Blessing for a Defiled People
Do you feel as if you are missing out on the blessing of God? If so it may be that you misinterpret what the blessing of God is, or it may be a matter of defilement in our life. Three months after resuming rebuilding the temple, Haggai has a message for the people concerning uncleanness and their lack of blessing. There was a direct connection, yet the people had not joined the dots. It is a message that follows on from Zechariah the previous month who pleaded with the people, “Turn ye unto Me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Zech 1:3) Have you searched your heart lately?
V10-14 – Holiness and Uncleanliness
Haggai now asks them to enquire from the priest about the contraction of holiness; would a garment with holy meat from the peace offering in its pocket cause what it touches to be holy? The people wouldn’t need to ask the priest, but the priest answers and says, “No.” Holiness is not contagious. We must bear this in mind. Doing spiritual work doesn’t make someone spiritual. Perhaps we never miss a local church meeting, attend every local conference or Bible reading, and are active in participating in the local church. This doesn’t make someone spiritual.
1 Corinthians 2 greatly helps us about what is spiritual, natural and fleshly. Spiritual believers are marked by a knowledge of what God has given to us and careful discernment of proposed truth, knowing what is the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:6-16). This comes from learning and allowing the Word of God to work in one’s life. They are led by the Spirit of God, evidenced by fruit (Gal 5:22). Spiritual Christians don’t merely play the part, they are the part.
Uncleanness is quite another matter. Haggai gives the people a lesson on uncleanness and has the most defiling example in the law: death. Touching things that have died, even accidentally, caused defilement for a minimum of seven days, and could only be ceremonially remedied through the double washing from the ashes of the Red Heifer mixed with spring water. (Numbers 19) Holiness is not transmittable, but uncleanness is infectious. The priest gave the verdict that “If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these… It shall be unclean.” Remember the solemn warning Paul gives to us today about what we are building into the local church when he says, “If any defile the temple of God, him shall God corrupt; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” (1 Cor 3:17) As good health cannot be passed along but sickness can, the people of God are reminded of what trouble defilement causes.
V15-19 – Promised Blessing
Haggai again asks the people to “consider” the past (v15-17), and then to “consider” the future. (v18-19) Defilement was the cause of the lack of blessing among the people. They assumed that if they brought their sacrifices like they were supposed to, all would be well. This was not the case. The harvests and gains in agriculture were never like they expected. The reason was their defilement. Now the people were to mark the 24thday of the 9thmonth and notice the difference going forward. What an encouragement for the people who have just sown their winter crops!
Do we not crave the blessing of God? Are we missing out on the spiritual blessing of God in our lives, and fail to see it in our local churches. Spiritual growth will come as a result of an unhindered intimate relationship with God: time in the presence of God reading and praying (2 Cor 3:18). It will come from embracing the will of God, even in difficult times and leaning hard upon Him expecting His comfort (2 Cor 1:3-5). Secondarily, if we are neither hot nor cold, or we are lacking in full obedience to roles and responsibilities in the local church, why should He bless us? O, that we might be encouraged from Haggai to allow the Word of God to search our hearts as individuals: Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psa 139:23-24)