Thursday, January 7, 2010


The abandoned construction of the temple stood like a sore thumb. The whole surrounding area covered with thick weeds, and shrubs protruding everywhere. Yet, the returning remnants had returned to normalcy in life, their hearts far removed from the vision set forth by Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah who led the exiles back to their homeland. Prophet Haggai knelt there speechless at the place where once the great Temple of Solomon stood. Tears began to drop freely as he witnessed the eroding faith of the remnants where God had put his hope on. In the still of the evening, God spoke, “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come for the Lord’s house to be built.’”

The prophet knew that only the reconstructed temple could reinstate their former aspiration to be a great nation under the Mighty Yahweh. Haggai had not forgotten the promised made to Abraham and to David. But the remnants in Jerusalem had to do a lot of ‘de-babylonizing’ to gear up. Some had chosen to stay in Babylon as they were thriving commercially. Those returnees were reluctant to see the importance of the place of worship over their livelihood. Furthermore, there had been some hostile opposition to the rebuilding.

Prophet Haggai gathered the people and pleaded with them. He knew this could be a do or die situation, nationally or spiritually. With tears in his eyes, he pleaded, "Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?"

The prophet spoke sternly the Word of God, "Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

The rebuke woke them up. Finally they knew why they could only survive and not thrive in their own land. The voice of the prophet was heeded. The leaders of the remnant, Zerubbabel, the governor and Joshua, the high priest renewed their commitment to lead the people to rebuild the temple. Prophet Haggai jumped with joy at the rejuvenated people and cried loudly God’s Word, “Yahweh declares, ‘I am with you.’”

As they zealously built the temple, God knew the hearts of the people, especially those who had seen the previous glorious temple before it was destroyed. God saw through those tears and heartbrokenness and said through his servant Haggai, “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? In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory. The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house. And in this place I will grant peace!”

Their work in this rebuilding must not be seen as insignificant! Nothing that was done for God’s glory would be wasted and be treated as trivial! The people might be building a smaller temple but God was able to ‘mightify’ it! Even the Messiah, the desired of all nations would one day step into this temple!

Haggai once again visited the temple in its vibrant rebuilding, looked up to the skies and smiled widely. He had made an appointment with Zerubbabel to meet him there. When both of these great men met, they embraced.

“God said, ‘I will shake the heavens and the earth. I will overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms. I will overthrow chariots and their drivers; horses and their riders will fall, each by the sword of his brother. On that day I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you.’" Prophet Haggai whispered to the Governor, a descendant of King David himself.

What would Prophet Haggai say to us if he were still alive today?

1. Be careful of losing the essential things (God, church, ministry) by focusing on the urgent (material things).
2. Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.
3. Do not see whatever we do for God as insignificant as God has the power to multiply a hundred fold.
4. Do not only have initiative but also ‘finishtiative’!
5. God would never forget His promises!

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