December 20, 2019
THE TRANSMISSION OF HOLINESS The prophet Haggai asked the Jewish priests two questions concerning the transmission of holiness and impurity. They were experts on such things, so they answered correctly according to the Mosaic Law. Haggai clearly knew the answers to his two questions before he asked, for he was quick to apply the principles
December 20, 2017
“Be strong. Do the work. Do not fear.”
These are the three instructions the Lord gave to the Israelites who had returned from Babylonian captivity. Zerubbabel was the grandson of Jehoiachin, penultimate king of Judah. He led the first group of captives back to Jerusalem. He and Joshua, the high priest, led the people to rebuild the temple, but the people had been putting their own households first. After rebuilding the foundation years earlier, the temple still lay in ruins. The people had not finished what they had begun. They had become busy with their own homes, putting their own house ahead of the Lord’s.
Perhaps they felt they didn’t have the money or the expertise. Perhaps they feared falling short of the “glory” of Solomon’s Temple (Hag. 2:3). Whatever their reasons, they had stopped working. So, God gave them three instructions: “Be strong. Do the work. Do not fear.” And He gave them one powerful promise: “I am with you.”
He still makes this promise to us today. As the angel told Mary, “Do not fear. The Lord is with you. For nothing is impossible with God!” (Luke 1:28-37).
December 20, 2013
The prophet Haggai wrote during the time when Israel’s remnant returned from Babylonian captivity. The temple lay in ruins. Yet, the people were not inclined to rebuild it. They were focused on their own houses and excused their behavior by saying to themselves, “The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.” This prompted the Lord to ask them a question about the timing for their own homes being built. These were not mere shelters to help them survive. These were fine “paneled” houses, meaning they had been in the land long enough to start prospering and yet, they ignored the Lord’s house. The Lord’s question exposed their true priorities. They were not putting God first. The wonderful difference between their response and the response of their pre-exile forefathers is that they repented. They obeyed. And the Lord “stirred” their spirits and they went to work!