Prepare to Listen. Thus says the LORD, the LORD of hosts.
Prayerfully Read Haggai 2:6-9
6For thus says the LORD of hosts: Once again, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land; 7and I will shake all the nations, so that the treasure of all nations shall come, and I will fill this house with splendour, says the LORD of hosts. 8The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the LORD of hosts. 9The latter splendour of this house shall be greater than the former, says the LORD of hosts; and in this place I will give prosperity, says the LORD of hosts.
Prosperity has to do with shalom
Israel’s homecoming, after decades of exile in Babylon, wasn’t easy. Everything, including the Temple (symbol of God’s presence) remained in the ruins left by Babylon. They presumed their initial priority was to strengthen the defenses of Jerusalem against potential attacks and rebuild houses for the safety of their families. But, and here’s the surprising thing, the prophet Haggai denounced both tasks, demanding they begin instead with rebuilding the Temple. Safety lay, not in the ability to defend themselves from enemies, but in the presence of the LORD, trusting, “here is our God.”
Thus it’s not surprising that the promises in these verses relate to the temple and not to protection from an enemy. The LORD of hosts promised, “I will fill this house with splendor.” Five times Haggai calls Yahweh, the LORD of hosts. In essence it means, as Joyce Baldwin states, “the source of all power, the controller of armies, on earth and in heaven.” And God will shake the heavens, the earth, all nations, so that the best from all nations pours into God’s Temple. Brueggemann suggests that shake “refers to an immense upheaval” one that will benefit Jerusalem and the Temple because the Temple was treasured by God.
We live today with very different vulnerabilities, and, like Israel, we’re tempted to protect our cities, our homes, our families, make our country safe again. Haggai’s surprising message encourages us to prioritize creating space for God’s presence, allowing God’s splendor to shine through us.
What surprised you as you read these words from Haggai? Notice and reflect on the frequency of the phrase: the LORD of Hosts.
Lord of Hosts, give me the courage to focus on the splendor of your presence that I may experience it, trusting you to protect me from all change and uncertainty in the world today. Amen.
Live obediently. Trust the power and splendor of the LORD of Hosts.
 Baldwin, Joyce. Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi: An introduction and commentary. IL: Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press 1972, p. 32.
 Brueggemann, W. An Introduction to the Old Testament. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003, p. 249.