Holy Spirit of God, hear me as I pray. Take my faltering words and turn them into songs of praise to You.
Read HAGGAI 2:1–9
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.”
- Haggai 2:2 Hebrew Jehozadak, a variant of Jozadak; also in verse 4
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!’1
Haggai encourages the people to build the new Temple with strength from God. Those old enough to remember Solomon’s glorious edifice were in danger of making an unfavorable comparison with the one under construction, thus discouraging their younger compatriots. Haggai warns against this by reminding them that God’s presence will see the work through. Just as he had delivered them from Egyptian bondage, so he would restore their fortunes after the Babylonian captivity.
The Israelites left Egypt with enormous wealth donated by their oppressors. That wealth enabled them to make the tabernacle and its accoutrements during their desert wanderings. Many years later, the kings David and Solomon provided huge amounts of wealth for the building of the first Temple. By contrast, Haggai’s audience had few resources.
No panic! God, who owns all the world’s riches and rules over all the nations, would ensure that enough was provided for the work. He undoubtedly prompted King Darius to underwrite the building effort,2 using treasures (‘what is desired’, v 7)3 gathered from the nations under Persian sway. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can thwart God’s construction plans! Jesus echoes the same certainty when he proclaims: ‘I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it’.4 The second Temple would never compare for splendor with the first. Surely, then, the glory God foretells in verse 9 points forward to another Temple, made of living stones – the people in whom God would dwell by his Spirit through faith in his Son.5 God’s presence, provision, and power – all appear in this passage. Why would anyone choose not to believe and trust in him?
Older Christians often lament that standards have slipped in society and the church. Wherever we are, let us seek God’s mercy for our nation and church – and never lose hope.
Dear Lord, I know discouragement is one of Satan’s most powerful weapons against me, Your child. I put on the shield of faith so I can deflect those fiery darts of discouragement.
1 Isa 43:18,19 2 Ezra 6 3 Some see this as referring to the Messiah, ‘the desire of all nations’, AV 4 Matt 16:18 5 1 Cor 3:16
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