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In 586 B.C., after a long siege, the city of Jerusalem was captured by the king of Babylon. He burned the city to the ground and took its people as captives to Babylonia.
About 50 years later, a group of these Jewish exiles returned to their homeland. They wanted to rebuild the ruined Temple of Jerusalem. And they began the work. But after a while, they became discouraged because there was so much opposition from their enemies, mainly the Samaritans. The rebuilding activities came to a virtual standstill.
It was the divinely appointed work of the prophet Haggai to encourage God's people to get back to work—to finish the rebuilding of the Temple.
The book of Haggai contains four messages the prophet delivered to the discouraged people in the year 520 B.C. These inspired messages had a powerful effect. The work of rebuilding was restarted and carried to a successful completion in 515 B.C.
What an accomplishment! And, I might add, what an encouragement to us today! If we will but listen to God's prophets and act upon the principles they teach, we too can expect God's blessing. We, too will accomplish great things for Him.