Recently a dear friend of mind pointed out to me a passage that I don’t think I had ever really paid much attention to before. It’s from the inconspicuous book of Haggai so I guess that explains why I have always just glanced over it and missed the richness that can be found in these verses.
In this very short book, the Lord calls His people to build a temple for Him again and relays the message through His prophet Haggai. At this point, the Israelites have been in captivity for many years and God’s beautiful temple built by King Solomon has long been destroyed. In the process of rebuilding this temple, God’s people cry out to Him claiming that it will never be as glorious or as brilliant as the first one. They become very discouraged and do not even want to continue to work on it if it will not surpass or even match what they have pictured the Lord’s temple to be like. Yet, God hears His people and makes a profound and incredible promise: “‘I will fill this house with glory….The glory of this present house will be greater that the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” The amount of hope that fills this verse is still so applicable to our lives today. These verses also remind me of John 2, when Jesus clears the temple of the shops that had been put up around it. Jesus again promises His people here that He will raise up His temple and make everything pure once again.
This passage gives us a clear picture and encouragement that God is what makes our lives beautiful. Because of our fallen nature, we will never be the perfect and complete beings that we often expect and hope to be. I think this a special encouragement to a parent or family member of an individual with a disability. We often build up grand and wonderful plans for our loved ones that can seem to come crashing down when a diagnosis is made or a tragedy occurs. However, God has so much bigger and better plans for us. He promises to work through each and every one of us by letting His glory shine to make us brilliant. We could never imagine the more perfect plans that our Savior has for each and every one of us. And He will bring everything to completion once again by shining through His people.
In addition to providing great and lasting encouragement, I believe the book of Haggai is also calling us to perseverance. We often experience times in our lives that seem to be never-ending. Children struggle for years learning how to walk, much less scoot themselves across the floor. The brokenness in our families and maybe even our marriage seems to just continue to increase everyday. A teenager with muscular dystrophy is moved into a wheelchair as he is continuing to lose strength in his body. Sometimes our paths in life can seem daunting and the progress appears to be missing. I have yet to face the hardships that so many have and are still going through, especially in regards to having a family member touched by disability. However, in Haggai, God is calling us to continue on and “fear not.” He promises His people that He is never leaving us: “‘Be strong…and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty.’” Let us be like the humble Israelites who turned to their Great Lord and finished the work of building His kingdom with the knowledge that He would make everything beautiful by His own Glory. This encouragement should drive us forward and give us the hope that God will redeem His children infinitely more than we could ever imagine.
“Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds.
Praise be to His glorious name forever;
May the whole earth be filled with His glory.”