The word Hag in Hebrew means festival and so maybe the author and the one depicted in this book of the Bible was someone who either was born on a festival day…, or just liked to party. When we read about this king Darius in the first verse we are able to get a pretty good indication of when this was written. Darius was the one who dedicated the temple after it had been rebuilt. So we are talking about around the years 515 BC. Let’s look at the content.
We see the prophet speaking to the people about how is it that you can live in such nice beautiful houses while the house of the Lord, the temple, lies in ruins? They were convicted and we see that in vs.12 the people mobilized and set off and did what they needed to do in order to put the house of the Lord back in shape. They worked hard to do it. The mobilization of the people happened from the top down in this example. First it was the ruler and the chief priest, and they spoke to the people, and the Spirit of the people rose up. It was top down, but it doesn’t always work that way.
I will never forget spending time in Latin America, not just Honduras but primarily, and all the countries between there and here. I was often shocked by the abject poverty which surrounded me and yet the place of worship in the town, a church, would be a place of utter wealth and splendor. It was shocking, it was troubling, and I sensed a disconnect which was obvious and appalling as someone who professed faith in Jesus Christ, but the Jesus that I believed in would not be caught dead in that church. He would have been sleeping on the streets in the filth with everyone else.
What is interesting about this prophet, that is Haggai, is that he speaks and the people respond overwhelmingly. In almost all the other books of the Bible that we have read we see the prophet speak and it has to be about doom and gloom because the people absolutely refuse to respond to the message. But not here. They respond and in the next, read last, chapter we will see what comes of that response.