Haggai's Fourth Message

Ring Power over the world
Days of adversity cloud their view of a bright future. Discouragement rules the day and anxiety fills the night. Haggai’s fourth message (2:20-23) focuses on two aspects of the future: The Lord will bring about cataclysmic disruption of gentile nations and kingdoms. And, the Lord will restore the Davidic line through a descendant of Zerubbabel.

The Lord gives five “I will” statements regarding human history in the distance:
• “I will shake the heavens and the earth.”
• “I will shatter foreign kingdoms.”
• “I will overthrow chariots, horses and riders.”
• “I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel”
• “I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you.”

We have the benefit of the New Testament explaining these happenings. The book of Revelation tells us that a worldwide judgment will occur, unparalleled in times past. We also find Zerubbabel’s name listed in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:12).

Why is Haggai’s fourth message addressed only to Zerubbabel? Why does he need to know about a descendant coming in 500 years? We find the answer in Jeremiah 22:24-30. Zerubbabel’s grandfather was King Jehoiachin (also called Jeconiah). He was a wicked king and God pronounced a curse on him:

“As surely as I live,” declares the Lord, “even if you, Jehoiachin … were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still pull you off. I will hand you over to those who seek your life…I will hurl you into another country and there you will die…Record this man as if childless, a man who will not prosper in his lifetime, for none of his offspring will prosper, none will sit on the throne of David or rule anymore in Judah.” Jeremiah 22:24-30

As one of Jehoiachin’s descendants, how would Zerubbabel view this curse? What about his labor for the Lord and his contribution to the temple? Was he the cause of this slow start? Was he somehow responsible for the uninspiring temple? Was he destined for failure through no fault of his own?

With the Lord’s words to Zerubbabel, he reverses the curse spoken decades earlier about his grandfather and his offspring.

The Lord tells Zerubbabel that “on that day” indicating a future time, “you will be like my signet ring, for I have chosen you.” Haggai 2:23

A signet ring was the king’s seal of authority and ownership, used to seal letters and decrees. The succession of Davidic rulers, interrupted during the exile, now resumes with Zerubbabel, and continues until Jesus arrives on the scene. Although Zerubbabel won’t live to see this fulfillment, the Lord reassures him of his value, significance and untarnished legacy.

The Lord’s tenderness here reaches out to all of us. His concern wasn’t just about the Temple, as important as that was. And it wasn’t just about his people as a whole. The Lord sent a message to one person, Zerubbabel, who was carrying the weight of this rebuilding project.

When the task overwhelms us, when we feel our service is unnoticed by the Lord, when we can’t see how our part makes a difference, remember Zerubbabel.

Press on, servants of the Lord. He has not forgotten you.

7 comments to Haggai’s Fourth Message

  • Amy Calvetti

    I know it’s hard to remember God is near when we are overwhelmed with life. Last month my husband hurt his knee. It got so bad he could barely walk with crutches. Suddenly I’m doing everything: working 40 hours, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, mowing & watering the new grass, taking time off work for doctor appointments, taking care of a sick dog and injured husband. To top it off a week later I get news my mom is having surgery again to replace the new pacemaker due to infection. Talk about feeling overwhelmed!

    Those few weeks were so stressful and exhausting. I wanted to split in two so I could be with my husband and mom. I kept praying to God I would keep trusting him. He was faithful. My husband’s knee is slowly getting better without surgery, and mom is doing better too.

    Thankfully some of my memory verses would come to the rescue to help keep that overwhelming feeling at bay. Thank you God for being faithful.

  • Carmen Cole

    What a blessed message of hope. We know God has His eyes on His people, but we have to remember that He also has His eyes on us as individuals. He knows what we go through and helps us through. Thank you so much for reminding me of this!

  • Chérie

    Amy! If there is anyone who gets “overwhelmed” it’s me. I’m so glad things are turning around for you and your family.

    Janet! You know I love nothing more than a Bible Study that includes the history to help me understand it better. Thank you so much.

    • You are welcome. I learned a ton myself, and through memorizing Haggai I will never forget it. It’s now in my brain’s library, as my friend Chris says.

  • Thank you Janet, for the encouragement and powerful teaching from God’s Word, prayers for Amy and Cherie.