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Bible Commentaries

Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible
Haggai 2

 

 

Introduction

Do The Work Of God And Be Blessed

- Haggai Two -

The book of Haggai was written in about 520 BC. The captives had returned to the homeland and started to rebuild the Temple. Sadly, they became so focused on their own material things that the work stopped. God"s work was relegated to a place of much lesser importance than His greatness deserved. There had also been some opposition but Haggai encouraged the people to be strong and continue the work. They people were at ease dwelling in their own houses. They said, "The time is not come, the time that the LORD"S house should be built." (Haggai 1:2) The hearts of Haggai, Zerubbabel and Joshua were stirred and they in turn encourage the people to build the Temple. Haggai began to deliver his message on the first day of the sixth month. (Haggai 1:1) On the 24th day of that same month the work was renewed on the Temple. (Haggai 1:15)

Haggai wanted the people to understand that if they would be obedient to God in building the Temple they would be blessed. God reminded them that He would keep His promise to them if they would be faithful. "According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not." (Haggai 2:5) The Temple was rebuilt in Jerusalem. It was completed in 515 BC. Haggai"s message was both a warning and a message of future hope.


Verses 1-9

The future glory of the Temple -- Haggai 2:1-9 : The message of Haggai two was delivered to the same people as the earlier message. It was given to "Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest and to the Jewish people. The prophet asked, "Does anyone remember how glorious this temple used to be?" He wanted them to look at it now and understand that its glory and beauty was nothing to compare to that of Solomon"s Temple. The thing that God did want them to understand was that the all-powerful Lord was there to help them in their work and to bless their efforts. This should cheer their hearts. When the Lord is with us there is no reason to fear. "Be of good cheer: it is I be not afraid." (Mark 6:50) If you are discouraged stooped listening to others and start listening to the promises of God! God had promised the Jews, "My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest." (Exodus 33:14) We enjoy the same promise of God"s presence with us today if we will be faithful to God. Concerning the first temple David encouraged Solomon, "Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD." (1 Chronicles 28:20)

God shook the heavens with His presence during the giving of the Law. (Exodus 19-20) He promised to again shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. In Hebrews 12:26 this verse is quoted and the application that is made is that we who are in Christ have an unshakable kingdom that will endure forever. The Lord promised, "The brightness of my glory will fill this temple." Simeon referred to the infant Jesus as "the glory of your people Israel." (Luke 2:32) Silver and gold was not what made the Temple glorious but rather the presence of the Redeemer. God promised, "In this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts." Observe how Jesus is identified in Isaiah 9:6, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6)


Verses 10-14

Spiritual uncleanness prevents God"s blessing -- Haggai 2:10-14 : Haggai asked the pries to interpret the Law of Moses concerning things that were unclean. "Suppose meat ready to be sacrificed to God is being carried in the folds of someone"s clothing, and the clothing rubs against some bread or stew or wine or olive oil or any other food. Would those foods that were touched then become acceptable for sacrifice? "Of course not," the priests answered." This lesson on ceremonial defilement is designed to teach about religious impurity. Just because the meat was carried in a holy garment this did not make what it touched holy. Just because the people were working on God"s holy Temple did not make all they did or all they contacted holy.

There was also a second question, "Suppose someone has touched a dead body and is considered unacceptable to worship God. If that person touches these foods, would they become unclean?" "Of course they would," the priests answered." God wanted His people to understand that they did not need the help of pagan rulers and their gifts in rebuilding the Temple. Disobedience makes nations unprofitable before God. God through his prophet wanted these people to know that their sacrifices were unacceptable even though they were building His temple. The sacrifices were unacceptable because the people were unclean.


Verses 15-19

Unfaithfulness always reaps sad rewards -- Haggai 2:15-19 : The people needed to remember that before they began to rebuild he Temple that they had been disobedient to God. God punished their disobedience by greatly reducing their harvest. Haggai wrote, "But from now on, things will get better. Before you started laying the foundation for the temple, you recalled what life was like in the past. When you wanted twenty bushels of wheat, there were only ten, and when you wanted fifty jars of wine, there were only twenty. I made all of your hard work useless by sending mildew, mold, and hail--but you still did not return to me, your LORD." (Haggai 2:15-17) Amos 4:9 says, "I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured them: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD." God wanted the people to observe that their hardships had continued to the very day they laid the foundation for the Temple. God said, "Although you have not yet harvested any grain, grapes, figs, pomegranates, or olives, I will richly bless you in the days ahead." (Haggai 2:19) Consequences for sin may go on and on but obedience to God will open the door to His blessings.


Verses 20-23

God"s promise to Zerubbabel -- Haggai 2:20-23 The Lord gave Haggai a special message for Zerubbabel. It was God"s plan to raise up a new leader for His people and that leader would be Zerubbabel. God promised to overthrow the heathen nations by turning them against each other in battle. God"s message was, "tell my servant Zerubbabel that I, the Lord All-Powerful, have chosen him, and he will rule in my name." In Jeremiah 22:24-25 we read "As I live, saith the LORD, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence; And I will give thee into the hand of them that seek thy life, and into the hand of them whose face thou fearest, even into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of the Chaldeans." God put Zerubbabel in the position of a great king and also placed him in the lineage of Jesus. God called Zerubbabel His "servant" and "chosen" Just as He had referred to David. The Lord desired to restore the glory of the David"s throne in the days of Zerubbabel. There was still a glorious future for the Jewish nation in the coming of Jesus as man"s only hope.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Haggai 2:4". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/box/haggai-2.html. 2014.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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