Haggai reveals God's displeasure in the people's 15 year period of disobedience (Haggai 1:4). Once again the Lord commands, through Haggai, that the people get to work on the temple (Haggai 1:8). Haggai calls upon the people in Jerusalem to reason with God. Haggai asks them to consider why they are in the current distress of drought (Haggai 1:11), little harvest (Haggai 2:16), mildew and hail (Haggai 2:17). Why all the distress? "Because of my house that lies waste, while you run every man to his own house" (Haggai 1:9). The sovereign God of creation has called upon nature to correct his people. Throughout the scriptures we learn that God created this world to follow his laws and regulations. Those who refuse obedience always suffer consequences (see Psalm 32:4-5 and Hebrews 12:5-13).
After Haggai's "stirring" words (see Haggai 1:14) the Jews "consided' these things and respond with obedience and fear (Haggai 1:12). The people begin working 24 days after Haggai delivers the first oracle (Haggai 1:15). The great lesson learned is that God's blessings are contingent upon Israel's obedience (compare Haggai 1:7-9 with Haggai 2:19). When God promised to bless all nations through his Son Jesus he intended for man to do their part to be saved. The scriptures are replete with examples of people only receiving the blessings of God if they comply with his laws (Isaiah 54:3; Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Acts 13:33-39) (# Grace and Obedience). Noah (Genesis 6:8-22 and Hebrews 11:17), Abraham (Hebrews 11:8), Joshua (Joshua 6:1-5 and Hebrews 11:30), Namaan (2 Kings 5), The blind man of John 9:7, and three thousand people in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:37-44) all received God's gracious promises by complying with his commandments. Likewise, the people of Judah would only receive God's blessings of rain and crops if they obeyed his commandment to build the temple.
Haggai delivers his second revelation to the people of Jerusalem three and a half weeks after the people begin working on the temple. Once again discouragement settled in among the builders. This time it was not the Samaritans but rather their view of the current temple. Ezra tells us that after the foundation was laid many mourned due to the little stature of the temple in comparison to Solomon's (Ezra 3:12 and Haggai 2:3). Haggai encourages the people by telling them to be strong because God is with them in their efforts (Haggai 2:4). While the Samaritans and discouragement weakened them God commands them to be strong (see Ezra 4:45, 24). There is no time or place for weakness that leads to disobedience through neglect, apathy, or lethargic disinterest. God accepts no excuses. His divine expectations for his people are that they be strong and work. He equips us (Ephesians 6:10ff and 1 Peter 4:11).
Haggai delivers the third revelation to the people of Jerusalem three months after the work on the temple had started. Though the people had obeyed through fear (Haggai 1:12) and begun to rebuild the temple (Haggai 1:14) they were still considered " unclean" (Haggai 2:14). Haggai calls upon the people to consider their sinful ways and turn to God that they may receive the blessings of Jehovah (Haggai 2:15-18). The book of Zechariah will bear out the fact that even though they began to build the temple God's blessings continued to be withheld from them due to their disobedience (Zechariah 8:9-13). The lesson to be learned is that God expects his people to be holy and perfect as he is holy and perfect (see Matthew 5:48; 1 Peter 1:15-17 and 1 John 4:17).
Haggai delivers this last oracle the same day that he received and delivered the third (i.e., three months after the work of the temple had begun). Zerubbabel is told that the Lord has chosen him to bring about his anointed one. Through Christ all eternal blessings will be found to those who turn their hearts to him. Haggai's prophetic solution to all the returnees' issues, and man's today, is Jesus Christ. Christ will strengthen our hands with his promises of forgiveness and blood that was shed for our redemption (see Ephesians 1:7). The Apostle Paul said, "l can do all things through him (Christ) that strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13). The Christian's strength comes from the confidence that God will fulfill all his promises. Motivation to live holy and perfectly in line with God's laws is discovered in the promises of God. Haggai knew this and so he preached.