Help from Haggai, Verses 1. 12-15; 2. 1-9
J. B. Hewitt, Chesterfield
A MESSAGE OF RE-EN COURAGEMENT, 1. 12-15. Here is the response of the remnant to the challenging message of the prophet.
Their Ways Considered, v. 12. "Then"; the response of the leaders was encouraging. Unitedly and wholeheartedly they obeyed the voice of the Lord. God had His messenger to deliver His message to the people then and today. The man of God is encouraged to preach and teach the word in the fear of God, 2 Tim. 4. 2. We should not only listen to the Word of God but delight in it, meditate in it, and make haste to keep it, Psa. 119. 17, 34, 48, 60. Obedience and reverential fear are naturally linked together. This is the ready response of the spiritual man to ministry from God.
The Word of Encouragement, v. 13. This servant was not only con scious of the Lord's presence and help, but he was controlled by the messages he gave. He spoke with the full authority of Jehovah.
The assurance of the Lord's pre sence: not as a mere onlooker, but to furnish them with divine strength to do His will and work. The Lord supplies all that is necessary for His work in all ages. This assurance encouraged Moses, Exod. 3. 12; enabled Joshua to lead the nation, Josh. 1.5; was desired by Solomon, 1 Kings 8. 57; enjoyed by Isaiah, Isa. 41. 10. The Lord Jesus gave the same message to His disciples, Matt. 28. 20, and it is embraced by saints suffering persecution, Heb. 13. 5.
The consciousness of the Lord's presence and help is indispensable in service or danger, Acts 27. 22-25; it is the most significant and central thing in life.
The Work of the Lord, v. 14. The Lord stirred up the leaders and the people. The Lord so inclined the hearts of His people, that enthusiasm was regenerated, and they pursued the work of rebuilding. This message was timely, and had a stirring effect spurring all on to greater effort. Apathy, hesitation and timidity disappeared, and as impelled by divine enabling they assembled at the temple site and completed the work in twenty-three days.
If God is not with us, even our efforts to build His house will come to nothing.
A MESSAGE OF CHEER AND CONFIRMATION, 2. 1-9. For many of these colonists, it was a time of depression. They were disheartened by the fact that, owing to their poverty, fewness of numbers and lack of skilled workers, the temple was bound to be inferior to Solomon's temple.
A Recognition of Difficulties, vv. 1-3. We become discouraged whenever we look at the work of others, and find that our work is inferior. Human disparagement engendered pessimism and discouragement, calling for a word of cheer from God. Their state of mind was the moving cause of Haggai's message of encouragement. The seventh month and the twenty-first day was the seventh day of the feast of tabernacles, Lev. 23. 34. This was a festival, and the call to praise and thanksgiving in an unfinished and impoverished temple might naturally suggest gloomy and depressing thoughts. They should have been rejoicing after the rest and happiness. The older men were not slow to show their contempt for the new building, Ezra 3. 12. It is sad to keep looking back to the good old days, and disheartening to the young. We cannot live on memories, and thus hinder the present work of construction. They needed workers not weepers; we need to keep building the assembly of God.
sence, of Divine Resources, w. 6-9. They were exhorted to be courageous, industrious, and inspired to build for God. Now they are assured that Jehovah, as Sovereign Lord, will manifest His almighty power, causing convulsions in the kingdoms of this world, v. 6. This verse is alluded to in Hebrews 12. 26-28 as an event still lying in the future, the second advent of Christ. The disturbance of the physical universe and the upheaval of the nations will establish the Messianic kingdom. The divine purpose is to fill the new temple with the glory of the Lord. If their temple lacked material glory, this temple will be greater, in that the Lord Jesus will grace it by His physical presence. In the first temple God came to it dwelling in a cloud; the distinguishing glory of the latter temple would consist in this, "The Lord is there", Ezek. 48. 35.
"The desire of all nations", v.7, or "the desirable things of all nations shall come" r.v., shows the worldwide popularity of this temple. This may be a reference to what Isaiah says, "the wealth of the nations shall come unto thee", Isa. 60. 5, 6. Everything which the nations count precious - their wealth, glory, natural characteristics and special gifts and aptitudes - shall be brought to beautify God's house, Rev. 21. 26; Isa. 60. 13. The nations will come up to Jerusalem with their homage and wealth to worship Jehovah in the millenium. The "wealth of the nations" rightly belongs to Jehovah, Hag. 2. 8.
Divine possessions are abundant, v. 8, the material things that are required to build the house of God. For us, all the resources of the indwelling Spirit are available for spiritual development. The word "desire" is immediately associated in verse 7 with the filling of the temple with glory. God accepted the responsibility of glorifying the building. Then the magnificence of Solomon's temple will pale into insignificance by comparison with the glory of a future day, v. 7b.
The benediction of peace rests on the house of God, v. 9. In that day the Lord will establish peace on earth, enjoyed as never before, Isa. 60. 18. Then this place, Jerusalem, the city of the great King, shall be the joy of the whole earth, Psa. 48. 1, 2.
Thus the remnant were encouraged, their fears dispelled, for the future was far more glorious than the past. May we be courageous and industrious in the light of the blessed hope, Titus 2. 13.
To be Concluded