When the future looked bleak for the remnant of people who returned to Israel–with financial storms on the horizon and enemies infiltrating God’s people–His “weatherman,” the Prophet Haggai, offered divine insight as to why things weren’t going well.
God never keeps secrets from His people (Amos 3:8). His message to those who survived captivity in Babylon and returned to rebuild His temple was “Consider your ways” (Haggai 1:5). God had slipped from being No. 1 in their hearts.
The message of the Book of Haggai, then, is for us today. The forecast of the future (which you’ll see for yourself) is yet to come. Times are critical. The media unashamedly doctors the pictures we see and the sound bites we hear toward its bias, and a plethora of others try to persuade us that “God” is whatever we want Him to be.
It is imperative, then, that you discover truth for yourself. I likened Haggai to God’s weatherman. What is the forecast? Take a few minutes and read Haggai, chapter one. With a pencil, underline every occurrence of consider your ways and then take note of why Haggai is telling the people to do so.
Notice what is happening in the lives of these minority people on this small piece of real estate. They are Jews, and their neighbors don’t want them around–especially if the Jews are going to rebuild their temple and worship a God that is foreign to their neighbors.
As you saw last month, the remnant of the people got the message. They had been wrong to say it wasn’t time to build God’s house. And now, having listened to God, they were going to put Him first. And that they did. To find out when and how quickly, read Haggai 1:12-15 in your Bible. You will see “mission begun.”
But God had more to say–to forecast. Read Haggai 2:1-9 below. Color code every reference to God speaking in yellow and put a triangle over every I. Color the reference to the people in orange, and the temple (house of the Lord) in blue. Mark references to time with a green circle and a squiggly underline. Finally, put a symbol like a clous over every reference to shake.
1 On the twenty-first of the seventh month, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet saying,
2 “Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people saying,
3 ‘Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? Does it not seem to you like nothing in comparison?
4 ‘But now take courage, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord, ‘take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all you people of the land take courage,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ declares the Lord of hosts.
5 ‘As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear!’
6 “For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land.
7 ‘I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the wealth of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts.
8 ‘The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,’ declares the Lord of hosts.
9 ‘The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and in this place I will give peace,’ declares the Lord of hosts.”
Make a list of everything you have learned from what you have just marked about the Lord and what He says about the people and the temple. List what God is going to shake. Then look at what happens when He shakes what He does. Do you believe it? How are you living in light of this?
Now, let’s take a sneak preview into God’s final shake. Mark the text as you did previously, and add what you learn to your list.
20 Then the word of the LORD came a second time to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month, saying,
21 “Speak to Zerubbabel governor of Judah, saying, ‘I am going to shake the heavens and the earth.
22 ‘I will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms and destroy the power of the kingdoms of the nations; and I will overthrow the chariots and their riders, and the horses and their riders will go down, everyone by the sword of another.
23 ‘On that day,’ declares the Lord of hosts, ‘I will take you, Zerubbabel, … and make you like a signet ring for I have chosen you.’”
God’s temple is going to be rebuilt! And although it didn’t look like much in those days compared to Solomon’s temple, wait until you see what’s coming. And what comes with its final glory? Peace!
Yes, God is going to shake heaven, earth, sea, dry land and nations. He is going to overthrow nations and armies, and they will kill each other. But peace follows. No more tremors, no more disaster, no more war (Isaiah 2:1-4). The Prince of Peace is coming again as King of kings, Lord of lords, and of His Kingdom and peace there will be no end (Isaiah 9:6-7).
Consider these words from the Book of Hebrews: “See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.’ This expression, ‘Yet once more,’ denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:25-29).
So who are you serving? If you didn’t notice it when you observed Haggai 2:1-9, look for “take courage, work, do not fear.” You can lay down and sleep in peace, for He alone makes you to dwell in safety (Psalm 4:8). Next month, we’re going to wrap up the Book of Haggai by looking at how to get clean–and stay clean. Until then, Beloved, take courage and work. Your life counts far more than you think.