Haggai 1:12–2:4 (NKJV)
12 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him; and the people feared the presence of the Lord. 13 Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, spoke the Lord’s message to the people, saying, “I am with you, says the Lord.” 14 So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, 15 on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month, in the second year of King Darius.
Haggai records the response of Israel and Judah to the command of God to repent, put God first, and rebuild His temple. Zerubbabel, a leader in Judah, has come back from exile to restore Jerusalem. In their perceived need to rebuild city walls and set up residences, they neglected the temple. God has instructed them to shift their priorities, and they responded.
2 In the seventh month, on the twenty-first of the month, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying: 2 “Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people, saying: 3 ‘Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? In comparison with it, is this not in your eyes as nothing? 4 Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ says the Lord; ‘and be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land,’ says the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ says the Lord of hosts.
Haggai further shares the word of the Lord with Zerubbabel and asks who remembers the former temple. This is to remind them of the glory of God’s house in its former state, and to give them a goal that will make them work harder, smarter, and stronger. He also promises to be with them during the process. This incentive and encouragement comes to us today in the form of God’s word and the Holy Spirit speaking to us as we follow Christ. When you are facing what seems to be an insurmountable task, here the words of the Lord to Haggai, and tackle it with confidence!