The Command to Rebuild the Temple
1 In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest: 2 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.” 3 Then the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? 5 Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. 6 You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.
7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. 8 Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the Lord. 9 You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house. 10 Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. 11 And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast, and on all their labors.”
The People Obey the Lord
12 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 Lord. 13 Then Haggai, the messenger of the Lord, spoke to the people with the Lord’s message, “I am with you, declares the Lord.” 14 And 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, 15 on the twenty-fourth day of the month, in the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.
My bible’s commentary 1-11
In difficult economic times, the people were saying, “The time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the LORD”(v.2), though they were finding ways to build their own houses (v4). God promised that if they rebuilt his temple, he would be with them (v.13). He would turn the world upside down and bring the long-desired Messiah.
We too need to repent of our focus on building our own houses, not the Lord’s. We need to pour our energies into building God’s house(i.e., pursuing his purposes), while remembering that the visible symbol of his presence in the midst of his people is no longer a building but Jesus Christ himself.
(John 2:19) Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
As Immanuel, Jesus physically represented God’s presence among his people. When he cleansed the temple(John 2), Jesus showed the true zeal for God’s house that we often lack, and at the cross he took upon himself the punishment we deserve for our self-centered focuson our own houses. Now that Jesus has ascended back to heaven, God’s presence in the world is represented by his people. As the body of Christ, the church is now the new temple(Eph. 2:16-22; 2 Cor. 6:16-7:1).
The people obeyed the voice of the Lord (v12) because the Lord stirred up their spirits (v.14). God builds his new temple by stirring our spirits to work through the indwelling power of his Spirit.
(Jude 20-21) But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.
We are thereby called and empowered to glorify God with our bodies.
(1 Cor. 6:19-20) Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
God will establish his kingdom in this world in and through us; we, in turn, are called to seek his kingdom first.
(Matt. 6:33) But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
We need to do God’s work every day. We need to work hard each day so God’s light will shine through us as much as possible. There’s no taking a vacation from God’s work, to do our own thing, nor can we chance taking even one day off because only He knows what day and hour he will return and we certainly want to be prepared for when that happens.
Please share any thoughts about this chapter or any other verses and songs that come to mind. I wish all of you a very blessed day.