Times were tough for the first recipients of the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah. They needed to be encouraged to resume the work of reconstructing the temple - to awake from their lethargy and to be enthusiastic for a life lived in obedience to God. The people were still very materialistic in their outlook. Their zeal was for ritual rather than reliance on the Lord. Their concern was for respectability in religious observance rather than an acknowledgement of their sin and a desire to please God in all their thoughts and actions.