What is this dew that is to be withheld? This is similar to what we see in Isaiah 5:6, where God says, "I will command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it." Could the dew and rain refer to God's Spirit? Do we see His Spirit being poured out as it once was in the church? Certainly, God would withhold His Spirit from a church that has largely apostatized.
Ronny H. Graham
The Dew of Heaven
This is quite pointed. When our ways do not please God, He says that He sends drought. These people were practicing a form of idolatry: They were worshipping themselves, their houses, and the works of their own hands. Basically, they were ignoring God by putting His work second or third or last.
They were getting the finest materials for themselves and not giving a hoot about God's House, which still lay in ruins after Nebuchadnezzar and his army had come through many years before. The ruins of God's House were still there, and nothing was happening on the site. It is not clear how long the people had been back at this point, but they should have done His work first, since that was the reason He had sent them back. The original command from the king was to go back and build a House to God. They should have tackled this job immediately, despite it being a command of a foreign emperor. The command was ultimately from God. So God took affront to it and really gave it to them to motivate them back to work.
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Two Witnesses (Part 6)
The people probably did not literally say these things in in verses 2-4. God says this is what He concludes as a result of what they are doing. It is the same principle as appears in Revelation 3:17, "You say you are increased with goods and have need of nothing." There, too, they were not saying that literally with their tongues but by their actions.
We choose to do with our time and energy what we are devoted to. This is why God said we have to go back to "the faith once delivered" with our former devotion. Whatever is in the heart, we choose to do. It is just as if we were saying it with our tongue.
What God is saying is that for those who have made the covenant with Him, everyday life and its prosperity is directly tied to the condition of the Temple and the quality of our relationship to it. "Prosperity" does not necessarily mean economic prosperity, but that is part of the package. The Temple is the body of Christ. It is just a different analogy.
The message contained here is, "Let's put first things first," and the Temple'the Body of Christ'comes first. The condition of the Body is dependent upon the spiritual condition of the individual members of the Body.
The church is in no condition to produce glory and honor for our God. So people running out, "sowing in the field," does not suit matters right now. If the efforts to preach the gospel are going to be successful, then we have to do what God, through Haggai and Zechariah, instructed Zerubbabel and Joshua the high priest to do.
John W. Ritenbaugh
What Is the Work of God Now? (Part 5)
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Haggai 1:11: