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In this Chapter Haggai reproves the people's negligence, and incites them to the building of the Temple, and God promiseth his assistance therein.
"In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying, (2) Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD'S house should be built."
The text Haggai would have chosen to have preached this Sermon from, had he been blessed with it, would have been those sweet words of the Lord Jesus: Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33 . He was stirred up to call the people to the consideration of their ways, and the deplorable state in which the Lord's house laid waste. That awful delay which for the most part forms the character of most men, in providing for their grand concerns, operated with the people of God, after their return from Babylon, in respect to the Lord's house. They found Solomon's temple in ruins; but none thought of rebuilding it. Haggai is informed of this by the word of the Lord; and it should seem that the prophet's mind was greatly excited thereby. What a sad state of putting off it is in soul concerns!
"Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying, (4) Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste? (5) Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. (6) Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. (7) Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. (8) Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD. (9) 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. (10) Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit. (11) And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands."
Haggai is instructed to rouse the attention of the people to the solemn consideration, how truly awful it was, that the people should he so much alive to build ceiled houses for themselves, while the Lord's house lay waste. And the Lord declares by his servant Haggai, that he had been punishing them for this in withholding the general influences of heaven; so that nothing did the earth bring forth to them that was profitable, neither did they feel delight in the enjoyment. Reader! It will be no unprofitable improvement, from what is said in this scripture, if you, and I, at any time find vexations, where we had expected comfort; and disappointment in our best schemes, to enquire into the cause. The Lord sometimes damps our enjoyments, and tingeth them with sorrow, to bring our hearts home to the recollection of some neglect, some inattention or misimprovement of the blessings given us, that we may be brought to a sense of our undeservings, and the Lord's glory.
"Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, 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 had sent him, and the people did fear before the LORD. (13) Then spake Haggai the LORD'S messenger in the LORD'S message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the LORD. (14) And the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, 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, (15) In the four and twentieth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king."
This Zerubbabel is a remarkable name. It means a stranger: from Zer and Babel, confusion; alluding to the Old Tower in the plains of Shinar. But his father's name is yet more so, Shealtiel ; a compound word from Shealtu, I have asked, and El, God. Joshua is well known as being the same name in Hebrew, as Jesus in Greek, and both meaning a Saviour. There is somewhat very striking in what is here said, of the Lord's exciting the minds of those men, and all the people to the work. Reader! Recollect that scripture, Philippians 2:13 , And learn from hence, an additional testimony of the truth of sovereign grace. Oh! how certain it is, that all the good that is done upon earth, the Lord doeth it himself!
Who can call to remembrance the desolated state of the Church, in the ruins at the return of the people from the Babylonish captivity, but must feel concern at the sad and deplorable visitation! And who that beholds the backwardness of the people to remove the ruins, and to erect a place of worship to the Lord, but must be astonished at a conduct so highly blameworthy? What can be more awful than to see the house of God in ruins, and men's houses built with cedar, and painted with vermillion? In how many instances is it so now?, Reader! Have you never seen the house of God desolate, and the houses of the priests like palaces? I have. Precious Lord Jesus! Happy is it for thy people, that in thee, whatever the outer buildings are, they have in thee a temple indeed! Thou art the foundation Jehovah laid in Zion; and all new covenant blessings rest upon thee. Lord! Cause my soul to be founded in this foundation, that I may be growing up to thee in all things, and be found in thee, and through thee, for an habitation of God through the Spirit. Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Haggai 1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24