Haggai was a prophet to the people rebuilding Judah after their captivity. A remnant of Jews were returning to the land.
(Contemporaries of Haggai: Ezra, Zechariah of Iddo, Zerubabbel, Jeshua, Darius, possibly Xerxes, artaxerxes- kings of Persia, possibly Daniel and more..)
At this time, the people had built up luxurious homes for themselves but the temple had not yet been built ( or maybe it had only laid groundwork, but it was not completed) Looking over the last several books of the old testament, the Jews started to rebuild many times but were always faced with obstacles . Sometimes it was the annoying pestering of locals who didn’t want the Jews to succeed ( they harassed them daily with discouraging words) and other times it was written decreed orders from the king to stop rebuilding.
Yet, Hagaii steps on the scene with a Word from the Lord to rebuild.
The people knew they had to rebuild, yet so many obstacles came in their way until they finally were so beat down, worn out and discouraged they ultimately stopped. There was no more fight in them – or so they thought. They only needed a few words of encouragement and new strength, which the Lord gave them.
Timelines: According to scripture, the first message of Haggai from the Lord, and rebuilding began on 9/21 in the second year of King Darius (of Persia) , again on 10/17 they received another message to rebuild, be strong and be not afraid, then again on 12/18 another message of Be strong! Don’t be afraid and again we’re told the temple is rebuilt. I don’t know, and it’s not written, but I am going to guess that they often became discouraged and this is why God had to come back 3x to encourage them to rebuild. They were always being harassed and knocked down with words… God continued to tell them to get back to work and be strong.
This all started in the 2nd year of King Darius and the temple was completed (according to book of Ezra) in the 6th year of King Darius, on the 3rd day of Adar. Adar is of March, it’s a special month, being the month of Purim (Esther) when the Jews were saved and it is also known as the month Moses was born and the month he passed.
Back to Haggai:
The Lord’s Message to the people
” Look at what’s happening to you! Consider your ways!”
- You live in luxury, yet my house lies in ruins
- You plant much but harvest little
- You eat and are not satisfied
- Your wages disappear as if you have holes in your pocket
- You hoped for a rich harvest but they were poor
- And this is because I, the Lord, blew it all away because my house lies in ruins and you busily tend to your own ways”
The people listened and GOD SPARKED THEIR ENTHUSIASM, HE STIRRED THEIR SPIRIT, HE WOKE THEM UP- how cool is that? It means to stir up, rouse, be excited, be triumphant, wake up! How many of us could use that spark to lift us up and continue on in the work God has set ahead for us. (pray for it!)
Then again, a month later, God sends another message “BE STRONG”
- Be Strong Zerubabbel
- Be Strong Jeshua
- Be strong all you people
- AND GET TO WORK! – Yes, that’s what the Lord said, Get to work, and He continued to encourage them with these words
I AM WITH YOU
MY SPIRIT REMAINS AMONG YOU
DON’T BE AFRAID
And a 3rd time 12/18 He tells the people to look carefully at their lives. Sin defiles us and our work.
- Look at what’s happening to you
- You refuse to turn to me
- Think Carefully
- I am giving you a promise, I will bless you. Obey, Work, Be strong, Don’t be afraid!
- I am with you, I will bless you
and so, we are told, the rebuilding began (again)
I want you to understand that you have work to do, we all do. Some of you have been sitting dormant for too long, yes you’ve been knocked down, yes you’re weary- but God says, get up and get back to work. He will stir and excite your spirit for the work ahead, He will give you the energy, power and wisdom to complete it. Pray and make the first move towards it. We could look at this rebuilding of the temple as the rebuilding of the church- that’s us, not a building- together aiming for unity and oneness in Christ which is essential in our walk. Lift your head up friend, don’t let your adversary take you down, yes there’s a war – a war to stop your work and a war for your soul, but you’re not going to give up, no you aren’t, am I right?
Haggai is only 2 chapters long- read it, please. Also, read Ezra 4 and see how their enemies discouraged them, do this so you understand the tactics of the enemy to beat, tear down and wearied God’s people. Read Nehemiah and Ezra, notice, that in the midst of their enemies, God gave them favor from a distant King who allowed them to rebuild which infuriated their neighbors. Both Cyrus and Darius. Kings of Persia decreed for the temple to be rebuilt. Yes, the people were able to continue their work for the Lord even though everyone around them hated them, falsely accused them and continued to weary them with words. But God was with them, He strengthened them and His Spirit was among them. Today His Spirit is in us- His Power is in you. Amen