The book of Zechariah is often viewed in three sections because of stylistic differences. The first includes Chapters 1-8, the second Chapters 9-11, and the third, Chapters12-14. The latter sections are thought to have been added to this book but not necessarily written by Zechariah. Don’t be surprised when we get to those later chapters and the style and focus changes a bit.
Like Haggai, Zechariah first speaks to the Israelites returning to Jerusalem from their exilic captivity. This was a chance for a new life, and God wanted to make sure they were secure in the hope that only he provides. Have you ever moved to a new city? You know the adjustment period can be challenging.
Continue reading “Zechariah 1:1-6 – Return to God”
It helps to understand a bit of what is happening in Zerubbabel’s back story. We know from reading Haggai that he was the governor of Judah after the people returned from exile in Babylon. What I didn’t remember was that he was the grandson of King Jehoiachin, a king in the line of David (see Jesus’ lineage in Matthew 1:12).
You may recall from my reflections on Jeremiah 22 and 2 Kings 24, that King Jehoiachin had fallen out of favor with God. Jehoiachin was taken captive to Babylon in the first deportation of God’s people and imprisoned. God had promised David in in 2 Samuel 7:12-16 that there would always be an heir on the throne. Fast forward to the Israelites’ return from exile, and the question is now, “what about Zerubbabel?”
Continue reading “Haggai 2:20-23 – Chosen by God”
The Book of Haggai gets specific with its dates more than most Bible prophets. If I were to receive a word from God to share with people like Haggai, I’d want to memorialize the encounter by keeping track of what date that miracle took place. Knowing the date confirms “when” God spoke and makes it easier to remember and celebrate! Like having a birthday – we intentionally celebrate that on a specific date.
God wants us to celebrate him so that he can celebrate us. This prophecy would suggest that God is looking at our actions as well as our inner souls. When is the last time you celebrated God? Maybe you can look back and see his fingerprints over a particular situation. I do that all the time and stand amazed.
Continue reading “Haggai 2:10-10 – Receive God’s Blessing”
I hadn’t thought about the fact that the people rebuilding the temple would probably have never seen the original one now in ruins. Would those memories have been kept alive in families living in exile? If there were any faithful ones still alive that had seen the glorious splendor of the original temple, Haggai’s words were a comfort for them. “My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So do not be afraid.”
How can human hands build a house worthy of the glory of God? A big project like building a temple for God may have seemed overwhelming. It certainly was the first time around for Solomon. You may recall Solomon’s father, King David had had the vision for a grand temple, but it was God’s plan that Solomon be the one in charge of its construction. We read about that in 1 Kings 8. Solomon’s prayer of dedication is beautiful.
Continue reading “Haggai 2:1-9 – God is With Us”
We’re given another exact date in our text, and it’s roughly three weeks after the one in our last reading. Even if it took a little time, I liked how the leaders paid attention to Haggai and didn’t ignore the message from God. I imagine they were delighted to hear God had not abandoned them. Even better, they had received clear instructions. After their time of deliberating, they got to work.
What do you think it was about that message in our last reading that really stirred them? Maybe it was those clear instructions! I always like when I get confirmation from God that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. Just as precious, when I get off course, I always appreciate the correction—but perhaps not right away.
Continue reading “Haggai 1:12-15 – Listen to God”