Haggai 1:1–6 (NKJV)

1 In the second year of King Darius, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying, “Thus speaks the Lord of hosts, saying: ‘This people says, “The time has not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built.” ’ ”

Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?” Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways!

6 “You have sown much, and bring in little;

You eat, but do not have enough;

You drink, but you are not filled with drink;

You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm;

And he who earns wages,

Earns wages to put into a bag with holes.”

This book begins the post-exilic period, after Israel and Judah were dispersed among the nations, after God’s judgment fell on Israel for their sin and idolatry.  The Lord tells the exilic Jews that it is not quite time to rebuild God’s house, but yet they should be ashamed for paneling their own houses with luxurious cedar wood.  How can you spend money on your own home while the Lord’s home lies in ruins?  In their selfishness, they sow, but do not reap, the eat but they are still hungry, drink, but still thirst, wear clothes but remain cold.  Finally, they earn money, put it in bags, but lose it because the bags are full of holes. 

The message here is twofold:  restoration sometimes comes slowly, but surely, and if you do not put God first, your efforts toward anything may be in vain, empty.  Put God first.  Walk steadily in faith.  Restoration will come!  Stop putting your money in bags with holes.

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