The book of Haggai is the second shortest book in the Old Testament. It has 4 oracles (think: sermons), 2 chapters, and about 1,100 words. And as we move into those 1,100 words, I need to make something very clear: while these words are coming through the mouth of Haggai, they are not his words. They are the words of Yahweh of Heaven’s armies.

That was really important to the people of God, who had been oppressed for decades, living under the rule of kings who had come into power because of their military might. Haggai was stepping onto the scene and preaching the Words of Yahweh, who was the General of the vast hordes of supernatural soldiers that made up his heavenly hosts.

And 12 of those words are extremely important.

Actually, it’s more than that: because these 12 words are so important that, while not being said exactly the same way, the sense of them is repeated a total of 5 times, using up around 60 of those 1,100 words, and guiding them at the same time.

We see them first just at chapter 1:5,

          Now, Yahweh of Heaven’s Armies says this, “Think carefully about your ways.”

And again at 1:7,

          Now, Yahweh of Heaven’s Armies says this, “Think carefully about your ways.”

And again at 2:15 (cf. 2:11),

          This is what Yahweh of Heaven’s Armies says,… “Now from this day on, think carefully [about your ways].”

And again at 2:18 (2x),

          From this day on, think carefully [about your ways]think carefully [about your ways].

This is the central theme of Haggai, and I like how Eugene Peterson captures its essence in The Message

          the God-of-the-Angel-Armies spoke out again:

          “Take a good, hard look at your life.

                    Think it over.

It’s what this book is still demanding of God’s people today. It’s what he is demanding of you today. “Take a good, hard look at your life. Think it over.” Consider,

          dear friends, what would your life look like if you got what you really wanted?

Do what you need to right now in this moment—close your eyes, or look down at the floor, or keep riveted up here—whatever it takes to clear your mind so that you can think carefully right now.

What would your life look like if you got what you really wanted? Do you have a picture of that in your mind? Now ask yourself—is God there? Is he at the center of your desires, or is he repeatedly neglected by the true center of your heart’s desires? And if that seems too much to ask, consider what Paul says in the New Testament, “Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives.”


I invite you now to watch or listen to the sermon on Haggai, where we explore how this prophet of God helps the children of God repent and recenter their lives. And if you’d like to study the book further, I commend the Haggai page over at the Bible Project.

Finally, consider preparing for the next sermon in the Whole Story series this coming Sunday at Calvary, by reading the book of Zechariah.

For further reading: How Can We Pursue A Long Repentance In The Same Direction?


Pastor Matthew

Matthew Molesky

Preaching and Teaching Pastor

Pastor Matthew absolutely loves the Bible, preaching Jesus from all the Scriptures, serving as our resident theologian through his writing and teaching, developing and empowering leaders, setting the direction and values of our church culture with our leadership team, and loving and shepherding the people of Calvary and the St. Cloud metropolitan area. He also enjoys reading, running, biking, hanging out with others over a good meal, and watching movies. Matthew and his wife, Susan, live in St. Cloud and have four children, two of them married and living in Southern Minnesota.