Today’s passage is Haggai 2:1-9. Let’s go!
Haggai 2:1-5 (NIV)
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 Jehozadak, 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, O Zerubbabel,' declares the LORD. 'Be strong, O Joshua son of Jehozadak, 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.'
On verses 1-5: Over a month has passed since Haggai gave the Jews his first message found in chapter 1. Now the Jews are a month into their mission of rebuilding the house of God in Jerusalem and are experiencing some challenges. Haggai comes to them again with a word from God. First Haggai acknowledges that the problem before their eyes seems great: after so many years God’s house does not seem to be anything compared to its former glory (v3). (Ever started something in faith and it didn't turn out the way you expected?) Yet Haggai encourages Zerubbabel, Joshua and all the people. He tells them 3 times, “Be strong.” And the reason he gives is: “For I am with you.” (v4)
I love that. It’s as if God knew that it takes courage to step out in faith to do a great work for God, but it takes even more courage to keep on going when the going gets tough. So God sends Haggai to encourage the people.
What can we learn from this? God’s presence is the reason we can persevere and be courageous. He says, “Be strong, all you people of the land, and work. For I am with you.” (v4) Haggai tells the Jews that the same God who was with the Jews when they left Egypt centuries before is the same God who is with them now (v5), and that “my Spirit remains among you. So do not fear.”
Jesus said something similar to His disciples. When Jesus commissioned His disciples to go and make disciples of all nations (see Matthew 28:18-20), Jesus sandwiched that great commission between two great promises: "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me" and "Surely I am with you always to the very end of the age". In other words, disciples, if the One who has all authority in heaven and on earth is with you to the very end of the age, then what do you have to fear? Nothing. The promise of God's presence makes you courageous.
So if you’re facing a tough situation, remember: the Lord Almighty, the God of heaven and earth, is with you. Because God is with you, you can be strong and do the work He has called you to do.
Haggai 2:6-9 (NIV)
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 the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,' says the LORD Almighty.
On verses 6-9: Haggai also encourages the Jews with one more promise. He tells them that the Lord Almighty will once more shake heaven and earth, the sea, the land, and all the nations (v6-7). Then He says that “the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory.” (v7b)
This promise would be fulfilled not only with the rebuilding of the temple, but even more with the heaven-shaking, earth-shattering appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, these verses are pointing to the day that Jesus would come. Jesus is the desired of all nations. He is the glory with which God would fill His house. Where Jesus is, there is God’s glory! And if Jesus fills the temple called your life, God’s glory fills your life!
Haggai 2:8-9 (NIV)
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."
On verses 8-9: I love these verses because they remind us that all wealth and provision are in God’s hands (v8). So while the Jews may have felt like what they were doing was nothing compared to what had been done by others before them (compared to that "former glory"), God reminds them through Haggai that the same God who was with the others before is with them now. He tells them that all resources are in God’s hands, and that He will fill His house with so much glory (v7) that the glory of this new house will be greater than the glory of the former house (v9). And on top of that glory, God will add His peace (v9b).
Likewise, you might feel outmanned, outresourced and overwhelmed by the challenge in front of you. But remember: the One who is with you owns all of heaven and earth. All the silver and gold are His. And He is committed to bringing glory through your life in these coming days that is greater than anything you have ever seen in the past. With God, the best is always yet to come. So walk in faith today and He will give you everything you need to accomplish His purposes.
Lord Almighty, all of heaven and earth belongs to You, and all the gold and silver are in Your hands. Today in Jesus’ name I access all the courage, the strength, the wisdom, the hope, and the resources I need to do the work You have called me to do. Thank You that because You are with me, nothing is impossible for me. And thank You that You will fill this house – my life, my family, my church, my work – with greater glory than anything we have seen in the past. For with You, the best is yet to come. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!