Never as good as before
Lord, help me to see that You are present and help me to hear Your encouragement.
Read Haggai 2:1–9
 on the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai:  “Speak to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, to Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people. Ask them,  ‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing?  But now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ declares the LORD. ‘Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the LORD, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the LORD Almighty.  ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’  “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land.  I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the LORD Almighty.  ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the LORD Almighty.  ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the LORD Almighty.” Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat does God say?
October 17, 520 BC: the returners hear God’s Word again, over a month since he last spoke (1:15)—enough time to become exhausted from rubble-clearing in the rebuilding work. The elderly could still remember Solomon’s splendid Temple (3), destroyed when they were deported to Babylon. God’s words command them not to lose heart, along with the repeated assurance of his presence (1:13; 2:4,5). While in Babylon, did they fear that God had deserted them so that now they could no longer be confident of his presence? Would the new Temple equal the first? (The splendor of this second Temple would be acknowledged [Mark 13:1], yet its true glory would lie in the fact that God himself, in Jesus, had come as “something greater than the temple” [Matt. 12:6].) God did not need a Temple. He could never be restricted to one place (1 Kings 8:27), but the Temple had become a necessary symbol of God’s presence with his people. Actually, comparison with the past was irrelevant. Building this Temple was really an expression of the returners’ commitment to put God first.
Look to the God who keeps his promise to be with his people! Pray, full of hope, for your church.
Jesus, thank You that You promised that You would send Your Spirit to dwell in us.