20 The word of the Lord came to Haggai a second time on the twenty-fourth day of the month: 21 “Tell Zerubbabel governor of Judah that I am going to shake the heavens and the earth. 22 I will overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms. I will overthrow chariots and their drivers; horses and their riders will fall, each by the sword of his brother.
23 “‘On that day,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”
(Haggai 2:20-23 NIV)
In our previous passage, the Lord blessed His people for their obedience in rebuilding the Temple. God redeemed His people as only He could do, forgiving their sin and restoring them to right relationship with Himself. Because of the Israelites’ obedience, the Lord lifted the consequences of their sin and restored His blessings upon them.
In today’s passage, the Lord speaks through Haggai the prophet a second time on the same day. This time, the message is not for the Jewish people, but rather, for Zerubbabel the governor.
In the same way that God blessed the Jewish people for their obedience and removed the consequences of their disobedience, the Lord is blessing Zerubbabel for his obedience in leading the people to rebuild the Temple and removing the consequences of his forefathers’ disobedience.
Remember that Zerubbabel was in the Davidic line that led to the Messiah, Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:12). And who was in Zerubbabel’s family tree? None other than several ungodly, evil kings, including Jehoiachin (1 Chronicles 3:17), also known as Coniah.
To understand the significance of the Lord using the image of the signet ring as His blessing, we have to go back to Jeremiah 22:24, where the used the signet ring image as a sign of displeasure against Jehoiachin, Zerubbabel’s grandfather. The Lord told Jehoiachin that if he were a signet ring on God’s hand, God would take him off because of Jehoiachin’s willful disobedience to the Lord.
Now we see the Lord saying that Zerubbabel is God’s signet ring, His seal, His mark that He is leaving on the world. God has blessed Zerubbabel’s obedience and removed the consequences of his grandfather’s sin.
So what is the Lord going to do? He is going to “shake the nations”, destroying the man-made power bases of the nations, intervene on behalf of His people, and establish Himself as the ruler of heaven and earth (vv. 21b-22).
Looking forward from Zerubbabel’s perspective, this was initially fulfilled on a spiritual basis through the Messiah, Jesus Christ during His first coming to earth. Jesus promises to come again, this time fulfilling His role as Lord of heaven and earth once and for all.
May we look forward to that day when Christ comes again, knowing we live in a broken world in desperate need of a Savior.
And may we be faithful like Zerubbabel, stepping by obedience and faith into whatever God calls us to do, finishing well despite hardships and opposition that confronts us.
Do you know someone who is persevering for the Lord despite their circumstances? Write them a note, give them a call, and let them know the positive impact their life is making on yours, how their faithfulness encourages you in your walk with Christ.