“You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house.” (Haggai 1:9)
The prophet Haggai is one of the latest in the Old Testament. In his day, part of the people had returned from exile but did not experience the blessing they had hoped for. Instead, they experienced poverty and misfortune. Then God explained Haggai why this happened: the people neglected the rebuild of God’s temple. When they returned to their country, they had started to build an altar first, and then a temple for the Lord. But due to opposition from surrounding peoples, they had to stop this project temporarily. In the following years, they had more than enough time to build their own houses, but they did not put effort into building the temple anymore. God’s house was just very low on their list.
And now they experienced what King Solomon had said centuries before: “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” (Psalm 127:1). Their crops failed, they ran out of money and they just didn’t flourish. God wanted them to rethink their priorities, and only then would they experience blessing.
Is God your number one priority?