We are in the midst of an election campaign here in Ontario, Canada. Political ads, social media posts, critiques and commendations are flooding our radios, televisions and other electronic tools. Each leader has a message to get out. I’ve often wondered who is ‘behind the scenes’ shaping the message to be communicated.
In Haggai’s day, Judah was in a rebuilding mode. After 70 years in Babylonian exile, the people of God had been permitted to return to Jerusalem and to begin the process of reconstruction. In the early years of this rebuilding process, God sent a message through Haggai.
King Darius, the world leader at the time, had only been in power for two years. Haggai historically dates the message God had sent him to deliver. ‘The word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai…’ He is the channel for God’s message. Prophets brought the LORD and His message to the people. Priests brought the people and their concerns to the LORD. Both were functional roles in the community.
To whom is the message addressed? To leadership. To the political and religious leaders of the day. Why? Because leaders need to be led. Leaders need guidance. They lack wisdom, as we all do, but the scope of their decisions is significant.
So the LORD sends a message to the governor, named Zerubbabel, and to the high priest, a leader named Joshua. They were in charge. They were guiding the people politically and religiously, but they too required guidance.
The message the LORD wanted to be drilled into the hearts of the leadership was one of priorities. What priorities were the people exhibiting? What role did the leaders have in shaping those priorities? Who was responsible for reshaping these priorities?
The people were postponing obedience. God had provided for the rebuilding, but it never seemed like the appropriate time. Prioritizing is hardly an optional extra for leaders or followers. Seek FIRST the kingdom of God… Jesus exhorted. ‘For what I received I passed on to you as of FIRST importance…’
So what is of first importance for our leaders today? Acting wisely or being politically correct? Speaking the truth or propagating lies? Handling resources with care or wasting them carelessly?
Would you join me in praying for our leaders, political and spiritual? Paul urged Timothy to prioritize prayer, did he not, as he penned 1 Timothy 2:1ff
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.
God calls us to prioritize what He prioritizes. Let’s follow His guidance in a season when our province and our nation (Canadian speaking) desperately needs rebuilding!