Building the Temple of God
We are the temple of the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 3:16 “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” NKJV. According to Mathew 6:33 we are called to seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you, in Haggai we see how this looks in practice and also how it is linked in to the temple of God.
Haggai 1:1-5 God speaks to the prophet for the governor and priest the 3 offices of influence requiring the anointing of God to operate in. These are positions of influence and need to work together to achieve the task at hand.
The people feel it is not yet time to rebuild the temple probably because it is not going well with them. We see the current state of the temple is ‘ruins’ and the current state of the people is not much different, being hungry, poor, thirsty and cold.
Hag 1: 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.”
I think most of us have experienced this state of lack. In verse 9 it shows that God blew away what little they had and withheld dew and fruitfulness of the soil, livestock and work of their hands! This is what happens when His temple is in ruins while we live in our homes, God actively withheld these blessings to turn their hearts back to Him, the people had the essentials for life but no surplus.
Hag 1:7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways!
8 Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple,
that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,” says the Lord.”
God now speaking to the people, gives them the answer, seek first My kingdom, build My temple. Go to the mountain, it may be hard work but you are about My business. Go into Gods presence, spend time with Him, Seek Him, Pick up your cross (wood) daily and walk with Him to build His temple, strong so He can fill it with His glory.
It took the people 24 days to obey the Lord but as soon as they did God spoke again to them with encouragement. Hag 1: 13b “I am with you, says the Lord.” He didn’t nudge them after His first command, trying to convince the people to do His will, it was fully their choice.
When He spoke to them He also sent His Spirit to stir their spirits, not just the leadership but every person who obeyed the Lord this empowered them to do the work of the Lord. In the same way we need to obey what God is telling us to do and expect His Spirit to empower us to complete the task.
Then as so often happens, you start working on something and then you start to compare it to someone else’s or something in the past and get discouraged. There was a group of people who had seen the splendor of Solomon’s temple and compared it to the plans for the new temple and it did not come close, but God knew their hearts and encouraged them to be strong, work and not to fear saying:
Hag 2:4b “and be strong, all you people of the land,’ says the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ says the Lord of hosts. 5 ‘According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!”
God reminds us He is a covenant keeping God, and He and His Spirit is with us.
Hag 2:10-14, shows the restoration and importance of holiness in the temple of God and His priesthood. But He does not require the people to be pure to start doing His will. Sanctification is part of the journey of building His temple.
Only once the people have obeyed and worked about 2 months and on the day the foundation was laid, God released the blessing on the land, fruit trees and labour. This will still take time for the fruit to grow but they know it will produce a bumper crop because it is blessed by God.
Hag 2: 18 ‘Consider now from this day forward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month,
from the day that the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid—consider it:
19 Is the seed still in the barn? As yet the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate,
and the olive tree have not yielded fruit.
But from this day I will bless you.’ ”
NKJV emphasis mine.
A solid foundation is essential for a solid building, which is why He made Jesus the foundation of the new temple and the cornerstone of the church. The foundation is also to what every other building material will be compared for compatibility and also stability, an uneven or ‘strange’ building block will be exposed by a level solid foundation.
The people did not want to build the temple, in the natural it looked like they needed to spend more time in the fields watering and fertilizing, and working harder to make money to buy clothing, not getting wood up a mountain, what would happen to the little crops they do get?, In Psalm 127:1 “Unless the Lord builds the house we labour in vain.” This is true for all areas of life, if God’s not in it… it’s a waste of time. But when we seek first His kingdom, He releases all our needs and more.
In seeking God first we build His new temple growing in Spirit.