Book of Haggai: Chapters 1-2
The Book of Haggai tells us some of the events that we read about earlier in the Book of Ezra. Both books work together to tell the story of the Jewish exiles that were able to return to the promised land as soon as they were liberated from captivity. They tell from two distinct points of view the dedication and strength it took for the building of the second temple as well as the improvement of the great city Jerusalem. We are able to see that individuals from the Jewish exiles continued working for a hope of a better tomorrow and also for the possible creation of a house of worship.
What we learn from the Book of Haggai that we did not know about the Book of Ezra is the specific words that were exchanged between GOD, the Father, the prophets, and the Jewish exiles of Judah. We knew from the Book of Ezra that Haggai and Zechariah, the two prophets mentioned, were able to talk to the people and allow the people to learn what they needed to do in order to accomplish the difficult task. What we did not know was that the prophet Haggai stated that GOD wanted specifically for the house of worship to be built. We see that this action is told through questions that ask the people why there was a distinction between them who had built themselves houses and why there was no house of worship. Through these questions similar to the Book of Job, we are able to see the Almighty power of GOD. We see that the people through the prophets are able to understand the meaning of the questioning and are able to continue.
Specific themes that are present throughout the book of Haggai include the renovation of hope through the exiles of Judah. While captivity and exile does not create hope, GOD shows that they were being given another chance to improve their land and their faith. They were being given another chance of following the commandments, of loving GOD, and of doing what was good. They were allowed to re-enter their land, be given the ability to rebuild, and improve the great city. We see that GOD gives us hope in our difficulties and through them, we are able to grow and learn how to follow GOD. We see that there is great perseverance since the construction is built.
We also see the theme of GOD’s will and determining what occurs in history. From the start we see that there was a command to allow the people to rebuild by the stirring of the spirit of the governor of Judah, the chief priest, the prophets, and the people of the exile. We see that the people then were able to be determined based on this stirring that occurred. We see similarities with the New Testament, since individuals stirred in the Spirit were able to accomplish the preaching and works of faith throughout the books of the New Testament. What some consider miracles are workings of GOD for good as seen through the healing, preaching, and renovation of those that believed in the Gospel. This all ties in to Paul’s statement in Romans concerning the power of the Almighty. We are told that,
“What then shall we say to these things? If GOD is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against GOD’s elect? It is GOD who justifies. Who is to condemn?” – Romans 31: 31-33
We see that GOD gives us opportunities to acknowledge His infinite mercy, steadfast love, and faithfulness. We see from the words that are spoken to the prophet Haggai and the people of the exiles,
“My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not. For this says the LORD of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the LORD of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the LORD of hosts. The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the LORD of hosts. And in this place I will give, peace, declares the LORD of hosts.” – Haggai 2: 5-9
GOD promises to prepare us for blessings if we are able to maintain our faith and have the ability to believe in His promises. We are to not turn away from His faithfulness, but remain in His promises. We know we serve an infinite and eternal GOD that is able to allow us the ability to feel at peace knowing that He is able to control everything and allow us the ability to learn about His mercy and grace.
We are able to see that there are recurrent themes within the Old Testament and New Testament. What Paul states in Romans goes along with the preaching of Haggai to the people of the exiles. We learn that what GOD, the Father, determines the course of history. We learn that He gives us the ability to return and ask for forgiveness and grace. We learned that He is able to strengthen our spirit to accomplish His purpose in our lives. Praise be to GOD, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.