"In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest."
When we studied the relevant passages in Ezra, what we said was this: If the cessation of the work of rebuilding the Temple was not due to anything wrong in the people of God - after all, it was the opposition of the enemy rather than any carelessness on their part - it is certainly true to say that this situation led to something becoming wrong. And what did become wrong was this: the people of God became complacent. And God sent the two prophets to stir them out of their complacency. Consider, then, the situation. The exiles had returned with great expectations, with a great sense of purpose. They had had the wonderful promises of Isaiah 40-66 to encourage them in the hope that God would do a new thing. But now they had run into stiff and unrelenting opposition, and they found the going terribly hard. Presently the opposition moved so effectively that they 'queered their pitch' with the emperor, and the whole work of reconstruction was ceased. The discouragement and disheartening can be readily imagined. But discouragement is one thing, falling into a spirit of complacency is quite another. And it is clear from the record that fifteen years elapsed in which there was no real attempt to restart the work. This is the sort of situation which is fruitful in lessons for the spiritual life. A spirit of discouragement can certainly make a man say 'Oh what's the use?'; and when he says that, he is not very far from the place of indifference and complacency. That is the danger-point; and we may understand from this something of the urgency with which Haggai addressed the people in his prophecy.