Come Follow Me: Haggai; Zechariah 1–3; 7–14
After decades of captivity, a group of Israelites, probably including the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, were allowed to return to Jerusalem. Some in this group remembered what Jerusalem looked like before it was destroyed. Imagine their feelings as they saw the rubble that had once been their homes, their places of worship, and their temple. To those who wondered whether the temple would ever again resemble the Lord’s “house in her first glory” (Haggai 2:3), the prophet Haggai spoke the Lord’s words of encouragement: “Be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work: for I am with you, … fear ye not.” “I will fill this house with glory, … and in this place will I give peace.” (Haggai 2:4–5, 7, 9.)
But it wasn’t just the holy temple that needed rebuilding. In many ways, God’s people were spiritually in ruins. And rebuilding a holy people takes more than hewing stones and aligning them to build a temple wall. Today, temples bear the inscription “Holiness to the Lord,” and those words apply not just to a building but to a way of life. Engraving these words on “the bells of the horses” and “every pot in Jerusalem” (Zechariah 14:20–21) is helpful only if they are also engraved on every heart. True holiness requires that the Lord’s words and laws “take hold” (Zechariah 1:6) in us, allowing His power to change our natures so that we become holy like Him (see Leviticus 19:2).