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Daily Devotional: Tuesday 4th February

by William Moody

Haggai 1:1–3

The Command to Rebuild the Temple

1:1 In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came by the hand of Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest: “Thus says the LORD of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the LORD.” Then the word of the LORD came by the hand of Haggai the prophet,

(ESV)

Today we begin the book of Haggai and below is some history to help you.

Event Reference Date
The reign of David 2 Samuel 1011 – 971 BC
The reign of Solomon 1 Kings 1-11 971 – 931 BC
The kingdom is divided 1 Kings 12 931 BC
Northern Kingdom falls 2 Kings 17 722 BC
Fall of Jerusalem 2 Kings 25 586 BC
Exiles return with Zerubbabel Ezra 1 538 BC
Haggai’s First Message Haggai 1v1 1st day of 6th month (Aug. 29) 520 BC
Second Message Haggai 1v15 24th day of the 6th month (Sept. 21) 520 BC
Third Message Haggai 2 v1 21st day of 7th month (Oct. 17) 520 BC
Fourth Message Haggai 2 v10 24th day of 9th month (Dec. 18) 520 BC
Fifth Message Haggai 2 v20 24th day of 9th month (Dec. 18) 520 BC
Ezra arrives in Jerusalem Ezra 7 458 BC
Nehemiah arrives, walls rebuilt Nehemiah 2 v11 445 BC

Jewish tradition says that Haggai was a young priest that returned from Babylon. He was a contemporary of Zechariah. Haggai is mentioned in Ezra 5v1 & 6v14. Rebuilding the temple was one of the main reasons for the return from exile (see Ezra 1 v2-4). Among the 42,360 people who initially returned 5,700 were associated with the worship and upkeep of the temple. With great joy the rebuilding of the temple begun. (Ezra 3 v7-13)

The work faced opposition from the enemies of God’s people (Ezra 4 v1-5). During the reign of Artaxerxes the work was stopped after a letter from these opponents was sent to the king. (Ezra 4 v7-24) So 18 years after the exiles first returned the temple is still not rebuilt. The people had lost sight of why they were there. It’s not that the people would not rebuild the temple, but they said the time was not yet right.

It is to these reluctant builders that Haggai comes with a message from the Lord (v2-3). It came on the first day of the sixth month (Aug. 29), which was a new moon and therefore a feast day. The people would have been resting and had come to hear the prophet speak.

Are there excuses you make for either not starting or not continuing what God wants you to do? Pray about this.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.