Ezra 5:1 “Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them.”
Haggai was an old man, and Zechariah was a young man.
Both were told to talk to the leaders of the returned remnant (they had been seventy years in captivity in Babylon, for their sins, but had come back after the opportunity came to return.)
Zechariah spoke mostly in visions, telling the people that they had returned for a purpose: which they should continue in, and finish.
His was a message to encourage and build up.
But before they could be built up; they needed to Awaken! To God’s claims on their lives. This Haggai did.
Haggai was a man who got right to the point.
Haggai 1:3-5 “Then came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, saying,
Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house (God’s temple they were to rebuild) lie waste?
Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways.”
You see, the people who had returned to Israel, had started building the temple with great enthusiasm.
As soon as God’s work was started: enemies came.
They said, Let us “help” you.
They wanted to stop God’s people from being separate from them and their ways. (The world always wants to interfere in God’s Will and work.)
But when the remnant refused, saying they alone would build God’s house. Then trouble began. (Ezra 4:4-6).
The enemies accused the remnant of rebellion to the king of Persia, (Ezra 4:12-16)……and he believed them, and commanded that they stop what they were doing!
What should the remnant do? (What they should have done was send their own letters to the king, reminding him of what the former king had promised and decreed for the house at Jerusalem! Ezra 6:1-7)
This was their purpose: To rebuild the temple, so that the first thing (and the Lord is always to be first in our lives), would be His people in a right relationship to Him, by sacrifice.
(We must remember that the sacrifices of the temple were looking forward to the Great, and Only True Sacrifice for sins: Jesus Christ, our Savior.)
When they had stopped building the temple; they started working on their own houses, and estates. They built very elaborate houses for themselves.
But God would not let them forget their purpose, so:
Haggai 1:7-9 “Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways.
Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the Lord.
Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? Saith the Lord of hosts.
Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.”
This fierce and serious message was heard (thankfully), and obeyed.
Haggai 1:12 “Then Zerubbabel…,and Joshua…,the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God sent him, and the people did fear before the Lord.”
And the Lord encouraged them:
Haggai 1:13-14 “Then spake Haggai the Lord’s messenger in the Lord’s message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the Lord.
And the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel….,governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua…., the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the Lord of hosts, their God,”
When the Lord is “with us”, we are in a very secure place, for His power is at work for us.
For the Lord also made Darius the king find a decree, which had not been found before. By that decree, the Israelites were to be funded, and encouraged! (Ezra 6:2-3, 6-7)
And the Lord gave them a very great promise:
Haggai 2:7, 9 “And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with (the)glory, saith the Lord of hosts.
The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts.”
Part of the temple they were finishing, would be there when God sends His Son, Jesus Christ. (It was; for Herod built his temple around part of this original building. Jesus walked on the stones they laid.)
And, when they obeyed; The Lord blessed them in all the other things:
Haggai 2:19 “Is the seed yet in the barn? Yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day will I bless you.”
The Lord has said to us:
Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”
We are to concentrate on His Purpose for us: to do His Will.
And He will be “with you” today, tomorrow, and so on.