Give Careful Thought to Your Ways
In 520 B.C., sixteen years have passed since the Israelites were released from Babylon and returned to Jerusalem with Cyrus’s wholehearted support. Through Prophet Haggai, God rebukes the Israelites: “Give careful thought to your ways.”
The Israelites had the mission to build the temple of God, but they thought it wasn’t time yet and focused on their daily lives. Prophet Haggai enlightens the Israelites who neglected the work they should do: “Please think about why you do not get the satisfying result of all the work you have done, and you do not acquire any even though you want many things.”
The Israelites are moved by these words, and resume the work of building the temple of God.
The reason God released the Israelites, who were captive to Babylon, through Cyrus the King of Persia, was for them to rebuild the Jerusalem Temple. However, only the foundation was laid for the temple and the work stopped even from the beginning stage. Because of the hindrance from the Samaritans, the construction stopped the next year after their emancipation (Ezr 4). As the Israelites encountered obstacles, they focused on building their own places instead of the temple.
God emancipated us who were captured by the spiritual Babylon without cost. Furthermore, God gave a holy mission that must be accomplished by the spiritual Israelites who follow the prophecy of God. That is to build the Heavenly Jerusalem Temple. While carrying out this mission, we may encounter difficulties or obstacles. If we do not do any work, saying that the situation is unfavorable, we can never become the protagonists of the prophecy. We still have an opportunity—the most wonderful opportunity in the world to grab the blessing that is prepared by God.