God outlines the problems of a sinful life and reminds his people that there is hope, and it is Jesus.
Haggai 2:15 – 23
15 “‘Now give careful thought to this from this day on—consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the Lord’s temple. 16 When anyone came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty. 17 I struck all the work of your hands with blight, mildew and hail, yet you did not return to me,’ declares the Lord. 18 ‘From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid. Give careful thought: 19 Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit.
“‘From this day on I will bless you.’”
20 The word of the Lord came to Haggai a second time on the twenty-fourth day of the month: 21 “Tell Zerubbabel governor of Judah that I am going to shake the heavens and the earth. 22 I will overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms. I will overthrow chariots and their drivers; horses and their riders will fall, each by the sword of his brother.
23 “‘On that day,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”
The Lord reminds his people how life had been for them. He essentially repeats the problems described in chapter 1. Their lives were filled with unfulfilled hopes, they were never satisfied and deeply frustrated people. It is the life of all people apart from a right relationship with God. This is especially so when people are expecting to have the hopes, joys and general blessings of life from any source apart from our gracious Lord.
He repeats another theme that had appeared earlier. He is going to “shake the heavens and the earth.” (verse21) He elaborates and says, “I will overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms. I will overthrow chariots and their drivers; horses and their riders will fall, each by the sword of his brother.” (verse22) Previously, it was noted that the shaking refers ultimately to the saving work of Jesus Christ. Through his life, death, and resurrection he has turned upside down the power structures of the world. Through him the weak, meek and the helpless will inherit the earth and not the powerful, aggressive and self-confident. The detail of this description of the time of shaking resembles not just a military victory but also a coming judgement from God. This fits completely with Jesus saving work. Jesus dying on the cross was the Day of Judgement for his people. The wrath of God for our sin was poured out on him. For those of us who believe in him it is not bad news but glorious good news.
The Lord then has his prophet change the focus to Zerubbabel. What is important about him? He was a direct descendant of King David so he was one who would be king if Israel’s monarchy still held power. He was also an ancestor of the Lord Jesus, the true King of Israel. Attention is drawn to him because he was, for that time, the one who represented the coming Messiah for his generation.
As this foreshadowing of the Lord Jesus, it is interesting how he is described. In verse 23 he is described as God’s servant, God’s signet ring and God’s chosen one. Each of these terms is, in an absolute sense a description of Jesus. He is the Servant of the Lord who was so vividly described in Isaiah 53 as laying down his life as a substitute for his people. Jesus is never literally described as God’s signet ring, but it is a symbol of “God’s authority” which is exactly what Jesus showed he possessed throughout his ministry. He taught with authority and displayed his divine authority over sickness, evil spirits, wind and waves, and even death. Before ascending to heaven, he declared “all authority in heaven and earth has been given to me.” Jesus was and remains the Lord’s chosen one to bring salvation for his people.
The Lord then, through Haggai, promises judgement to a fallen world but presents the one hope of Jesus Christ, the servant with all authority who was chosen to bear the judgement of his people.
Head: Seek to understand the picture of Jesus provided here centuries before he came into the world.
Heart and Hands: Seek to love and serve the Lord who loved and served you.
Prayer: Father, thank you for your plan of salvation, foreshadowed through the Old Testament, and then fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Please help us to live under the authority of King Jesus so that we might love and serve you always. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
A song to listen to: You Are My King (Amazing Love)
Living Church – Creek Road