The people of Israel had returned to the land, after being in exile in Babylon, and yet they hadn’t set about the building the Temple. Cyrus had given them permission to return to Israel and rebuild the temple. But work had stopped after some opposition.
They hadn’t thrived or prospered. There had been a drought and lack of harvest. A prophet called Haggai was sent by God to speak to Zerubbabel, the governor. The response from him, the high priest Joshua, and the remnant of the people was good. They set about remedying the situation. The Lord stirred them up in their spirits and told them He was with them.
Now they were within God’s will. ‘Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, declares the LORD. Be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the LORD. Work, for I am with you, declares the LORD of hosts’ (Haggai 2:4). The Lord reminded them that He’s made a covenant with them when they escaped from slavery in Egypt and His Spirit was in their midst. His presence was with them.
The Lord said they would be a shaking of the nations and material wealth would come to them. God would fill the house with His glory. It would be even better than before in the previous temple. Then He gave them the beautiful promise of the gift of ‘shalom’, peace. “The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the LORD of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the LORD of hosts” (Haggai 2:9).
Perhaps this prophecy, given so long ago, has a present-day application to your own life. We may go through times of stirring up, when we are required to work hard, and all because of the Lord’s will and purposes in our life. We can then be assured that He will be with us, by His Holy Spirit. My husband and I have certainly been stirred up recently and given the incentive to move house from a quiet country area to the city of York.
The process of preparing our house to put it on the market and then waiting throughout the legal process of buying a new house and selling ours has taken almost five months. It has been hard work and now we’re in our new house the work hasn’t stopped. We have to unpack boxes and boxes and find somewhere to put everything. There have been things to repair, things to buy, and many decisions to make about practical matters. I’m looking forward to the day when we can say the Lord has given peace in this place, and I would like to name this house ‘Shalom’.
Prayer: Lord, in the midst of our business, we pray that You will be with us. Fill our house with Your glory and bring us Your ‘shalom’ peace, the peace that comes only from knowing You as our heavenly Father through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
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