Haggai 2:1-5 presents an interesting development in the great revival taking place among God’s people.
About a month after the temple work began, God sent an encouraging word through Haggai to the remnant who had determined, without adequate resources, to rebuild God’s house as directed by the prophets. Haggai asked the elders how the temple’s current state compared to its appearance before the exile. Clearly, the present appearance did not match the former glory. People may have been discouraged because they had no chance of duplicating the splendor of Solomon’s temple that once stood in the same place.
The prophet encouraged the people to keep working because God’s Spirit was with them.He called on all members of the remnant community to be strong and to work hard because of the presence of God Almighty in their midst. Haggai’s words to the leaders “Be strong! Do not fear!” sound like the Lord’s words to Joshua after the death of Moses (Josh. 1:5-9). The smaller and weaker were Israel’s own resources, the greater their need for faith in God. The prophet declared that, in the end, the Lord would make the temple’s latter glory greater than its former glory. That became true, however, only because One greater than the temple had come (see Matt. 12:6).
The presence of the Spirit confirmed the continuity of God’s kingdom in Israel. The Spirit of God, who had guided Moses and the elders and who had sent forth the prophets with inspired messages, was in the midst of the remnant. The godly response of the leaders and the people testified to the spiritual reformation that had taken place. The Spirit was present in renewing them and in bringing them closer to their God. The presence of the Spirit also guaranteed an abundance of blessings. The prophet encouraged the community members to work out the divine promises to their fulfillments.
Haggai ministered God’s Word to people who knew the harshness of life and the disappointment of unfulfilled hope. He turned their attention to God, who is faithful and who counts on the new community to be responsible citizens of His kingdom, persevering in doing good, and thus finding true meaning and purpose in their lives.
A 35-year-old man who had given up on belief in God wrote a 1,900 page suicide note before killing himself. In his note, he wrote: “Every word, every thought, and every emotion comes back to one core problem: life is meaningless.” How does not only our belief in God, but our willingness to obey Him, give our life meaning?