Haggai 1:9, 14 "You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?" declares the LORD Almighty. "Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house.". . . So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the LORD Almighty, their God,. . .
The Jewish exiles in Babylon had been allowed to return to their homeland by decree of King Cyrus. Those who made the journey were to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. Upon their arrival, they found the temple to be a great heap of rubble. They did restore the altar and once again burned sacrifices to the Lord. And then they got sidetracked in working on building their own homes. They then just kept putting off the rebuilding of the temple. Life was hard for the remnant. And Haggai comes on the scene prophesying that the reason life had become hard was because they were not doing what they had been called to do. His message stirred them up to get busy about the work, with God's promise that He would once again bring blessing upon them. Obedience brings blessing. Obedience is not an end in itself. It moves us to freedom, freedom to live in the place of blessing.
As a part of His great teaching, what we call the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught, "So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:31-33).
Through Haggai, the Lord spoke this promise concerning this rebuilt temple: "This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,' says the LORD Almighty. 'The silver is mine and the gold is mine,' declares the LORD Almighty. 'The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,' says the LORD Almighty. 'And in this place I will grant peace,' declares the LORD Almighty (2:6-9)." The people would once again see the prosperity of the Lord. The prosperity of the Lord has to do with peace. And the Hebrew word for peace is shalom. It's a big word. The glossary of the One New Man Bible gives this definition for shalom: "Shalom cannot be translated into English with a single word. Shalom comes from Shalem meaning to be complete. When there is Shalom, there is tranquility, justice, sufficient food, clothing, housing. There is Divine health, with no sickness. Shalom means an absence of: disorder, injustice, bribery, corruption, conflict, lack, hatred, abuse, violence, pain, suffering, immorality, and all other negative forces. A rabbi wrote that Shalom means, 'No good thing is withheld.' Therefore when we pray for the Shalom of Jerusalem, we are praying that there will not be any injustice, disorder strife, violence, poverty, sickness, abuse, accidents, homelessness, pain, hunger, and more. When Shalom reigns there will be no immorality, no injustice. The principles advocated in the Torah will be followed by all. Then the command to love your neighbor will be made complete." To further understand Shalom, its opposite is defined also. "Ra (Resh-Ayin) is the opposite of Shalom. While Ra is commonly translated evil or wicked, bad is given as the first meaning. The dictionary does not express the real meaning and English has no simple meaning of the Hebrew word Ra. Ra is the opposite of Shalom, so it means that nothing makes sense or fits. Chaos or anarchy are often used in this translation because they may best express the meaning of Ra. Anarchy or chaos reigned when the children of Israel strayed after false gods, when the Season of the Lord and tithes were ignored. When there is chaos in society the bullies take over, so might makes right. Corruption and bribery are common. Freedom is restricted. Immorality is the norm. There is no order in society, no justice. Sometimes in our lives we find that even though we cannot put our finger on it, there is just a feeling of things not right. That is the mild side of Ra. The far end of Ra is when everything is wrong, as with an absolutely hopeless situation. In that case only a personal relationship with the Living God can give you peace in your spirit. Through Him you can make it."
As we put God first, we live in His peace. And that peace doesn't always mean the absence of a storm; it can mean peace in the midst of the storm. I remember reading an illustration in a Sunday School lesson one time of an artist who had been asked to paint a picture of peace. The artist painted a picture of a tiny bird asleep in the midst of a storm. "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" Jesus asked (Matthew 6:26). "His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me!"