The Minor Prophets are not called the Minor Prophets because they are less important than the other books of prophecy like Isaiah or Jeremiah. They are called the Minor Prophets because they are smaller than the other books.
Let’s look at the message of just one of them: Haggai. In 586 B.C. Nebuchadrezzar captured Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple, but after 50 years in Babylon, the Jews were allowed to return and rebuild the Temple. Can you imagine their excitement as they began their work? When the builders laid the foundation, there was a grand celebration. The priests “in their vestments came forward with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the LORD, according to the directions of David king of Israel. And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD” (Ezra 3:10).
But it wasn’t long afterward that the work stopped. Perhaps the Samaritan opposition stopped them, or they may have been discouraged when it became apparent this Temple could never match the glory of Solomon’s Temple (Ezra 3:12 – 13). Of course, there might be a simple solution to why they gave up. They had their own homes to build and families to provide for. The work was hard, and although they had good intentions, they never seemed to get around to it. They became concerned only with their well-being, and so the Temple sat there unfinished for sixteen years!
Then God called an old man to lift his voice: Haggai the Prophet. He had a great love for the Lord and a vision of God that is expressed in Psalm 148. (The Greek translation, the Septuagint, attributes this psalm to Haggai.) It begins:
Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his hosts!
Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!
(Psalm 148:1 – 4).
How would you motivate the people to finish what they started? The Lord, through Haggai, asks: “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?” (Haggai 1:4). The people hadn’t just built their homes; they had even paneled them! It’s time to get to work!
I hope you will take the time to read their little book. Here are some practical lessons:
1. We should face difficult duties courageously and without delay.
2. If material considerations crowd out God’s house and worship, our wealth costs too much.
3. Outward splendor does not necessarily constitute true glory.