Haggai 2:1. In the seventh month, in the one and twentieth day of the month.
Not very long after.
Haggai 2:2-3. Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest and to the residue of the people, saying, Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?
It appears that the spirit of idleness had broken out again. As the walls began to rise the older men wept at the recollection of what an inferior structure it would be, compared with the former building of Solomon, and the idolaters, ready enough to get an excuse, are ready enough to cease work. Therefore, God’s prophet is at it again. If the fire begins to die out, the bellows must be used again. The zeal of the Christian is very like the zeal of these men of Jerusalem — very apt to flag; and the zeal of God’s messenger must come to stir them up again.
Haggai 2:5-6. According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not. For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while,
Though as some read it, it is “but a little structure,” but our reading is, perhaps, better — it is but a little while.
Haggai 2:6-9. And I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, 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.
Clearly encouraging them to proceed with their work.
This exposition consisted of readings from Haggai 1:1 to Haggai 2:9; Hebrews 7:15-28.
Haggai 2:1. In the seventh month, in the one and twentieth day of the month, came the word of the LORD by the prophet Haggai, saying,
God’s people need to be spoken to very often; and every time God speaks to them, he takes account of it. Let us do the same: let us not think it is such an unimportant matter for us to hear a gospel sermon that we need not take note when we hear it. Oh, that the Word of the Lord were more precious to us in these days! Let us praise God for it, and not reckon it to be so common a thing that we take no more notice of it than we do of eating our breakfast or sitting down to our supper.
Haggai 2:2-3. Speak now to Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and to the residue of the people, saying Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?
There could not have been many persons left who had seen Solomon’s temple. If any such were still living at that time, they must have been extremely aged persons; yet there were many there whose fathers had seen it, and who had heard from their fathers, when they sat upon their knees as children, what a glorious place the house of God had been in Solomon’s day.
Haggai 2:4. Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts:
This is the second time that Haggai was sent with this message. It was so rich, so full, so divinely encouraging, that the Lord might well repeat it: “I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts.”
Haggai 2:5-7. According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not. For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.
So it happened that, to the second temple, the Babe of Bethlehem was brought, that glorious “Desire of all nations” whom we worship; and thus it came to pass that the glory of the second house was, after all, far greater than the glory of the first.
Haggai 2:8. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts.
The released captives had not much of it with which to build the second temple, but God had all that was needed, and he was willing to supply them with enough for all the needs of the great work which they had undertaken in his name.
Haggai 2:9. 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.
The Prince of peace gave peace to many in that second temple.
Haggai 2:10. In the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying,
Here is another message from the Lord, and the date of its delivery is as carefully noted as the dates of those that had preceded it.
Haggai 2:11-14. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying, If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No. Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean. Then answered Haggai, and said, So is this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the LORD, and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean.
That which is ceremonially holy cannot communicate its holiness to that which is unclean; but that which is unclean, in the eyes of the law, can communicate its uncleanness to anything that touches it. These people, being themselves defiled with sin, could not bring to God either acceptable service or acceptable offerings.
Haggai 2:15-17. And now, I pray you, consider from this day and upward, from before a stone was laid upon a stone in the temple of the LORD: since those days were, when one came to an heap of twenty measures, there were but ten: when one came to the press vat for to draw out fifty vessels out of the press, there were but twenty. I smote you with blasting and with mildew and with hail in all the labours of your hands; yet ye turned not to me, saith the LORD.
How often, in these two chapters, the word “Consider” occurs! And this subject of the Lord’s chastisement was well worthy of his people’s earnest and solemn consideration, yet they were not brought to repentance by all that they suffered.
Haggai 2:18-19. Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the LORD’s temple was laid, consider it. 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.
That was indeed a memorable day in their history; I trust that many of us can also remember such a notable day in our life, when the Lord said to us, “From this day will I bless you.”
Haggai 2:20-23. And again the word of the LORD came unto Haggai in the four and twentieth day of the month, saying, Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth; and I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them, and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother.
In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and I will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts.