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Devotion by John Piper
“Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I am about to shake the heavens and the earth, and to overthrow the throne of kingdoms. I am about to destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations, and overthrow the chariots and their riders. And the horses and their riders shall go down, every one by the sword of his brother. On that day, declares the LORD of hosts, I will take you, O Zerubbabel my servant, the son of Shealtiel, declares the LORD, and make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you, declares the LORD of hosts.” Haggai 2:20-23
At the end of this minor prophet, Haggai gives a prophecy that would be fulfilled in the future. How was this prophecy fulfilled? Like most prophecies, it was fulfilled in stages, and the final fulfillment is yet to come. By the time Christ had begun his ministry, Herod had rebuilt Zerubbabel’s temple so that it was truly magnificent. The temple was destroyed in AD 70, but Jesus had said in John 2:19, 20, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up . . . But he spoke of the temple of his body.” Jesus said there is a direct continuity between the Old Testament temple and himself: once God met his people in the temple, now God meets us in Jesus Christ. The final state of eternity is described in Revelation 21:22. When the new Jerusalem descends, John says, “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.”
The point is this: God had a purpose for a temple. The Jews of Haggai’s day could not see it all, and what they could see seemed so paltry. So God came to them with a word of promise: Take courage. You build more than you see. The heavens and the earth and sea and land and all treasures are mine. I will take the fruit of your little labor and make it glorious beyond measure, no matter how trivial and paltry it may seem to you now.
There is a principle here that applies to you and me: God takes small, imperfect things and builds them into a habitation for his glory. Nothing you do is a trifle if you do it in the name of God. He will shake heaven and earth to fill your labor with splendor. Take courage, you build more than you see.