Haggai 1:12-The Remnant of Judah Obeyed the Message from the Lord to Complete the Rebuilding of His Temple
Haggai 1:12 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and the high priest Joshua son of Jehozadak, along with the whole remnant of the people, obeyed the Lord their God. They responded favorably to the message of the prophet Haggai, who spoke just as the Lord their God had instructed him, and the people began to respect the Lord. (NET)
The contents of Haggai 1:12-14 present the response of the remnant of Judah to the message the God of Israel communicated to them through the prophet Haggai and which message is recorded in Haggai 1:2-11.
This message and the response to the message are bracketed by the introduction in Haggai 1:1 and the concluding date formula in Haggai 1:15 with regards to this obedience to the message.
Now, Haggai 1:2-11 make clear that the message was received by Haggai directly from the Lord and was addressed to the governor of Judah, Zerubbabel, Shealtiel’s son as well as the high priest, Joshua, who was Jehozadak’s son.
These two men constituted the political and religious or spiritual leadership of this remnant and their job was to communicate this message from the Lord to the remnant.
Haggai 1:8 reveals that this message required that this remnant complete the rebuilding of the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem in order that the nation might once again have a centralized location in which to worship the Lord.
Ultimately, the completion of this project would glorify the Lord since it would demonstrate His sovereign power over the nations of the earth and Judah herself.
Now, Haggai 1:12 contains three declarative statements.
The second explains in greater detail the first and the third presents an inference from the first two.
The first statement asserts that Zerubbabel, Shealtiel’s son as well as Joshua, Jehozadak’s son, the high priest along with the whole remnant which is a part of the kingdom of Judah obeyed the Lord their God’s voice.
The second statement identifies specifically what the first statement means that this remnant obeyed the voice of the Lord and asserts that they did so by obeying the message Haggai communicated to them.
This statement also presents the reason why they obeyed Haggai, namely because the Lord had sent him.
The third statement in verse 11 asserts that the remnant of Judah demonstrated respect in the Lord’s presence.
This third statement as we noted is presenting an inference from the first two statements.
Therefore, this indicates that it can be inferred from this remnant’s obedience to the Lord’s message He communicated through the prophet Haggai which required that they obey His command to complete the rebuilding of His temple that this remnant respected the Lord.
When Haggai 1:12 asserts that this remnant obeyed the Lord’s message communicated by Haggai, it means that they submitted to what this message required of them.
Specifically, they responded in obedience to the Lord’s command in Haggai 1:8 to complete the rebuilding of His temple.
Haggai 1:12 presents one of the great themes of the book of Haggai, which is tied to priorities, namely obedience to God’s commands.
Several times Haggai mentions the consequences for disobedience (cf. Hag. 1:6, 11; 2:16-17).
The prophet also mentions the consequences for obedience.
God graciously provides the energy or enthusiasm (1:14), strength (2:4-5) and resources (2:8) to do His will when the remnant of Judah obey Him (1:12).
He also promised the post-exilic community that He would bless with His presence (2:9), peace (2:9) and material prosperity (2:19) if they obey Him.
Interestingly, notice that in Haggai 1:2, the remnant of Judah is described by the Lord as “this people.”
However, here in Haggai 1:12, they are described as “the remnant of this people.”
The reason is that they had exercised faith in the Lord which was demonstrated by their obedience to His command to complete the rebuilding of the temple.
Mark Boda writes “This response represents a massive step of faith. Nearly two decades prior to this, an earlier group of Jews under their governor Sheshbazzar had responded to the invitation of Cyrus and began to work on the same temple site, yet with little success (see Ezra 1; 5:15–16). Now amidst threats from those in adjoining Persian provinces (see Ezra 3:3; 4:1–5; 5:1–6:15), a new generation begins the temple project anew. The message of God’s promised presence is essential to bolster the faith of these underdogs.”
Now, this faith and obedience we see demonstrated by the remnant of Judah in Haggai 1:12 also demonstrated their repentance which in relation to the Christian, involves confession of sin to be restored to fellowship with God (1 John 1:9).
This fellowship is maintained by obedience to the Word of God (1 John 2:3-6).
Now, the contents of Haggai 1:12 also make clear that the remnant of Judah’s obedience to the Lord’s command to complete the rebuilding of His temple in Jerusalem demonstrated their respect for Him.
This respect alludes to the fact that they were now worshipping Him in His presence because the temple was rebuilt implying that His presence was in this temple.
There are four English words, “reverence,” “respect,” “awe,” and “wonder,” which express the concept of worshipping God.
Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defines the noun “reverence”: “A feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe; veneration.”
Therefore, paraphrasing this definition and applying it to Haggai 1:8, we can say that the remnant of Judah in Haggai’s day possessed an attitude of deep respect and awe for the God of Israel because they obeyed His command to complete the rebuilding of the temple.
Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defines the noun “respect”: “esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or trait, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or trait.”
Thus, by obeying the Lord’s command to complete the rebuilding of the temple, the remnant of Judah in Haggai’s day esteemed the excellence of the Lord’s person as manifested through His personal qualities or attributes such as love, faithfulness, mercy, compassion, justice, righteousness, truth, omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, immutability, and sovereignty.
Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defines the noun “awe”: “an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc. produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful or the like.”
Thus, by obeying the Lord’s command to complete the rebuilding of the temple, the remnant of Judah in Haggai’s day possessed an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration for Him.
Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defines the noun “wonder”: “to be filled with admiration, amazement or awe; marvel.”
Thus, by obeying the Lord’s command to complete the rebuilding of the temple, the remnant of Judah in Haggai’s day were filled with admiration, amazement and awe in response to His presence.
Warren Wiersbe writes, “True wonder reaches right into your heart and mind and shakes you up. It not only has depth, it has value; it enriches your life. Wonder is not cheap amusement that brings a smile to your face. It is an encounter with reality, with God, which brings awe to your heart. You’re overwhelmed with an emotion that is a mixture of gratitude, adoration, reverence, fear-and love. You’re not looking for explanations; you’re lost in the wonder of God.”
Therefore, paraphrasing this comment by Wiersbe on wonder we would say that the presence of the Lord reached right into the hearts of the remnant of Judah in Haggai’s day and shook them up and enriched their lives.
It overwhelmed them with an emotion that was a mixture of gratitude, adoration, reverence, fear and love for the Lord their God.
They were not looking for explanations but rather they were be lost in the wonder of who their God was and is.
They approached Him by manifesting an attitude of deep reverence, respect and awe for who He is and what He had done for them in restoring their nation from the Babylonian captivity and the worship of Himself by restoring the temple worship of Himself (cf. Ps. 68:35).
Warren Wiersbe defines worship, “Worship is the believer’s response of all that they are –mind, emotions, will and body-to what God is and says and does. This response has its mystical side in subjective experience and its practical side in objective obedience to God’s revealed will. Worship is a loving response that’s balanced by the fear of the Lord, and it is a deepening response as the believer comes to know God better.”
If we paraphrase this definition, we could say that by obeying the Lord’s command to complete the rebuilding of the temple, the remnant of Judah in Haggai’s day had responded in their mind, emotion, and body to His presence (cf. Ps. 2:11; 95:6-7).
Haggai 1:8 also presents another critical doctrine found in the Word of God, which is that of the remnant which speaks of a remainder of righteous people of God who survive judgment or catastrophe.
The book of Haggai is addressed the remnant of Jews who had returned from exile after seventy years in Babylon.
 Boda, M. J. (2004). Haggai, Zechariah (p. 106). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.
 Real Worship, page 43, Baker Books
 Ibid. 26