I will shake all the nations, and the treasures of all the nations will be brought to this Temple. I will fill this place with glory, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. The future glory of this Temple will be greater than its past glory, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. And in this place I will bring peace. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!”
Haggai 2:7-9 New Living Translation
Growing up a Packer fan in the 1970s and ’80s was challenging. We were constantly reminded of the glory days of the past when teams feared a trip to Lambeau Field and we racked up all those NFL Championships and Super Bowl wins. We lived in a time when we thought an 8-8 season was a pretty good year and we hoped that we may get lucky enough to see a team play in the wild card round every once in a while. When my father told people at boot camp in the 1960s that he was from Green Bay, they were excited because that was where the Packers came from. When I went to college twenty years later the fact I was from Green Bay bought expressions of sympathy and chuckles because that was where the Packers were from. Little did we know at that time that the Packers would again become a perennial contender for the Super Bowl.
The Israelites of Haggai’s time seemed to feel this weight of comparison as well. This portion of his prophecy seems to indicate that there were some who noticed how much smaller and more basic the Temple they were building was compared to the splendor of the great Temple that Solomon built. God again promised that He was with the Judeans in their work of rebuilding the Temple. He was again going to do something great in the world and shake the earth. He had access to all the gold and silver of the world and they could trust Him for provision of all they needed at the time it was needed. He promised that the treasures (literally desire) of all nations would be brought to this Temple. This Temple would see a greater glory than the Temple Solomon built.
About 500 years later, this Temple had been expanded by Herod the Great and was the Temple that stood in Jerusalem during the time of the Roman Empire. Rome’s network of roads through their empire would make it possible for many nations to travel through Jerusalem at that time. It was to this Temple that a young couple would bring their baby named Jesus to be dedicated before God. That baby would be the one that people from all nations would come to desire as God began to recreate the transcultural Kingdom that would draw all nations back to Himself. This is the Temple that would see the Messiah come to earth to open the way for God’s rule and reign to be realized on earth as it was in Heaven. The Temple built by Zerubbabel and the people of Haggai’s day would surely know a greater glory than the Temple they remembered from the past.
As we pursue the mission of God in our lives, we often experience times of discouragement. We may feel that our work pales in comparison to the work we see happening in other places in the world or at other times in history. It is in those times that God asks us to trust that He is still at work bringing about His Kingdom, which will be more glorious than anything we have known before.
God, thank You for Your promise that you are doing a great work, even when we don’t see it. Encourage us in the times when we are discouraged. Give us a vision of the final fulfillment of Your Kingdom coming with the return of Jesus.