A selfish disregard for the purpose of God is all too common among Christian people who live in panelled houses' while God's house remains a ruin'. As in the days of Haggai, excuses for apathy are shamelessly voiced, blind eyes are turned to the judgements of God, and defiled hearts sink into unfaithfulness. And yet the LORD Almighty remains faithful to his people and true to his word. Through repeated trials he calls the backslider to repentance, with timely encouragements and gracious promises he strengthens the downhearted, and for his own glory he transforms the sins of neglect and ignorance into the servants of his purpose. With urgency the prophet condemns the wickedness of waiting for the right' time when duty calls today, and of lamenting the pastdesiring an experience today similar to that of yesterday. And he warns of the grave peril of expecting immediate material results. It is a message that must be taken seriously by the twenty-first century church.