It is Time to be Together
Haggai was a prophet of God who served after the Jews returned from Babylonian captivity. The people began rebuilding the temple but ceased their efforts for more than a decade because of those who opposed them (Ezra 4:4-5). Ezra 4:4 says the enemies “frightened them from building.” During that time, the house of the Lord remained in shambles, unfinished. God then sent Haggai to call the people out of their fear to fulfill their responsibilities before God. Haggai 1:2-4 reads:
“Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘This people says, “The time has not come, even the time for the house of the Lord to be rebuilt.”’ Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house lies desolate?””
God continues speaking after this, repeatedly calling the people to consider their ways. They should consider how their choices have not led them to their desired end (cf. Hag. 1:5-11). The people were sprinting to their pursuits and neglecting their responsibility to honor God.
Many Christians live in good physical health but have pounced on the opportunity to “worship” from home through various online live streams of worship services. Fear has led many to walk this path, which lacks the fulfillment of several of God’s commands for His household. For example, it is impossible to coherently sing to one another with the unpredictable delay of internet communication (Col. 3:16), not to mention that most live streams do not even attempt to gather the voices from every location so that others may be encouraged. Watching a live stream of others worshipping while being in good health yourself is a self-centered approach to worship and lacks any concern for the edification of your brethren (1 Cor. 14:26).
The people in the time of Haggai said that it was not yet time to rebuild the house of the Lord, but they considered many other pursuits timely. In good health, Christians neglect the gatherings of the church but continue engaging in other social activities. Through this choice, they display unfaithfulness to God. Is it time for family holiday gatherings? Is it time to go to crowded shopping centers? Is it time to eat in public restaurants? Then it is undoubtedly time to meet with and edify your brethren on the first day of the week (Heb. 10:24-25).