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 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?”
In this prophecy, the LORD spoke of a day when he would “shake” things up. Zerubbabel may have wondered what his fate would be when that happened. Especially if he thought that day was coming soon. But Haggai had a special message from God for Zerubbabel. “I will make you like a signet ring on my finger, says the Lord, for I have chosen you. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!”
This text is so much richer than I first imagined. God was showing us that Zerubbabel had been chosen. Zerubbabel would restore the lineage of the Davidic reign after his grandfather had been rejected by God. Jeremiah had spoken God’s message earlier to Jehoiachin, “As surely as I live,” says the Lord, “I will abandon you, Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah. Even if you were the signet ring on my right hand, I would pull you off.”
We don’t use signet rings much these days. But their use has a long history. A signet ring would be an authoritative show of approval, a seal to a deal, so to speak. It would represent one’s signature on a document. For God to declare one to be a signet ring would be very significant. Zerubbabel must have felt honored, don’t you think?
The time Haggai speaks of is the coming kingdom of God. The promise made to David will be kept because God always keeps his promises. Jesus was the coming king who took the reins from Zerubbabel. Jesus revealed the kingdom of God to the people, and we are blessed to be included in that same kingdom through faith in him.
God has chosen you, too. You are reading his word, challenging yourself to listen for God’s voice, and waiting with patient expectation for God to move. There are always things happening in our lives that give us pause to wait for God. If we aren’t waiting for God, then we’re forging ahead on our own power when we don’t have to. God’s ways are always perfect.
What a powerful way for the book of Haggai to conclude! We are still looking forward to the final fulfillment when Jesus returns. Reflect today on how it feels to be “chosen” and loved by God as much as you are.
Let’s pray. LORD, your ways are so much better than mine. Thank you for choosing me to live in your kingdom. Help me to do a better job at listening and waiting. I look forward to seeing how you move in each area of my life. Seeing your power at work is always a privilege. In Jesus’ name. Amen.