Lord, we will carry out Your instructions precisely.
Read HAGGAI 2:1–9
2 1 on the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: 2 “Speak to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, to Joshua son of Jozadak,[a] the high priest, and to the remnant of the people. Ask them, 3 ‘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? 4 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. 5 ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’
6 “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. 7 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. 8 ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. 9 ‘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.”
a Haggai 2:2 Hebrew Jehozadak, a variant of Jozadak; also in verse 4
New International Version (NIV)
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Do you share Paul’s amazement that God ‘“is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” through His power working in us? (Ephesians 3:20,21).
“Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God,” said William Carey, the Baptist pioneer missionary. It’s a good maxim, but our expectations need to have a sound basis. Some weeks after beginning work on the neglected temple, the people are becoming despondent. The reason is indicated in verse 3. They are expecting a recreation of the magnificent temple built by Solomon. Only a few of them could have seen it, but all would have heard their parents describe its splendor. Now they realize that they lack the material resources – and probably the skills – to recreate it. However, that is not what God has asked them to do. The need calls for a functional place of worship where they can worship God. So God has sent to them a second encouraging message calling on them to continue the work, relying on God’s presence with them. The words in verse 5 are reminiscent of Exodus 29:45 and 46, reminding them that God was with the Israelites in the wilderness when all they had was a moveable tent. Setting for ourselves unrealistic objectives that God does not require invites despondency.
However, God goes on to remind them that although their resources are limited, his are not. The Hebrew word translated the “desired” (7) is better translated as the “desirable things/treasures” (See eg., ESV, GNB, NRSV). It’s a promise that God will provide material resources to beautify the temple. In the short term he does this by moving upon Darius to allot a portion of the local tax revenues to support the upkeep of the temple (Ezra 6:8–12). Five hundred years later, Herod the Great will use his wealth to transform this same temple into one of the most magnificent buildings in the Mediterranean world (Mark 13:1; John 2:20). God’s time scale differs from ours.
Lord, help me to discern and follow Your targets, not my own, trusting Your promise that You will meet my needs according to Your glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
Lord, thank You for providing incentive for Your people in the form of brothers and sisters with the gift of encouragement.
Book and Author Intros
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