(Fourth in a 52 part introspective devotional series, weekly more or less, based on the Scriptures that inspired George Federick Handel to write The Messiah.)
[see the entire series here]
For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts. Haggai 2:6-7
The prophet Haggai is addressing the returned remnant as they rebuild the temple. In reading chapter one it seems the people have lost focus and have accepted mediocrity as the norm. Of course this does not set well with God and hence a rebuke is given and then the awesome words of the text here as an encouragement.
I wonder though. I get a sense that even though God wants the temple built, He seems to be using the moment to make a point that gets missed. David wanted to build a temple claiming that since he lived in a house of cedar that God deserved better (2 Samuel 7:2). In fact, God tells the prophet Nathan that He never wanted a permanent dwelling. He had plans for Israel that would surpass their design (2 Samuel 7:8-10).
Curiously, God goes on to say,
even from the day that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. The LORD also declares to you that the LORD will make a house for you. When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 2 Samuel 7:11-13
And yet, Solomon was allowed to build the temple. And the people worshiped there. And the people soon forgot the meaning of the trappings and dimensions that matched those of the tabernacle of Israel’s pre-Solomonic Kingships (Exodus 25-27 and 1 Kings 7:15-22). In forgetting the true worship of God they were led away into captivity where they would have no temple. Even then, as the book of Daniel attests, some worshipped God despite the lack of trappings and looked forward to the completion of God’s promises to Isaiah et al.
Being allowed to rebuild a structure that God clearly did not view as what He had in mind for His worship, the people just did not have a heart for what God truly wanted. Hence, the words here from Haggai serve to drive home what God told Nathan to communicate to David.
The house was going to be built by God (Matthew 16:18). Jesus even told the people in John 2:19 , “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” He was speaking of Himself. In the bodily form God had assumed He drew the nations to Him, shook the earth, and manifested His glory far greater than the earthly temple of the Israelites or the Herodians.
Help me to look beyond the mere trappings of earthly temples. Help me to be drawn to the only house You desire us to worship in — Your Son, Jesus Christ. Gather us in that Temple, in which the Prince of Peace reigns. In the Name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.