Have you ever felt discouraged because your appointed task feels insignificant in God’s kingdom? You work and work, but everything you do seems to stay in the shadows. Like, why does everyone else get the jobs that seem to reward immediately after completion?
That’s how the people of God felt after seventy years in exile. After so much suffering, they finally returned home. The city looked like it had been burglarized and the temple was destroyed. Instead of a beaming city surrounded by sounds of music that echoed off of the protecting walls and the families that gave it life, they had tarnished dreams, crumbled expectations, and aching loneliness. How could they ever recover the splendor of the former Jerusalem; their home? How could they ever rebuild the temple, the very “House of God”?
The place where they had once experienced God’s glory had turn to dust and ashes. Their hearts were weighed down with hopelessness. Why should they get down to business and rebuild the temple if they’d never be able to recover the glory of the former building?
Many years have passed since the day of Haggai, but the same struggle that existed in the hearts of God’s people then often burdens your heart and mine now. We dont have to go into exile to run the risk of forgetting who we are. Discouragement happens to all of us. When we look around and see only rubble, sin, and insufficiency, we feel overwhelmed and wonder whether or small labors will bear fruit some day.
It’s exactly in those conditions that God some through the prophet Haggai.
“The final glory of this house will be greater than the first,” says the Lord of Armies, “I will provide peace in this place – this is a declaration of the Lord of Armies.” Haggai 2:9
These words were a foreshadowing of the words of our savior: “Jesus answered, ‘Destroy this temple, and I will raise it up in three days” (John 2:19-22)
The day Christ rose from the dead, our temple was rebuilt forever. Hallelujah! As the Hebrews placed their hope in a future building, today we find hope in our Living Temple. Our salvation rests on the Cornerstone (Ps. 118:22). Christ’s work accomplished it all. He alone gives our kingdom work eternal value. All glory and thanks be to Him!