After their captivity, God brought His people home. They began building the wall to fortify their city as God commanded. They started to build the temple, but stopped when they experienced persecution from the surrounding nations. Then they went on to their own lives. How often do we put our own lives and livelihood before God?
“Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, saying: ‘This people says, “The time has not come, the time that the LORD’s house should be built.” ‘ ” Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying, “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?” Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways! “You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but do not have enough; you drink, but you are not filled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes.”
Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways! Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,” says the LORD. “You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?” says the LORD of hosts. “Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house.
Therefore the heavens above you withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit. For I called for a drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain and the new wine and the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.”
Haggai had a simple message from God to Israel: Build the temple! How often do we ignore God’s calling and take care of our own comforts first? I am guilty of this. I often have said, once I do this or obtain that, then I will go here or do that. The people of Israel went back home and fixed up their own houses while God’s house was in ruins. How often do we do this spiritually? Do we look to our own needs or wants when others are hurting? Do we not share our faith with others because it might be uncomfortable? Have we created debt for our own desires while neglecting to give?
Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him; and the people feared the presence of the LORD.
Then Haggai, the LORD’s messenger, spoke the LORD’s message to the people, saying, “I am with you, says the LORD.” So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month, in the second year of King Darius.
Joshua and Zerubbabel took to heart the message from God through Haggai. How often do we just need a wake up call! Sometimes we have to go through some hard times before we get over our stubbornness and obey God. Ever have that feeling of conviction after a sermon or scripture or some harsh honesty by a friend or family? We should follow it. We all can use some conviction in our hearts and we all need to repent of something from time to time.
“For thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the LORD of hosts.”
And again the word of the LORD came to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month, saying, “Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying: ‘I will shake heaven and earth. I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms; I will destroy the strength of the Gentile kingdoms. I will overthrow the chariots and those who ride in them; the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother. ‘In that day,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘I will take you, Zerubbabel My servant, the son of Shealtiel,’ says the LORD, ‘and will make you like a signet ring; for I have chosen you,’ says the LORD of hosts.
One day, Christ will return to rule this earth. God will show His power and His glory. All the treasures of this earth are His. Where is your treasure? When Jesus returns, He will take His people home and He will bring His rewards. Joshua and Zerubbabel will have their reward because of their obedience and their leading people to God. I think Joshua and Zerubbabel may also be metaphors for Christ. He is King and Priest. He is the Anointed One (in fact, the Hebrew word for Jesus and Joshua…Yeshua, are the same).
Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: “Receive the gift from the captives—from Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, who have come from Babylon—and go the same day and enter the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah. Take the silver and gold, make an elaborate crown, and set it on the head of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Then speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, saying:
“Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, and He shall build the temple of the LORD; Yes, He shall build the temple of the LORD. He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule on His throne; so He shall be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” ‘
“Now the elaborate crown shall be for a memorial in the temple of the LORD for Helem, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Hen the son of Zephaniah. Even those from afar shall come and build the temple of the LORD. Then you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. And this shall come to pass if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God.”
We will discuss this scripture more when we study the book of Zechariah, but this describes not only the current events at that time of building the temple, but also Jesus, the Messiah, IS the temple. He said that this temple will be destroyed and in 3 days He will raise it up, describing His death and resurrection. And those who believe and trust in Him, will see that final temple in heaven.