Haggai challenges Israel after the exile to remain faithful to their God and rebuild the temple.
The people of Israel were conquered by Babylon because they broke their covenant with God through idolatry and injustice. The book of Haggai was written 70 years after the exile and recounts the experience of a small group of Israelites, led by Joshua and Zerubbabel, who returned to rebuild Jerusalem.
Remember the covenant
Haggai challenges the returning exiles to remember their covenant, remain faithful to God, and build the temple before constructing their own homes. While the new temple didn't meet their expectations, their efforts and faithfulness will be blessed. Haggai also encourages the people with God's promise to build a new Jerusalem for his international Kingdom, defeat evil, and live in their midst. Future prophetic books contain more details about when these promises would be fulfilled.
The book of Haggai reminds the once-exiled people to give God their primary allegiance and not rebel against the covenant like their ancestors.
The people felt discouraged because their temple looked unimpressive, but Haggai reminded them to keep working and hope in God's promise of a new Jerusalem.
New Covenant Call
Like ritual purity in Leviticus, the current Jerusalem inhabitants must humble themselves and reject injustice and apathy.
Haggai challenged the exiled generation as Moses challenged the wilderness generation. They can choose a different future, one of obedience and covenant faithfulness.
Hope in God's Kingdom
God will fulfill his promise to establish a new Jerusalem, the center of his international Kingdom, and he will defeat evil from among the nations.
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