On the first day of the sixth month of the second year in the reign of King Darius of Persia, God's Message was delivered by the prophet Haggai to the governor of Judah, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, and to the high priest, Joshua son of Jehozadak:
A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies: "The people procrastinate. They say this isn't the right time to rebuild my Temple, the Temple of God."
Shortly after that, God said more and Haggai spoke it:
"How is it that it's the 'right time' for you to live in your fine new homes while the Home, God's Temple, is in ruins?"
And then a little later, God-of-the-Angel-Armies spoke out again: "Take a good, hard look at your life. Think it over.
You have spent a lot of money, but you haven't much to show for it. You keep filling your plates, but you never get filled up. You keep drinking and drinking and drinking, but you're always thirsty. You put on layer after layer of clothes, but you can't get warm. And the people who work for you, what are they getting out of it? Not much - a leaky, rusted-out bucket, that's what.
That's why God-of-the-Angel-Armies said: "Take a good, hard look at your life. Think it over."
Then God said: "Here's what I want you to do: Climb into the hills and cut some timber. Bring it down and rebuild the Temple. Do it just for me. Honor me.
You've had great ambitions for yourselves, but nothing has come of it. The little you have brought to my Temple I've blown away - there was nothing to it.
hat's why. Because of your stinginess. And so I've given you a dry summer and a skimpy crop.
I've matched your tight-fisted stinginess by decreeing a season of drought, drying up fields and hills, withering gardens and orchards, stunting vegetables and fruit. Nothing - not man or woman, not animal or crop - is going to thrive."
Then the governor, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, and the high priest, Joshua son of Jehozadak, and all the people with them listened, really listened, to the voice of their God. When God sent the prophet Haggai to them, they paid attention to him. In listening to Haggai, they honored God.
Then Haggai, God's messenger, preached God's Message to the people: "I am with you!" God's Word.
This is how God got Zerubbabel, Joshua, and all the people moving - got them working on the Temple of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
This happened on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month in the second year of King Darius.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)