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Bi faiceallach!

"You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it." Haggai 1. 6

Haggai was contemporary with another prophet, Zechariah. Together they roused the exiled Jews in Babylon to take advantage of the new ruler's policy of repatriation. The message was: how can you expect God to bless you, unless you are living in obedience to his will and purpose?

The Jews' first task was to stop moping around in exile and get back to the Promised Land of Israel. Then they had to learn to get their priorities right: rebuild the temple before decorating their own homes. To encourage them, Haggai proclaimed the presence of God (1. 13). He also mentions the coming of Jesus, though indirectly (2. 7).

The Jews did respond, though they didn't get it all their own way. Those who had remained in the land when the cream of the population was marched into exile resented the return of their former compatriots and by fair means and foul tried to repel them, as if they no longer belonged.

One of the most challenging aspects of becoming a Christian is the rejection that often brings from family and friends, not to mention colleagues and neighbours. Very often this is because they resent your new-found freedom, joy and purpose. Or it may be because it reveals something uncomfortable about their own life.

We need to be sensitive while remembering that our priority is to the one who has redeemed us and our greatest gesture to those we are now struggling to love is to share the grace and mercy we have received. Can we believe other than it is the Lord's will to save them also? So be careful not to blow it. Keep the door open!

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