Haggai has much to say to us about the current global financial instability and the resulting emotional upheaval within society. He addresses the issues of inflation and the discontentedness of materialism more so then do all of all the prophets. Haggai addresses the five foundations of human need; food, drink, clothing, shelter and relationship. While it seems through a cursory reading that the population Haggai speaks to are undergoing tremendous hardship, deeper examination shows this is not true.
He shows the nation are living in panelled houses 1:4, they are not starving, they have plenty of clothing and have financial means.1:6 He is addressing the materialism of continually wanting more. That the food, drink, shelter, clothing, and finances that they have is never enough, exposes the deep discontentedness in what they have, causing them to think more will result in contentedness.
He addresses this level of social concern with the observation they have neglected the Temple which they started to build and had not finished. What this shows is the lack of community / societal relationship built up around the covenant of God. For the building of the temple was a communitive social event, in which all were to participate, and through the building of the temple, a deeper level of the knowledge that God was in their midst would eventuate, with an increasing care for one another.
Scripture shows that it’s only through an upward, inward and outward relationship that society can truly survive and be satisfied. The Apostle Paul says in regards to this…
1Ti 6:6 And religion does make your life rich, by making you content with what you have. CEV
Nogalski in his “Recurring themes within the 12” notes the reward of fertile land upon return to the Lord, in the context of blessing after punishment. I think however more research needs to be done in the theological field of contentedness. Throughout the book of the 12, it’s this lack which causes greed and the breaking the covenant that takes place within the area of social justice. And through returning to the Lord; perhaps it’s not so much an extra financial blessing that takes place; but an experiential knowledge that they have enough and that is enough….Perhaps we can draw more from the prophetic context in the provision of “Manna from heaven” within the Exodus story.
Skipping to the end we find an interesting Messianic promise to Zerubbabel in regards to the reversing of the curse over his forefathers and that the blessing will come through the Davidic line, which was fulfilled in Christ.
Here God speaks through Haggai saying he will increase the blessing on their land, crops etc… This would seem to rebut my previous comments; however this blessing comes about not to keep, satisfy and increase within an individualistic sense… rather the increase comes within the context of proper corporate / social / cultic concern.
What we can learn from this then is that the modern mandate in building the church comes from the call to build relationships. Each individual is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Therefore church is not built of mortar and stone, rather it’s built by the building up of and encouraging each other. The modern Church’s call is not a call for people to come and establish, build and raise up a building / temple, in the sense that our Christian work and lives revolve around that building… instead we see a reversal where the Building must revolve around the mandate to build up and release all into the calling that Christ has for us, through the empowering of the Spirit…for that is the work of Christ, for he says HE will build His Church.
 J Alec Moyter, The Minor Prophets, edited by Thomas Edward McComiskey