to do but then points out how all of their work has amounted to nothing. In verses 7-9, we find out that their labor has produced nothing because the temple remained in ruin (1:9). Therfore, nothing that they did was prosperous. This is an example of the correlation between the LORD’s action and human action. The people neglected to rebuild the temple (inaction on their part) and so God was inactive in blessing them.

Chapter 1:12-15,however, takes a different turn. After the prophet, Haggai delivers this message of rebuke to the people, they “obeyed the voice of the LORD their God” (1:12). The people took action by obeying the LORD’s commands and beginning to work on the temple (1:14). Therefore, the LORD’s divine action changed from punishment to the promise of, “I am with you” (1:13). We see here the differences in 1:1-11(disobedience leads to God witholding blessings) and 1:12-15 (obedience leads to promise).

I think we all at some point have experienced God working in a similar way in our lives. What I see happening in chapter one if Haggai is something that I see within myself. The people neglected God’s instructions because they wanted to do their own thing and they wanted to have it their way. They got so caught up that what they wanted to do became more important than what God wanted them to do. I found myself in that situation when I was in college. As the director of the gospel choir on my former college campus, I found myself wanting to take the choir in a direction that the LORD wasn’t necessarily ready for us to move in. While I knew in my heart that we were not ready to make that step, I still decided to do what I felt what was right instead of what God told me was right in the moment. Needless to say, we weren’t successful in that venture because as a leader, I took a step when God was telling me “not yet.” God did not bless it because it isn’t what he wanted and wasn’t what he told me to do. During my next semester as choir director, the LORD told me to attempt to make that same step. I was weary of doing so because we were unsuccesful the first time. However, I remembered that when I had made that move, it wasn’t the right time. When I chose to obey God the second time around, God blessed us. This just goes to show how our action in obeying God’s commands will lead to his ultimate blessing.

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