Chapter 2:1-9 (ESV) - In the seventh month, on the twenty-first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet: “Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to all the remnant of the people, and say, ‘Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Is it not as nothing in your eyes? Yet 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. Work, for I am with you, declares the Lord of hosts, according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not. For thus says the Lord of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts. The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts.’”
Question to consider: How would God shake all nations so that their treasure comes into the house of God?
About a month after Zerubbabel and Joshua restarted the building of the temple, the Lord gave Haggai a word of encouragement for them. God gave a similar word of encouragement through the prophet Zechariah in his vision of the golden lampstand (Zechariah 4). The elderly among them (probably eighty and older) who had survived all the years in Babylon and remembered the former glory of Jerusalem and the temple should not be discouraged by the diminished size and scope of the new temple, for the same God who brought them out of Egypt was with them now.
Many of the elderly in the church today lament that the church is shrinking. Although I can see where this can cause discouragement, my response has always been the same. If we concentrate on the depth of our ministry, we can trust in God for its breadth. The Holy Spirit is the one who uses the gospel to bring people to faith. We are merely God’s heralds who proclaim the glory of Christ. We do not measure the success of ministry by the number of people on our membership roster but by our fidelity to God’s word and our love for one another.
The disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith in Luke 17:5, and Jesus responded that they could do mighty things with faith the size of a tiny mustard seed. It was not the size of their faith that was important, rather the one in whom they placed their faith. To the people in the day of Haggai, it was not the size of the temple that made it glorious but the God who dwelt there. God’s next statement was incredible.
They didn’t need to fear the other nations because God would move heaven and earth to bring in the treasure from all the nations. God was not promising that their physical temple would be greater than the former despite the fact that the Herods would one day make the physical temple something magnificent to behold. This promise was for the coming of the church which would fill the whole earth. The church would be the treasure of God coming in from every tribe and nation and receiving the peace of God through Christ’s finished work on the cross.
Dear heavenly father, please strengthen our feeble arms and weak knees as we work in Your kingdom. Let us faithfully proclaim the good news of Christ’s victory on the cross and leave the results in Your capable hands. Open our eyes and hearts so we can be like Isaiah who said, “Here am I. Send me.” Amen.