Malachi may be associated with the jackal, which features early in his book, for God had left Edom to jackals, yet now God’s own people were acting like jackals.
It was evocative imagery, immense and forceful blacksmiths, their hammers raised, mighty opponents to the raw and primitive power of the bulls with their horns.
Generational sins complicate life. You and I live with the consequences of what the previous generations did, even what our own family members did. But there is always a way out.
Zechariah, whose name means “God Remembered,” was probably a teen when he came with that first wave of Jewish exiles.
Though this is the shortest of Haggai’s oracles, it is surprisingly dense! In it God redeems Zerubbabel's family baggage.
“The Lord will establish you as [God's] holy people, as [the Lord] has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in [God's] ways. All the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord.”
A month into the work, but the people's spirits were flagging, and they needed a word from the Lord to lift them up. Thankfully, soon it would be Sukkot, the Festival of Booths, and Haggai knew God had something to give them that would bring them great joy.
. Thirty long years dragged on, a generation of people grew old and died, and a new generation grew up with a half-built temple. It felt normal to go about their lives and make do with a priesthood, an altar, musicians, and no more. They invested in their own lives instead, building their homes, improving their towns, marshalling through droughts and rainy times as the people of that land had been doing for thousands of years. Then came Haggai!
Though now an old man, Haggai was among those first 50,000 faithful men, women, and children who rose to God’s call to return home. He went as one of two spiritual advisors for Governor Zerubbabel and the priest Jeshua, for these two young men, no older than their thirties, and perhaps still in their twenties, would need the strength of character, spiritual wisdom, and practical guidance of these two middle-aged sages.
Haggai received the anointing of God to proclaim four oracles to the people, “A charge I give to you,” he might have said, “To remember who you are and to Whom you belong!”