When the people of God returned from their lengthy exile in Babylon, Jerusalem was in ruins. Within a short time they laid the foundation for a new temple, but they quickly grew discouraged and began focusing instead on their own homes. By Haggai’s time, nearly 20 years later, the temple was still unfinished. God used Haggai to encourage the people to finish rebuilding the temple: “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?” (1:4). Haggai encouraged the disheartened people of Judah with the message that the God of Israel had not abandoned them. His Spirit was still in their midst, and he would fulfill his promise to bless the whole world through them. (Haggai 2:4–9)