In the seventh month, in the one and twentieth day of the month, came the word of the LORD by the prophet Haggai, saying,
I. Jesus was the Desire of all nations—(1) as the Kinsman of the whole human family; (2) because He only could bestow those precious blessings which the world needed; (3) because all nations shall one day be made happy in Him.
II. He appeared—(1) at the very period marked out for His birth; (2) in the very manner which had been foretold; (3) for the performance of the very work which had been before marked out for Him.
III. The prophet Haggai mentions certain remarkable events which should distinguish the Messiah's coming—(1) all nations were to be shaken; (2) the Jewish Temple should be filled with His glory.
J. N. Norton, Old Paths, p. 11.
I. Once Christ was the Desire of all nations, even though when He came unto His own His own received Him not, and was in very truth despised and rejected of men. Nevertheless, of this there can be no doubt, that the world, by woful experience, had learned its need, had found out its want of a Saviour. His first coming was looked to with desire. Let us ask our consciences whether we look to His second coming with anything but dismay and dread. It took four thousand years to make men feel their want of a Saviour; it has taken but half that time to make one moiety of those who, nevertheless, call themselves by His name, to live in practical unbelief; and the other moiety to regard His second coming with terror, and not with joy.
II. What made Him the Desire of all nations? It was this, they wanted some hope, some refuge beyond this miserable world. Their present was dark; their future was darker still. The pleasures of sin for a season—that made up their life. And death was unredeemed with one single ray of brightness. Remorse they might know; despair might haunt them: but of the peace and consolations of a faithful follower of Jesus they had never tasted. No wonder that a Saviour from themselves, and from sin and death, was the "Desire of all nations."
III. Ours is the last twilight of the world. Ages ago we were warned that we were in the last times, and so we are brought to the thought of that second coming of Him who, at His first coming, was the Desire of all nations. To that we must look; for the signs of that coming we must watch. Are we preparing for it? Are we trying at least to desire our Lord's return? It is only in the way of watchfulness and prayer that this desire can be attained.
E. W. Paget, Helps and Hindrances to the Christian Life, vol. i., p. 1.
I. There is a Desire of all nations; something all human beings are vaguely longing for which would put them right. Many of them do not know it, but it is Jesus Christ. Every human being that ever lived, who felt that this world would not do, and that he must have more to satisfy and give rest, was blindly desiring Christ, was stretching vague hands through the darkness after Him. In old phrase which use has emptied of all real meaning to many of us, He is the satisfying portion of the soul.
II. It is a great thing, if a sorrowful too, about the human heart, that it cannot be satisfied. It marks our Divine original, that we never can for long enjoy the real satisfiedness of ruminating cattle, that have got all they want. What all men seek—unawares seek—is Christ. The happy days that do not come, the quiet content that surely will be reached at last—all are in Him, and in the life and the home to which He would lead us if we would but go.
A. K. H. B., From a Quiet Place, p. 131.
References: Haggai 2:7.—E. Dukes, Christian World Pulpit, vol. vi., p. 248; Preacher's Monthly, vol. ii., p. 357, vol. iv., p. 312; G. Huntington, Sermons for the Holy Seasons of the Church, p. 1; G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 408. Haggai 2:8, Haggai 2:9.—J. C. Hare, Sermons in Herstmonceux Church, vol. ii., p. 101. Haggai 2:11-14.—Ibid., p. 123. Haggai 2:13, Haggai 2:14.—Spurgeon, My Sermon Notes: Ecclesiastes to Malachi, p. 362. Haggai 2:17.—Ibid., Evening by Evening, p. 218. Haggai 2:19.—A. Scott, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xvi., p. 268. Haggai 2:20-23.—J. C. Hare, Sermons in Herstmonceux Church, vol. ii., p. 143.
Haggai 2:9I. These words refer to the first and the second temple at Jerusalem. The first temple was burnt by the Chaldees, and the wall of Jerusalem was broken down, and the people carried captive to Babylon, and it was more than fifty years after that the foundation of the second house was laid. It was an occasion to stir up mixed feelings among the people. The glory of their nation had passed away. They came back as exiles, by the permission of a foreign power, to the land that their fathers had conquered. Hope and recollection struggled against each other, when they dwelt by turns on the state from which they had been cast down, and on their hopes of restoration. Jehovah would not manifest Himself in the same degree as He had before to a people who were suffering the punishment of their backslidings; and the house they had built Him was but a poor copy of the temple that had perished. Yet Haggai promised that this second temple in its poverty should be more glorious than the first, because the desire of all nations, even Christ Himself, should come to it, and the Lord of hosts should fill it with glory.
II. This teaches us that it is not the house, but the presence that sanctifies the house, that constitutes its glory. It rests with us to hinder or help the work of God according as we seek God here in earnest, or let our hearts go after covetousness.
Archbishop Thomson, Lincoln's Inn Sermons, p. 390.
Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and to the residue of the people, saying,
Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?
Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts:
According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not.
For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land;
And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.
The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts.
The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.
In the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying,
Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying,
If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No.
Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean.
Then answered Haggai, and said, So is this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the LORD; and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean.
And now, I pray you, consider from this day and upward, from before a stone was laid upon a stone in the temple of the LORD:
Since those days were, when one came to an heap of twenty measures, there were but ten: when one came to the pressfat for to draw out fifty vessels out of the press, there were but twenty.
I smote you with blasting and with mildew and with hail in all the labours of your hands; yet ye turned not to me, saith the LORD.
Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the LORD'S temple was laid, consider it.
Is the seed yet in the barn? yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day will I bless you.
And again the word of the LORD came unto Haggai in the four and twentieth day of the month, saying,
Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth;
And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother.
In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts.