house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his ownhouse. 10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dewand the earth its crops. 11 I called for a drought on the fields and themountains, on the grain, the new wine, the oil and whatever the ground produces, on men and cattle, and on the labor of your hands."
Just to make sure they get the message, God repeats Himself. The key sentencehere comes after “Why?” “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of youis busy with his own house.” In the KJV, it reads, “Because of mine house that is waste,and ye run every man unto his own house.”
12 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the whole remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the LORDtheir God and the message of the prophet Haggai, because the LORDtheir God had sent him. And the people feared the LORD.13 Then Haggai, the LORD's messenger, gave this message of the LORDto the people: "I am with you," declares the LORD. 14 So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah,and the spirit of Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on thehouse of the LORD Almighty, their God, 15 on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month in the second year of King Darius.
The Israelites wisely decide to obey God. There are a couple things here will helpus understand about obedience.First, the Israelites obeyed God because they feared Him. That means that they believed He was who He said He was, and believed in His promises and warnings. Theytook Him seriously enough to look past their own fears, doubts, and discouragement.They took Him seriously enough to overcome the inertia of human nature—moving outof a rut is very difficult! That first step was theirs to take.The second thing was that God stirred their spirits once they decided to obey.Things may not have changed on the outside, but they were beginning to change on theinside once the Israelites decided to obey God.
So, I’ve tried to reserve application of these verses until now. Actually, theseIsraelites are a lot like us in that they are the people of a promise—so are we. They have acovenant with God—so do we. When they returned from exile in Babylon to rebuildJerusalem, they made a step of faith—so did we, when we decided to become a Christianand follow Jesus.Unfortunately, our natural inclinations also bring us further away from God. Justlike with the Israelites, everything seems to conspire to draw us away from God’s will—it becomes very, very difficult to do what God wants. We feel pressure from the outside because of our jobs, what people say, our family situations. We also feel pressure fromthe inside because of the burden of our responsibilities, discouragement, and tiredness.It’s just so easy to give excuses for doing our own thing instead of God’s—and we believe it, too.