In the seventh month, on the twenty-first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet: “Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to all the remnant of the people, and say, ‘Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Is it not as nothing in your eyes? 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, according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not. For thus says the Lord of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts. 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 2:1-9 ESV
And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord,
to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord,
and to be his servants,
everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it,
and holds fast my covenant—
these I will bring to my holy mountain,
and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer
for all peoples.”
The Lord God,
who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares,
“I will gather yet others to him
besides those already gathered.” Isaiah 56:6-8 ESV
In the eastern, original parts of the United States, there are a number of houses that have the claim, “George Washington slept here.” That means the the first president of the United States, in many cases while he was leading the American troops in the Revolutionary War, spent some time living in these houses. One of these houses is called the Timothy Ball house in New Jersey. It’s a farmhouse with clapboard siding as well as brick walls, and a brick chimney. It’s not a very fancy house or a mansion or a palace, but it’s an important place because of the person who lived there for awhile. Because George Washington stayed in the Timothy Ball house, it’s a piece of history. Its owners are very proud that the first president of the United States once stayed in their home, and they like to tell other people about it.
When the people of Judah began rebuilding their temple, the older people who had seen the first temple couldn’t help but feel sad. They remembered the glory and splendor of Solomon’s temple, and the new temple they were building wouldn’t be nearly as glorious. They didn’t have all the gold and silver Solomon had used when he built his temple, so the new temple looked very pitiful and ordinary next to their memories of the old temple. But God spoke to the prophet Haggai and said that the glory of the second temple would be greater than the glory of the first temple. The people might have thought this meant that someday they would get the gold and silver to make the second temple more beautiful, but the Lord had something different in mind. The new temple would be more glorious because of the person who would come to it. The promised Savior, Jesus, would come to this new temple someday. He would be in the temple teaching the people, and many people would hear the God’s word because of him. Haggai also said that the Lord would shake the nations, and that they would bring their gold and silver to the temple. This is a picture of the time when people from all nations would come to know Jesus as their Savior, and bring all their best to him and to his people.
The second temple was destroyed long ago, but the glory that God showed us in Jesus lasts forever. Jesus came to his people to bring them back to God, and he died and rose again so that everyone from all over the world could have their sins forgiven and become part of God’s people. We are happy to be included among the people who belong to God, and he helps us bring our best to him. Our hearts and our lives are more precious to the Lord than all the silver and gold in the world, and we are happy that we belong to the Lord and will live forever with him in his heavenly kingdom.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for bringing the glory of Jesus, your promised Savior, to the world, and for bringing people from all over the world to Jesus. In His Name, Amen.