“Thus says the LORD of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the LORD … Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?” (Haggai 1:2-4)
When the Israelites returned from exile, their country lay in ruins. They had to rebuild their houses, to plant their vineyards, and to sow grain. They also started to rebuild the temple, because serving God was of vital importance to them! But they met resistance from neighboring people groups, and after a while they lost the motivation to take up the work again.
When the Lord is speaking to Haggai, about sixteen years have passed by and the temple is still lying in ruins. This lack of progress is not due to circumstances anymore, but to the people’s shifted priorities. They know that the temple should be rebuild, but say that “the time has not yet come”.
God is not impressed by their excuse. For, He asks, how can it be that it is not the time to rebuild my house, but you find ample time to embellish your own houses? Could this be evidence that God has only a peripheral place in their lives?! We don’t have to build a temple. But could it be that God calls us to serve Him and we object that “the time has not yet come”?
Could it be that we ignore our calling in his Kingdom because we prefer to “embellish our own houses”?