"12 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him. And the people feared the Lord. 13 Then Haggai, the messenger of the Lord, spoke to the people with the Lord's message, “I am with you, declares the Lord.” 14 And the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people. And they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, 15 on the twenty-fourth day of the month, in the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king."
Such, then, is the first prophecy of Haggai. The people had come back with high hopes of rebuilding the Temple, but had found that the work of restoring the lost glories of the land is never an easy one, and that only those who are prepared to face much opposition and discouragement and continue steadfastly in the face of it will win through. We have often, alas, far too sentimental ideas about the work of God, and imagine that it can be accomplished on the crest of a wave of enthusiasm. But this is not realistic: God's work has never been done that way. When we read of great manifestations of spiritual power, we tend to forget the blood and toil and tears and sweat that are their necessary and inevitable antecedents. We must through much tribulation enter the kingdom of God! That is the first great lesson here; and the second is that we must be prepared to put first things first in our lives and in our homes and in our families. This is where the account is rendered and where it has to be paid. But when it is, there comes this glad assurance, 'I am with you, saith the Lord'. In the last analysis, this is the only thing that matters. It is worth paying any price for that!