Those are strangers to their own interests who prefer the conveniences and ornaments of the temporal life before the carrying on of God’s work in the community.
If we would have the real comfort and continuance of temporal enjoyments,
we should make God our friend by putting His interests first,
otherwise that which we gain is put into a bag with holes.
1 In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying,
2 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD’S house should be built.
3 Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying,
4 Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste?
5 Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
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.
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.
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.
10 Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit.
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.
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.
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.
Haggai 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Haggai 1:1-11 – Selfish and Shortsighted Thrift
Zerubbabel is the Sheshbazzar of Ezra 1:8. He was of the royal line, and appointed governor by Cyrus. Josedech was son of Seraiah, high priest when Jerusalem was taken, II Kings 25:18-21. The returned exiles had been experiencing a succession of bad seasons. They had sown much, and reaped little; their money ran out of the bag as quickly as they put it in; a drought lay on all the land, and the reason for it was to be found in the neglected Temple. How frequently our disasters and losses in business arise from our failure to remember God’s cause. We say that we have not the time, cannot afford the money, and see no necessity for setting apart the Lord’s Day or the daily period for meditation and prayer. Did we see things as they really are, we should find that this is false economy, and wastes more than we save. “There is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty” (Proverbs 11:24). The mower does not waste time when he stops to whet his scythe. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Haggai 1:5 – Before proceeding to any work, we should weigh it. Letters are charged in the post office according to weight. I have written and sealed a letter containing several sheets. I desire that it should pass; I think it will; but I know well that it will not be allowed to pass because I desire that it should or think that it will. I know well it will be tested by imperial weights and measures. Before I plunge it beyond my reach, I place it on a balance before me, not constructed to please my desire, but honestly adjusted to the legal standard. I weigh it there, and check it myself by the very rules which government will apply. So should we weigh our purposes in the balance, before we launch them forth in action. (Arnot)
Haggai 1:6—He that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.
In these words, spoken on their return from captivity, God remonstrates with his people for neglecting the rebuilding of his house, and indicates this as the reason for the failure of their crops, and the profitlessness of their labors. They seemed to put their hard-earned wages into a bag with holes.
How true a description of many in the present day! They work hard, but derive little comfort from their toils. Their homes are bare; their children unkempt; their circumstances meager. They are always in anxiety. Gambling, drinking, loose and evil company—are indeed bags with holes. But there are other analogies. We sometimes find our days slipping away without accomplishing anything worth mentioning. We have nothing to show for them—nothing accomplished, nothing done. Or we expend time and thought on plans that are apparently well and carefully devised, but they prove abortive and disappointing. All this is like a laborer putting his wages into a bag with holes, and when he reaches home he has nothing to show for his labor.
There is a reason for this loss and failure. What applied to the Jews on their return from captivity, applies still. We have not placed God first. We have run every man to his own house, while His house has lain waste. We have worked from the wrong base of operations. We have not made first things first. If we do not trust in the Lord with all our heart, but lean to our own understanding; if in all our ways we do not acknowledge Him; if our eyes are not single to his interests, we need not be surprised when He calls for a drought upon the land. Let us consider our ways, and amend them. —Our Daily Homily
Haggai 1:12-15 – One earnest man can arouse an entire community. Let a fire glow in our hearts, and it will spread. Assured of God’s presence and favor, within three weeks the whole land was awake. Note the cooperation of God’s Spirit with the message of His servant, “the Lord stirred up.” Let us ever seek and rely on His cooperation! “We are witnesses, so also is the Holy Spirit!” —Through the Bible Day by Day