Haggai is one of the shortest prophecies in the Old Testament. Haggai wrote this in 538 B.C. to those returning from 70 years of captivity after the Babylonian empire had fallen to Cyrus, King of Persia. They returned to a land devastated and were shocked to see a ruined temple – the center of their worship – left in shambles.
The people of God began to rebuild the temple but soon grew discouraged due to fierce opposition. Lacking commitment to finish the work, they began to settle for personal peace and prosperity, giving energy to building their own homes while neglecting the reconstruction of the temple. God warned them that their lives would not improve, “…because my house… remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house” (1:9). “Because of you,” God declares, “the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops” (1:10).
Through Haggai, God reminded the people of their spiritual priorities, helping them to see that he was up to something: “The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house” (2:9). It was hard from them to visualize this. God tells them, “In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land” (2:6). God had his sovereign timetable for history and reassured them that He was working out His plan.
God declared he “will shake all the nations, and the treasures of all the nations will be brought to this Temple. I will fill this place with glory” (2:7 NLT). The silver and gold belong to the Lord. All the physical creation and all nations will bow to the sovereign Lord. In bringing some of this to pass, the emperor Darius even “instructed the opponents of the temple to pay the cost of the project from the royal revenue in their own taxation districts” (Bible Speaks Today – BST).
As in the first coming of the Lord, this will also be seen in the second coming of our Lord. “Jesus’ death and resurrection were both accomplished by a shaking of the earth (Mt. 27:51; 28:2). But the final fulfillment lies in the future when, “the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb” are the temple (Rev. 21:22 BST).
Men, we live in this period of a “little while.” Be assured that God continues to bring about “great shaking.” We read in Heb. 12:26, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” We, however, belong to an unshakable kingdom. “…God is not an indifferent bystander. He’s actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won’t quit until it’s all cleansed. God himself is Fire!” (Heb. 12:28-9 – Message).
During this “little while” before Jesus returns, God is purifying and cleansing His church. The shaking will continue for some time. You might be shocked and dismayed at what you read in the popular media. But remember God is moving us to a time when He will receive all the glory. In the meantime, he is preparing something far greater than anything we could have imagined.
Pray to keep your priorities straight, so that you are part of what God is doing for the future. “The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house. And in this place, I will grant peace” (2:9).
Lord, help me to see where I’m too busy focused on meeting my own wants and desires rather than the needs of your Kingdom – and help me do something to change that.