Dive Deeper

Disrupted But (Part 1)

Rhordan Wicks


Due to economic and health uncertainties brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic, many people around the world scrambled for survival through panic buying and a rush to apply for financial aid. When access to basic needs seems to be threatened, how is it possible to consider other things, such as faith and evangelism and being kind? Do we even have that capacity?

After the Babylonians were overthrown by the Persians in 539BC, Persian leader Cyrus issued a proclamation that allowed the Jews to return to their homeland after about 75 years of captivity. 45,000 to 50,000 Jews returned, and in 536BC, began to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem (Ezra 3).

The foundations of the temple were rebuilt until the Jews faced some opposition (Ezra 4). The temple was then left alone for about ten years. This is where God spoke to His people through two prophets, one of them being Haggai.

As we explore the book of Haggai in this series, let us glean from the words of the prophet and lean in to hear what God is speaking to us through this today.


Haggai was a prophet that began his ministry in 520BC, and his task was to exhort the people to complete the task of rebuilding the temple. His ministry was very short (only 4 months) and the book of Haggai is the second shortest book in the Old Testament. See Appendix A for a summary of the book.


  1. Read Haggai 1:2-4.

    The Jews were facing their own difficulty and economic recession, as such, they believed that it was not time to focus on building the temple.

    a. God was speaking in rhetoric when he asked that question. How do you think the people of Israel might have felt upon hearing this question?

    b. “This house lies in ruins.” The Jewish people had returned to Jerusalem from Babylon to rebuild the temple. Due to Samaritan opposition, the project was abandoned, and after 16 years God’s temple was still not rebuilt. Instead of working on the temple, the Jewish people built themselves “paneled houses”. King Cyrus told them to build the temple and God released them to build the temple. They are not doing what they are primarily called to do. They have completed their homes but abandoned God’s house, and therefore worship in the temple. People have neglected God’s priorities to pursue their own.

    Though the physical temple does not exist today, Jesus has declared in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. In the context of Matthew 6:25-33, Jesus spoke about the necessities of life and urged us not to worry. Ask yourself, have you placed any priorities or pursuits above the pursuit of God’s kingdom and His righteousness?

    Bonus: Read Ezra 4.
    This was when the work of rebuilding the temple first began 18 years ago, when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord. What were some of the reasons you feel stopped the Jews from continuing to build the temple?

  2. Read Haggai 1:5-6.

    Whenever the Lord reveals a part of his nature through His name, there is often a connection to what He has to say at that moment. The LORD of Hosts is translated to “Jehovah-Sabaoth” or “Yahweh-Sabaoth” in Hebrew. “Yahweh-Sabaoth” means “The Lord of Armies,” which contemplates his righteousness and power over both spiritual and physical armies. It expresses the universal dominion of God. It is mentioned 14 times in the 38 verses of this short book.

    a. Read more about the LORD of Hosts in Nehemiah 9:6, Luke 2:13-14, and Genesis 2:1. From these verses, what does “LORD of Hosts” reveal about God, and His heart for His people in this context of Haggai’s prophecy?

    b. Why do you think the people did not manage to receive their keep, despite working so hard and trying to build their livelihood? (Refer to Haggai 1:9-11)

    c. How can this apply to you today?

  3. Read Haggai 1:8.

    Even though the people were facing a time of recession, it seemed like God had prepared sufficient resources for them to build His temple.

    a. What are some of the doubts or hesitations that keep you from doing what God calls you to do?

    b. Can you clarify these doubts with the truth? Have a discussion with your LifeGroup about these doubts and clarify them together.

    c. We have seen waves of negative social issues take place across the world, and sometimes within our own nation. It is clear that there is a cry for an answer to the brokenness and discord. How do you think God is asking you to proclaim His Kingdom in the light of the negativities happening around us? It could be through prayer, giving, outreach, or simply having increased awareness and compassion for community groups you know little about. Pray together as a life group and find out where the Lord is leading you in this area.


Through this pandemic, the government has categorised services and activities according to what is “essential” and “non-essential”. Whatever is under the latter category is put on hold, so that we can prioritise on the former.

In the Lord’s economy, there are essentials and non-essentials too. Take a stock take of your life’s activities and consider what might be essential and non-essential.

a.  How can you commit to focusing on what is essential to God?

b.  What are you anxious over, and scrambling to build during this period? Can you trust God to provide for you?

It may seem like God is being cruel by wanting you to build His Kingdom during an uncertain time such as this, but consider that our LORD of Hosts is able to provide more than we can ever imagine, and He sees higher, wider, and farther than we can.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

Will you trust the Lord to take care of your provision and a straight path?


But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33