This impressive series from artist Nicora Gangi stems from her contemplation on the first book of Haggai and her ensuing reflection on the passage's implication for her own life.
(From Haggai 1:3-4)
(From Haggai 1:9b)
(From Haggai 1:8)
(From Haggai 1:12)
(From Haggai 1:14)
(From Haggai 2:6)
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1 In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying, 2 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD’s house should be built. 3 Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying, 4 Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste? 5 Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. 6 Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.
7 ¶ Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. 8 Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD . 9 Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house. 10 Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit. 11 And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.
12 ¶ Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the LORD . 13 Then spake Haggai the LORD’s messenger in the LORD’s message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the LORD . 14 And the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the LORD of hosts, their God, 15 In the four and twentieth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.
Haggai was a messenger chosen by God after a long period in Israel's history when there had been no clear communication from the Divine.
At the end of Israel's exile in Babylon, they were instructed by God to return to Israel and rebuild His temple. No sooner had the people of God had come up out of captivity in Babylon and returned to Israel than they set up an altar for sacrifice. The foundation of the temple was laid within a year, but shortly thereafter building ceased entirely. They put that expensive piece of work off, no longer interested in the needs of their spiritual life—God’s temple and presence among them. They wanted to spend what time and money they had on their own pleasures, to provide for their families and fill their own houses with all kinds of earthly finery. God was displeased with this and therefore rebuked them: "You dwell in your fancy paneled houses but my house lies desolate" (Haggai 1:4). Provoked by their lack of commitment, He scattered the heaping of their wealth with the breath of His mouth.
Though they had foolishly neglected the building of the house of God, He promised to not remember their former ways, knowing that He would be honored by them in His temple. "I will be glorified, says the Lord" (Haggai 1:8). When the temple is built, God will be served, worshipped and sanctified by those that come near to Him.
This made clear to me how worthwhile it is to invest our care, pain, and resources in those tasks by which God may be glorified.
I believe that if the work we have to do for God and our own souls is left undone—if we seek our own desires more than the will of Jesus Christ—God will cross us in our temporal affairs and we will be met with trouble and disappointment. However if we follow Him and seek His kingdom we will be blessed with all necessary things and more in abundance to complete that to which we are called (Matthew 6:33).
Nicora Gangi was educated at Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, USA (BFA 1974 and MFA 1976). She was a Professor of Art at Syracuse University for 29 years. Gangi has been awarded many Grand Prize and First Place awards and grants. She has been and continues to be published in numerous artist’s books on pastel paintings. She has lectured regionally and nationally as a visiting artist at universities and artist’s guilds. She is represented by: Edgewood Gallery (Syracuse, NY), and Gangi Studio (Winter Garden, FL).