Haggai 2:1-9 (NLT)
Then on October 17 of that same year, the Lord sent another message through the prophet Haggai: “Say this to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of God’s people there in the land: ‘Does anyone remember this house—this Temple—in its former splendor? How, in comparison, does it look to you now? It must seem like nothing at all! But now the Lord says: Be strong, Zerubbabel. Be strong, Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people still left in the land. And now get to work, for I am with you, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So do not be afraid.’
“For this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: In just a little while I will again shake the heavens and the earth, the oceans and the dry land. I will shake all the nations, and the treasures of all the nations will be brought to this Temple. I will fill this place with glory, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. The future glory of this Temple will be greater than its past glory, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. And in this place I will bring peace. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!”
Today’s scripture takes place one month after the text we discussed in the sermon yesterday. It was one month after the Israelites repented, got their priorities straight, and started rebuilding the temple.
Unfortunately, only one month after this spiritual mountaintop experience everyone is depressed. Has that ever happened to you?
The Israelites were being obedient and building God’s temple, but it was pretty terrible looking. Some of the oldest members of the group could still remember the beautiful temple Solomon had built on the site before the Babylonians destroyed it. Solomon’s temple had been a true marvel of the ancient world, the envy of kingdoms everywhere. This temple….well, let’s just say it wasn’t anything to write home about.
So God very lovingly steps in and reminds them that He is with them. Then He shares with them the ultimate vision of how He is going to bring salvation and freedom to the entire world through things that happen in this city. He shares how, in the future, He is going to create a New Jerusalem in God’s Kingdom where people from every nationality will worship God together. Even though they can’t see it, God sees their obedience and the results of their labor as a beautiful part of the redemptive story He is creating.
That is how it is for us also on most days. We may feel what we have to offer is not much. Or maybe our talents even seem pretty poor in comparison to others we may know. But if we get stuck in this we are missing the point.
God has given you talents, gifts, time, and energy He wants you to use to build His Kingdom. No matter how small or large a part you might play, we are all working together to do God’s work in this world and in our community. Remember that God is with you, and that is all you need.
Now get to work!