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.
‘… give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.’1
‘She’s got her daddy’s nose!’ ‘He’s got his grandma’s friendly nature!’ How we love to see in people features we associate with their progenitors! Some things are definitely passed on. Holiness is not! God’s Law provided no magic formula that rendered a person holy through mere contact with a consecrated object. Haggai’s Jewish listeners are again reminded that their lack of devotion to God has produced ritual defilement and economic depression. Only after giving ‘careful thought’ (v 18) to their ways and returning wholly to God can the situation be remedied.
Throughout the Old Testament, we find God blessing with prosperity those who walk in obedience to him. Conversely, we see rebelliousness leading God to withdraw his hand, allowing his disobedient people to suffer the consequence of their sinful choices. Indeed, the very exile from which Haggai’s listeners had returned had been a direct result of the nation turning its back on the Lord. So then, is the apparent Old Testament promise of material prosperity for obedient living applicable in the New Testament era? This is a very thorny issue! Is the wealth enjoyed by many Christians a reward for their righteous conduct? And for those faithful believers in many parts of the world who struggle with poverty, is their penury a judgment from God for some unacknowledged sin? Perhaps a learned Jewish scholar who became arguably the greatest Christian missionary of all can shed some light on this matter: Paul writes, ‘I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.’2
Paul neither despised nor pursued wealth or poverty. Pray for the same attitude – the fruit of trust in God’s sovereign control and fatherly care!
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.
1 Prov 30:8 2 Phil 4:12,13
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