Going Deeper 11-5-19

The first reading for Pentecost 22….

Haggai 1:15b-2:9  In the second year of King Darius, in the seventh month, on the twenty-first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by the prophet Haggai, saying: Speak now to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people, and say, ‘Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory?  How does it look to you now?  Is it not in your sight as nothing?  Yet now take courage, O Zerubbabel, says the Lord; take courage, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; take courage, all you people of the land, says the Lord; work, for I am with you, says the Lord of hosts, according to the promise that I made you when you came out of Egypt.  My spirit abides among you; do not fear.  For thus says the Lord of hosts: Once again, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land; and I will shake all the nations, so that the treasure of all nations shall come, and I will fill this house with splendor, says the Lord of hosts.  The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord of hosts.  The latter splendor of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts; and in this place I will give prosperity, says the Lord of hosts.


The historical setting for this text is 520 BCE, and a remnant of the people of Judah and Jerusalem who had been taken into captivity by the Babylonians nearly 70 years earlier have been freed by Cyrus the Persian to return to their homeland and rebuild.  Some chose to do so, but their return and rebuild was fraught with difficulty.  People who had escaped the captivity were not happy about returning property to the original “owners,” and neither were others who had moved in from surrounding lands.


But slowly the rebuild took place.  Homes and the walls of Jerusalem were completed first, and then a temple was built.  However, in our text we learn that those who had seen the glory of Solomon’s temple were not too impressed with its replacement.  They had hoped to return to their land to experience the kind of “messianic age” Isaiah and others had prophesied, but instead of a messiah they found mostly just messes.


As with most prophets, the core message of Haggai is to remember the past because it points to the future.  The exodus event is recalled, and the LORD promises similar restoration.  The people are called to remember, hope, and trust the God who had worked so powerfully in their past to be with them in the present and bring them to a wonderful future.


We understand that the ultimate restoration was put into full motion with the coming of the Messiah, Jesus, and our hope and confidence is that a complete, wonderful, and eternal restoration awaits us as children of God.  In the meantime, we seek to bring the truths of God’s kingdom to bear on this present age.  No matter how hard and confusing things may be or get, we remember the past because it points to the future… and brings peace and hope to the present.


With You in Him,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church
Wellington, Colorado

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."