The prophet Haggai delivers a sharp rebuke for the people who have returned from captivity. They started out with zeal for God and His ways but now have fallen into sinful patterns. It has been sixteen years since they returned and now their personal goals are hindering how God commanded them to worship Him. They were neglecting the temple and gratifying themselves.
The people who returned from captivity were distracted. They had little zeal to establish worship in the way that God had commanded. They were sluggish about rebuilding the temple and overly focused on their possessions and homes. Accordingly, Haggai preached sermons to shake the returnees out of their neglect. His message was that their priorities were off. He made it clear that neglecting the house of God always has consequences.
In Haggai, God is glorifying Himself through confronting the neglect of the temple, so that He might demonstrate His superior goodness in the salvation sinners, the damnation of the wicked, and for the preservation of His people for His eternal glory, and their eternal joy.
The author identifies himself as Haggai the prophet (Hag. 1:1).
Haggai preached his four sermons over the course of a four-month period, in the second year of Darius the Great’s reign (520 B.C.). He was a contemporary of Zechariah, Zerubbabel, and Jeshua.
“Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Consider your ways! Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,’ says the Lord. ‘You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house. Therefore the heavens above you withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit. For I called for a drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain and the new wine and the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.’ ”
“ ‘Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? In comparison with it, is this not in your eyes as nothing? Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ says the Lord; ‘and be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land,’ says the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ says the Lord of hosts.”
The Lord’s promise to make Zerubbabel like a signet ring is typological of Jesus Christ’s authority as King.
When did Haggai prophesy?
In the second year of King Darius.
What was distracting the people from rebuilding the house of the Lord?
Their own houses (Hag. 1:4, 9).
Why was God punishing the people economically?
Because no one was rebuilding the house of God (Hag. 1:6, 9).
How did the Lord awaken the people from their slumber?
Haggai preached a series of fiery sermons.
What did the Lord command the people of Israel to do?
To go up to the mountains, bring wood, and build the temple (Hag. 1:7–8).
Why did God bring a drought on the land?
Because no one was building God’s house (Hag. 1:9–11).
Whose hearts did the Lord stir up to resume rebuilding the temple?
Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, Joshua the son of Jehozadak, and all the remnant of the people (Hag. 1:14).
What did the Lord say about the glory of the latter temple?
“The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former” (Hag. 2:9).
Who did the Lord promise to make like a signet ring?
Zerubbabel (Hag. 2:23).