Posted by: St. Mark Lutheran Church | December 14, 2010

A Taste of the Minor Prophets — Haggai

In 538 BC Jews returned home after 70 years of exile.  Led by Ezra, Nehemiah, and Zerubbabel, they began rebuilding Jerusalem and the Temple.

Work began on the temple in 536 BC (Ezra 3:8-10), but then came to a halt for almost 20 years (Ezra 4:1-5, 24).  Ezra and Nehemiah detail the external reasons for the delay.  Haggai (and Zechariah) focuses on the internal factors holding up the building project.  Haggai writes:  “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?…You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little….  Why?…  Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house” (1:4, 9).  The factor?  Israel was so busy with their own needs that they forgot the LORD who had delivered them from exile.

The people took to heart the prophet’s words and finished the temple.  It was nothing like Solomon’s (Haggai 2:3).  But the LORD spoke and said, “Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory?  How does it look to you now?  Does it seem to you like nothing?…  Be strong, all you people of the land…and work.  For I am with you” (Haggai 2:4).  Then the LORD goes on: “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty” (Haggai 2:7-9).

This isn’t an appeal to contribute more to projects happening around St. Mark, but a Reformation reminder.  Why do we contribute?  Why do we love the LORD with all our heart, not our homes, not our families, not our jobs, not our stuff?  It is because while we and all we have is defiled (Haggai 2:14) the LORD came and shook the earth.  The Messiah came and the earth shook when God died for your sins and rose again.  And the Messiah will come again, shaking the earth in His glory, and filling us with glory and peace, on account of Christ, by faith.  Haggai’s stunning promises are for you!

 

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