NEVER BEYOND BLESSING
I praise You, my Savior, for Your extravagant love that reaches me even at my worst.
Read Haggai 2:10–23
Blessings for a Defiled People
10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Haggai: 11 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Ask the priests what the law says: 12 If someone carries consecrated meat in the fold of their garment, and that fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, olive oil or other food, does it become consecrated?’”
The priests answered, “No.”
13 Then Haggai said, “If a person defiled by contact with a dead body touches one of these things, does it become defiled?”
“Yes,” the priests replied, “it becomes defiled.”
14 Then Haggai said, “‘So it is with this people and this nation in my sight,’ declares the Lord. ‘Whatever they do and whatever they offer there is defiled.
15 “‘Now give careful thought to this from this day on[a]—consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the Lord’s temple. 16 When anyone came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty. 17 I struck all the work of your hands with blight, mildew and hail, yet you did not return to me,’ declares the Lord. 18 ‘From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid. Give careful thought: 19 Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit.
“‘From this day on I will bless you.’”
Zerubbabel the Lord’s Signet Ring
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.”
a Haggai 2:15 Or to the days past
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHave you ever realized that God had the hope of redemption planned from the very beginning?
“Everything you fear is true. And yet… Everything you have done wrong, you have really done wrong. And yet.” (Francis Spufford, Unapologetic, Faber & Faber, 2012, p. 16) With God there is always an “and yet,” which for the defiled people of Judah (13) was cause for huge relief and deep gratitude. God promises to bless (19) his people who cannot offer anything that is untainted (14). Defilement, like mold, permeates everything (12, 13). So Jesus warns us to curb our anger and get reconciled before bringing an offering to God (Matthew 5:21–26). If it festers, the negative effects multiply.
God had exercised discipline, but the signs were missed (16, 17). Reduced harvest yields, crop disease, and adverse weather conditions were the inevitable curses if the covenant with God was not kept (Deuteronomy 28:20–24). God often speaks correctively through our hardships. He waits, ready to give a “harvest of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:11); his default is to bless. He raises up saviors for his people, leaders like Zerubbabel (20–23), to establish his reign and overcome the power of evil. In their limited ability they point to the one, the true King, Jesus Christ, who conquers, bringing all God’s promises to fulfillment.
Think of where you would be without Jesus. How would your life be different? Can you tell someone today what Jesus has done for you?
I come to You, my Savior God, in all my need; may I find the refreshment of Your forgiveness.