Haggai 2 has the word of God coming to the prophet a second time. This time in October 520 b.c. There were celebrating the Day of Atonement and Feast of the Tabernacles and God tells Haggai to speak to His people. “Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Is it not as nothing in your eyes”? We are 66 years after the temple was destroyed so there were likely some people who had been around then and saw the temple in its former glory. They were caught up comparing what they were building versus what they remembered of the former temple and it was taking them off course. It wasn’t going to match that which Solomon had built.
But that didn’t make it less important. It didn’t do the people of Haggai’s day any good to think of how magnificent Solomon’s temple was compared to their own rebuilding work. So Haggai urges them on – to keep on working. “Be strong….work….for I am with you….according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not”. They aren’t facing this task along. God is with them and gives the leaders and people of Israel three clear commands. Each of these three is essential to getting the work of God done. Great things are not accomplished without action.
While the building itself won’t compare to Solomon’s temple, this one will exceed the original in that God’s promise is to fill the temple with His glory. And as he does, “the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory….The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts”. Solomon had all the treasures as raw material and used them in building the temple. This time, what belongs to God will come later. They didn’t need to be discouraged if they didn’t have money for the building project. They had to boldly trust the God who owned every resource, and then give generously.
It really isn’t about the temple, but the relationship and what God promises. “But from this day on I will bless you….for I have chosen you”. God promised blessing to His people if they put their priorities back in order, with Him and His work first. He promises to also take care of them. “I am about to shake the heavens and the earth, and to overthrow the throne of kingdoms. I am about to destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations, and overthrow the chariots and their riders”. Haggai reminds the people that God is in control. He encourages them to stay the course and walk in obedience to God!