5 Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
Haggai tells the people that ADONAI wants them to stop with their self-absorbed lives and think about how they are currently living their lives and what they were released from exile for.
6 Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.
7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
The point is made that their toil has increased while their blessings and prosperity have stopped. Why? Because they were toiling for YHWH and because of empty threats they began toiling for themselves instead and as a result they fell behind instead of moving ahead.
8 Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD.
Get off your tuchas’ and get back to work, bring wood to the Temple Mount instead of your own property.
Build THE HOUSE, not YOUR HOUSE.
You want blessing and prosperity again? Ask whose House are YOU building anyway: Yours or God’s?
9 Ye looked for much, and, lo it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.
Want to know why you’re not getting ahead, always feeling like your taking one step forward and two steps back? Because it’s ME who is bringing all your toil to naught. Why would I do this? Because you have given up building My house, I have given up helping you build yours.
The Stones Tanak says the “blowing” that this verse mentions is crop failure by their grain being scorched by hot winds.
10 Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit.
God even sets nature against us when we are out of His divine will. If everything is going wrong in your life, check and see if you have stepped out of His will. If so, step back in. If not, it’s satanic oppression, simply press on and expect a break through just around the corner.
11 And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.
Even within exile (for though they were free to rebuild, they were still under control of Persia), punishment laid out in Deut. 27-28 can still come. Here in this verse we see G-d explaining that because of their disobedience and not continuing to build the Temple that punishment ensues.
I can see God throwing up His hands and saying, “You cried for an opportunity to do this and once I give it to you, you shrink at the first bout with antagonizers and end up building your own houses instead!”
Perkei Avot 2:21 says, Rabbi Tarfon) He would also say: It is not incumbent upon you to finish the task, but neither are you free to absolve yourself from it.
Heb. 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
John 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
Luke 9:62 And Jesus (YESHUA) said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
Much of what we do in life we will never see the end result, for it is really for the ones who come after us. Like the oak tree you planted a few years back; you may never see it as the mighty oak it will be 50 years, but your children and grandchildren will. Much of what we do here and now paves the way for the coming generations. It’s the whole “Olympic passing the torch” thing; run like you are the one who will/must finish it.
Thus we should not get discouraged or overwhelmed if the task seems too large.
12 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the LORD.
Message received, the leaders and the people get the point and see the error of their ways and resume the work on the Temple.
Job 28:28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that [is] wisdom; and to depart from evil [is] understanding.
Psa. 111:10 The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do [his commandments]: his praise endureth for ever.
Prov. 1:7 The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of knowledge: [but] fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Prov. 9:10 The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy [is] understanding.
Prov. 15:33 The fear of the LORD [is] the instruction of wisdom; and before honour [is] humility.
“Haggai’s first message is a stirring challenge to the people through their political and spiritual leaders, Zerubbabel and Joshua. The people looked in the decoration of their own houses (v.4) while doing nothing for God’s “house.” Haggai twice says “consider” your ways (vv.5, 7). This literally means them that their neglect of the Temple has resulted in His Judgment on them (vv.6-9); their self centered efforts cannot be satisfied because God is not blessing. Their first priority should have been that God would be glorified, and this fact should be evident in the life of believers today (v.8 cf. John 15:8; Eph. 1:6).” – Key Word Study Bible.
13 Then spake Haggai the LORD's messenger in the LORD's message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the LORD.
14 And the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the LORD of hosts, their God,
15 In the four and twentieth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.
When we strep out and obey in faith and not feelings, God provides the motivation (feelings) and the strength we need to continue and complete the task.
Zech. 4:6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.
This is an important and applicable lesson that we believers need to be reminded of today.
Matt. 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.