Time-wise, the Prophet Haggai coincides with the Book of Ezra. Haggai is the prophet God sent to give the returning Jewish exiles a pep talk. We as Christians living in today’s world could use a pep talk, too. Let’s dig in…
Haggai 1 – A Call to Rebuild the Temple
On August 29 of the second year of King Darius’s reign, the Lord gave a message through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest.
2 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: The people are saying, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.’”
3 Then the Lord sent this message through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? 5 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you! 6 You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes!
7 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you! 8 Now go up into the hills, bring down timber, and rebuild my house. Then I will take pleasure in it and be honored, says the Lord. 9 You hoped for rich harvests, but they were poor. And when you brought your harvest home, I blew it away. Why? Because my house lies in ruins, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, while all of you are busy building your own fine houses. 10 It’s because of you that the heavens withhold the dew and the earth produces no crops. 11 I have called for a drought on your fields and hills—a drought to wither the grain and grapes and olive trees and all your other crops, a drought to starve you and your livestock and to ruin everything you have worked so hard to get.”
Obedience to God’s Call
12 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the whole remnant of God’s people began to obey the message from the Lord their God. When they heard the words of the prophet Haggai, whom the Lord their God had sent, the people feared the Lord. 13 Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave the people this message from the Lord: “I am with you, says the Lord!”
14 So the Lord sparked the enthusiasm of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the enthusiasm of Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the enthusiasm of the whole remnant of God’s people. They began to work on the house of their God, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, 15 on September 21 of the second year of King Darius’s reign.Haggai 1 NLT
Zerubbabel set out with the first returning exiles in 538 BC during the reign of King Cyrus. Darius succeeded Cyrus and 17 years later, God had to send Haggai and Zechariah (he’s next) to give the people a pep talk. See Ezra 1-3 and 4-6.
The New Temple’s Diminished Splendor
Then on October 17 of that same year, the Lord sent another message through the prophet Haggai. 2 “Say this to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of God’s people there in the land: 3 ‘Does anyone remember this house—this Temple—in its former splendor? How, in comparison, does it look to you now? It must seem like nothing at all! 4 But now the Lord says: Be strong, Zerubbabel. Be strong, Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people still left in the land. And now get to work, for I am with you, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 5 My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So do not be afraid.’
6 “For this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: In just a little while I will again shake the heavens and the earth, the oceans and the dry land. 7 I will shake all the nations, and the treasures of all the nations will be brought to this Temple. I will fill this place with glory, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 9 The future glory of this Temple will be greater than its past glory, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. And in this place I will bring peace. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!”
Blessings Promised for Obedience
10 On December 18 of the second year of King Darius’s reign, the Lord sent this message to the prophet Haggai: 11 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says. Ask the priests this question about the law: 12 ‘If one of you is carrying some meat from a holy sacrifice in his robes and his robe happens to brush against some bread or stew, wine or olive oil, or any other kind of food, will it also become holy?’”
The priests replied, “No.”
13 Then Haggai asked, “If someone becomes ceremonially unclean by touching a dead person and then touches any of these foods, will the food be defiled?”
And the priests answered, “Yes.”
14 Then Haggai responded, “That is how it is with this people and this nation, says the Lord. Everything they do and everything they offer is defiled by their sin. 15 Look at what was happening to you before you began to lay the foundation of the Lord’s Temple. 16 When you hoped for a twenty-bushel crop, you harvested only ten. When you expected to draw fifty gallons from the winepress, you found only twenty. 17 I sent blight and mildew and hail to destroy everything you worked so hard to produce. Even so, you refused to return to me, says the Lord.
18 “Think about this eighteenth day of December, the day when the foundation of the Lord’s Temple was laid. Think carefully. 19 I am giving you a promise now while the seed is still in the barn. You have not yet harvested your grain, and your grapevines, fig trees, pomegranates, and olive trees have not yet produced their crops. But from this day onward I will bless you.”
Promises for Zerubbabel
20 On that same day, December 18, the Lord sent this second message to Haggai: 21 “Tell Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, that I am about to shake the heavens and the earth. 22 I will overthrow royal thrones and destroy the power of foreign kingdoms. I will overturn their chariots and riders. The horses will fall, and their riders will kill each other.
23 “But when this happens, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, I will honor you, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, my servant. I will make you like a signet ring on my finger, says the Lord, for I have chosen you. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!”Haggai 2 NLT
- Remember at the end of Ezra 3 that the elders, who recalled the magnificence of Solomon’s Temple were crying.
- It’s interesting then that God had Haggai test the priests.
- So far, their crops have not yielded what they should — because of their sin. They got lazy. They procrastinated the building of the temple.
- If they get their act together and rebuild the temple, they’ll be blessed with a good crop. Be aware that that doesn’t apply to everyone all the time.
- When Jesus comes back, the 4th temple will be the most glorious ever! God showed it to Ezekiel.
- God will shake the heavens and the earth
- He will shake up kings and nations
- Their armies will fail
- Zerubbabel is King David’s lineage and Jesus is one of His descendants!
In the Meantime…
Here’s a little pep talk for us Christians who are patiently and dutifully waiting on Jesus’ return…
1 Don’t worry about the wicked
or envy those who do wrong.
2 For like grass, they soon fade away.
Like spring flowers, they soon wither.
3 Trust in the Lord and do good.
Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
4 Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you your heart’s desires.
5 Commit everything you do to the Lord.
Trust him, and he will help you.
6 He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.
7 Be still in the presence of the Lord,Psalm 37: 1-7 NLT
and wait patiently for him to act.
Don’t worry about evil people who prosper
or fret about their wicked schemes.
33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.Matthew 6:33
2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.Colossians 3:2 NLT
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.Philippians 4:8 NLT
Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up. 2 We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this.
3 If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. 4 Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.
5 You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.2 Corinthians 4:1-7 NLT
20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”2 Corinthians 5:20 NLT
Finally, in Hebrews…
25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.Hebrews 10:25 NLT
The Day of HIS Return is Drawing Near!
We Christians have a lot of work to do! I know many of you have grown lazy and complacent and stopped attending church in person. You’re too comfortable sleeping in on Sundays and watching the service on Facebook or YouTube. That was fine during the pandemic, but it’s OVER! (Thank God!)
It’s time to come back to church! In person you feel the Holy Spirit. It’s just not the same watching online!
We are God’s workers while Jesus is in Heaven preparing a place for us. He’ll be back VERY soon, and He charged us with spreading the Good News and making disciples who make disciples. That weekly message is the pep talk we need to keep doing His work during the week.
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, feel His Shalom — a peace that surpasses all understanding, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, which can happen at any moment, this is what you have to do…