3: "Is there anyone who can remember this house--the Temple--as it was before? In comparison, how does it look to you now? It must seem like nothing at all!" - The people of Israel have returned to Jerusalem following its destruction at the hands of the Babylonians. Their initial enthusiasm for rebuilding the temple had waned and their focus had shifted inward to their own problems. Haggai calls out to Zerubbabel, the governor, to inspire his people anew to the task of rebuilding that God had called them to do.
4c: "Take courage, all you people still left in the land, says the LORD. Take courage and work, for I am with you, says the LORD Almighty." - Everything had been destroyed but the remnant, the small group of people left for the purpose of rebuilding, is called to be courageous and to work hard for the LORD is with them.
6-7: "For this is what the LORD Almighty says: In just a little while I will again shake the heavens and the earth. I will shake the oceans and the dry land, too. 7I will shake all the nations, and the treasures of all the nations will come to this Temple. I will fill this place with glory, says the LORD Almighty" - God will bless their work and, with His help, it will attain the glory for which it was intended.
9: "The future glory of this Temple will be greater than its past glory, says the LORD Almighty. And in this place I will bring peace. I, the LORD Almighty, have spoken!" - Through the hands of His people and with God providing all the resources necessary, great things were in store.
Points to Contemplate:
Do you remember how things once were?
Have your struggles and pain caused you to forget the blessings God has provided you in your life? Has your focus turned inwards filling your heart with worry? Are you concentrating on rebuilding your own house and have you given up on building the kingdom of heaven? The Israelites had returned to Jerusalem and were called to rebuild God's temple. Their focus had drifted and their pain overwhelmed them. All they wanted to do was look inward. When pain seems to have a grasp on your heart and hopelessness permeates everything you do, will it help to turn your focus towards God and rediscover the kingdom building activities He has given you to do?
Are you working hard? As you struggle with the issues of life that have pressed in upon you, are you responding to the tasks of building God's kingdom that He has called you to do? When you look around and see nothing but the remnants of past failures are you prone to sit idle and focus only on your own woes? Do you see that the rebuilding of the temple of Jerusalem is an example of how God works at rebuilding lives? Can you accept that if any building for the future is to be done it will be done through your hands and through your hard work?
Are you courageous? Where does courage come from? Do you see that the more you are able to rely on God in your life, the more you will remember that His plan for your life is filled with goodness, mercy, and hope? Can you accept that as you courageously step out in faith God will pull you out of your pit of despair and hopelessness? As you persevere in your faith, do you begin to see that God "will fill (you) with glory?" Does it take courage to trust God or does your faith in Him give you the courage you need? Promises of the Gospel:
Often we find ourselves looking around at the rubble of broken dreams. The wreckage of life, at times, can be overwhelming. Hopelessness can fill our hearts and we think of nothing except the pain of lost glory. Haggai calls us to recognize that the pathway to healing is action. He tells us to be courageous, put our faith in God, remember His promises for glory, and to get to work. In the action of turning outward from our grief and taking steps towards building God's kingdom in the lives around us we are not simply being healed of our pain. God is not asking us to take these steps simply to recreate what once was. There is a new and glorious future in store. As the world looks in and sees our courage and our faith in action, God's glory will be revealed far greater than ever before.