Gracious One, it is to You I look as my creator, helper, and guide. Open my eyes to see Your glory.
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.”
- 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.
ReflectSuperstition often seems silly when we see it in other people. But are there ways in which we have started to trust in something other than in God’s generosity and grace?
The third message Haggai preached seems to begin with a general query about whether uncleanness is more contagious than holiness (vs 10–13). A conundrum for priests to ponder. The answer is yes, it is. But in the context of the Temple building project, it seems that the people might have started to rely on the presence of the Temple to make their lives clean, but that would be to get things the wrong way round. We can easily fall into the same trap by assuming church attendance, or even reading devotional Bible notes, will make us ‘clean’.
The reality is that the people themselves would be soiling the Temple by their participation in its rituals. So instead of looking to the Temple for the solution, they needed to look to God for his undeserved blessing (vs 14–19).
And as we finish this little book, Haggai’s fourth message (vs 20–23) is a promise that one day, God will intervene in judgment and establish the future ‘governor of Judah’, the greater son of David – the coming Messiah.
Ask God to show you any ways in which you are trusting in what you do religiously, rather than really trusting in his goodness. None of us deserves his goodness, but he gives it to us generously!
Wonderful and Loving God, empower me to repent of sin in my life, to purify the good, and to be in step with the Holy Spirit in my daily living.
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