Solomon’s temple must have been an amazing sight to behold. It stood for hundreds of years, a symbol of God’s presence with His people. According to 1 Kings 6:15ff, the entire inside, from floor to ceiling, was panelled with wood: cedar for the walls and ceilings, and cypress for the floors. The Most Holy Place in the temple was panelled floor to ceiling with cedar. And everything was covered in gold! There was an opulence and grandeur about the whole thing.
When the temple was dedicated, Gods glory filled it. The people knew that God was in their midst.
By the time of Haggai, a lot of time had passed since Solomon had built the temple. About 70 years before Haggai started speaking, the king of Babylon had attacked Jerusalem and utterly destroyed the temple. People were led away into exile. None of which, let it be said, should have been unexpected. God had long warned His people about the consequences of their refusal to follow Him. The exile was a time of discipline, and God had always intended to bring a remnant back to the promised land. His plan to save and restore and bless the whole world was still on track.
Upon their return, the exiled remnant started rebuilding the temple. But there was plenty of opposition, and for 20 years, the job languished. Then, as we saw last week, God raised up prophets, like Haggai, to call His people to start putting Him first, and to rebuild the temple. Which they did. Their enthusiasm was sparked, and work commenced.
But, as we shall see in this weeks passage, it wasn’t long until a sense of disillusionment started to settle over the people like a fog. They were rebuilding the temple of God but it seemed so unimpressive. Perhaps there were one or two older people there who had seen the original before its destruction. They would all, at least, have heard the stories about its grandeur.
How, they must have wondered, could they compete with that? They were starting to lose their courage. Why bother making something when it wasn’t good
enough? But God’s people had forgotten two very important things: this
wasn’t just a human endeavour, and they weren’t alone. God was with them, and God had big plans, and the capacity to see them fulfilled.
But what does this passage have to say to us today? Can we also get disillusioned in regards to the things we are doing with God? Why do we get like that, and
what is the solution?
Today’s text: Haggai 2:1-9
To discuss: Have you ever felt like your work, or the church, just isn’t good enough for God? Why? What difference does looking forward with God make?