Here we hear the words from the Lord as very different…the Lord opens with instructions to ask the priests a question. Two scenarios presented for the priests to give an answer to the conundrum. If something is consecrated, will it make anything it comes in contact with as holy and consecrated, simply with vicinity? Then the second query, will something defiled make all that touches it defiled?
“The final glory of this house will be greater than the first,” says the Lord of Armies. Anticipation enters. His glory was magnificent, His glory is powerful, and His glory will be greater than it ever was. Wow! If there ever was a cliffhanger this would be it. Haggai must have been thrilled to bring this message.
What am I called to build in my life? Where is God telling me He is here, fear is dispelled? Work! How often am I afraid to open my mouth or love deeply? I see the needs, I see the pain, I hear the command…now go! We are called to build His kingdom. He assures us of His presence and says now work. What keeps you from Kingdom building? Is it fear?
“Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory?” - Reminders of past are a funny thing. The past could be a sensitive subject or it can light up a room with stories. The Israelites, as a people, had been in Babylon for 70 years before Persia took over, and God’s people were sent home. In 70 years time, many who had seen the temple of Solomon were no longer with them and new generations were now the leaders and elders.
It is an interesting thought that the Lord is Sovereign. When we get to thinking too hard about it, we get lost in its mystery. Our frail and limited minds think only at one level, and the Lord’s sovereignty expands so far beyond the reach of our grasp that it is almost tiring to try to decipher. We know from scripture that the Lord is sovereign, yet we still attempt to maintain a basis of control over our lives…calendars, kids, relationships, basically everything.
God has something to say. He has said it before, over and over. At this point, remember, it has been 16 years of these people focusing on themselves and not placing priority on being with the Lord. The temple that was to be built was the purpose for their return. This temple that was to be built was to house the Lord’s presence, a place where they could be with Him.
It seems over and over again we read “the voice of the Lord” throughout the Bible. In the passage this week, we read it as “the people obeyed the voice of the Lord.” They heard the message from Haggai, knew the Lord sent him, and obeyed! Do you ever wonder if you are hearing the voice of the Lord? Do you question whether or not you would know the voice if you heard it?
Do you ever get struck when you read that the Lord is behind what seems to be terrible things, or hardships in our lives? I have found the Lord behind many natural disasters and trials throughout the Bible. Circumstances we see as nothing short of traumatic! I will never forget some of the places I have first heard words like this…
Give careful thought to your ways. This phrase has a sweet reprimand of love, and yet, a sobering warning to it. There is a gentleness in the words which communicates… “I love you dear one, now watch what you are doing.”
A clear order of priorities seems to rise from the book of Haggai. Right away we see the Lord clearly stating the mindset of the people…”the time has not yet come to rebuild.” They seemed to have their plan of what should come first, and it was not to build the temple! The people, upon their return to Jerusalem wanted to settle.