Have you ever had your home blessed
How to get and keep God's blessings and favor
The book of Haggai is a wonderful lesson in how to receive and keep the blessings and favor of God. In the utmost simplicity, the prophet Haggai outlines how God's children can live and walk under His continuing blessings and favors.
But Haggai also reveals the causes and reasons why people lose God's blessing - and what they must do to get back into His favor! This applies to nations, families, individuals.
The wonderful truth is that God blesses those who walk faithfully - He shows favor to those who favor Him. I don't know about you, but I love being around people who have God's favor! There is something of Christ's exuberance with them. And they have a constant peace. They do not need to worry from day to day that they are up or down because there is constancy in walking with God.
However, one of the greatest worries a pastor faces is witnessing the terrible changes that are taking place in Christians who turn sour. These are believers who were once inflamed for God, dedicated and zealous for His work. They were happy, blessed, grew in faith, matured spiritually.
Then one day you began to sense that something had gone wrong. A frown replaced her smile. Suddenly they stopped growing. The spiritual decline had begun!
This happens to married couples! Maybe that goes for your marriage. Just a year or so ago, the two of you seemed so happy. There was a twinkle in your eyes and you were favorites. Everywhere you turned, God blessed you. People around you thought nothing could ever come between you. They both lived in the fullness of God's favor.
But now something is wrong. In a matter of months the two of you will walk into sorrow! You can't agree on anything - there is constant misunderstanding between you. Their love for one another and for God's work is waning. His blessings and favors on your marriage have been withdrawn!
This also happens to individual Christians! I have been greatly blessed by the faithfulness and zeal of many individual Christians, many of whom are singles. You are so full of joy, excited about the Word of God, always putting the Lord's work first. When I see them I say to myself: “There is someone walking who will never give up and become bland. He [or she] is determined to go all the way with the Lord! "
But sadly, some of these zealous believers are beginning to change. They are starting to miss meetings when they used to come to every service. And a sad, gloomy sight has covered her face. The blessing of God is no longer there - you can almost see it draining from you!
When I see her now, I wonder, “Lord - what happened? How could they just drift away? How could such cold get into your mind? How could they forget the secret of having your blessings and your favors on them? "
The same thing happens to nations too! From the day God commanded His blessings on Israel down to modern America, nations that once lived benevolently have soon forgotten God! They forget why He blessed them - and they become His enemies, moving away from favor towards terrible judgments!
No nation has ever been so blessed as Israel. God told them: “I picked you out of all the peoples - and I carried you in My arms! I found you, bathed and clothed you. But then you got mad at me. You turned against Me and committed spiritual adultery! "
Like Israel, America has lost God's blessings and favor! This nation was once grandly blessed. Most of our forefathers were godly people. And until just a few years ago, America blessed the whole world as the number one rental nation. Not any longer longer! We are now the number one debtor nation, owe more money than the rest of the world combined! We are so deeply in debt that we will never get out!
What happened to america It has lost its soul, its blessing, its favor with God! We are no longer one nation under Him - because He has turned us over to our sins. We have become godless - and now we are under His divine discipline!
How do nations, families, individuals lose the blessings and favor of God? What causes this fall in destruction and shame? Haggai lists three reasons for this:
“These people say: The time has not yet come to build the house of the Lord” (Haggai 1: 2). The Israelites gave up building the house of the Lord - to build their homes!
This scene took place sixty-eight years after the temple was destroyed. A remnant had returned to Jerusalem from Babylonian captivity specifically to rebuild God's house. Indeed, with great zeal and great enthusiasm they laid the foundation of the temple!
But then they ran into some tough spots - difficulties, discouragement. Slowly they lost interest in God's work. They said, “Now is just not the time - we have too many problems. We also spend so much time here. We neglect our families and our business. "
One by one they walked off to see what their interests were. And the Lord's interests - all of which had to do with their own wellbeing - became secondary!
They started building their own houses. And they used the lumber that had been stored for building the temple - all that beautiful cedar that had come from the mountainsides!
When Haggai got to the scene, he heard the hammering of nails and saw houses popping up everywhere! Then he went to the house of God - and it had been neglected! Nobody worked on the temple!
He began to exclaim, “Is it time for you to live in your paneled houses while this house is deserted?
... thus says the LORD ... Set your heart on your ways "(Haggai 1: 4-5). In other words, he said, "Wake up - think about what you are doing."
You might ask: What is the temple of God that is being built today? Scripture says it is our bodies: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you do not belong to yourselves?” (1 Corinthians 6:19).
Indeed, the Church of Jesus Christ is His body on earth. He is Head, in glory - and our primary work here on earth is to build up His spiritual body. Everything we do for Jesus is not just building a local church or ministry - it is building the body of Christ on earth!
Then how do believers lose the blessings and favor of God today? By stopping working on His temple! It happens when we stop praying and seek God - when we stop building His spiritual body on earth!
Scripture says that if one limb is injured, the whole body suffers. I know when I hit my finger or bump my toe that my whole body reacts - even my head can feel it! So if you don't do your part in building the house of Christ - if you don't seek Him with all your heart - you are hurting your whole body. You even hurt your head in the process, Jesus!
Here is the problem that Haggai points out: When the people put God's interests first, He provided them with food and refuge. Indeed, he took care of them in every way: their vineyards grew, their grapes were heavy. They slept peacefully at night and their children danced in the streets. None of their enemies overpowered them. It was a wonderful time of God's blessings. But then people got sucked into their own interests!
Well, God is not against caring for our own household. We should be diligent in our daily work and in our business. But the Israelites had stopped doing God's work fully. Self-interest had taken over every thought!
Today many Christians come to the house of God and just sit there. They never do anything to build His body. They are far too concerned about their own careers and families - too preoccupied with their own interests!
They say, “One day I'll have time - then I'll be able to put God's interests first. Once I've paid my bills and put a small nest egg aside, I'll give more time to spiritual matters. ”No! They are lukewarm, even cold - although they give God less and less of their time and resources!
Perhaps once you came to the house of God with real zeal for Him. You were filled with Christ - He was your everything, your life. But now you are wrapped up in making money, trying to improve your lifestyle. Suddenly your own interests have overwhelmed the concerns of God. You have postponed His work out of your life!
“You have sown a lot, but brought in little; you eat but do not get full; you drink but are still thirsty; you dress, but nobody gets warm; and the wage worker gets wages in a holed bag ”(Haggai 1,6).
God said to the people: “You run after material things - houses, property, money - and they eat up all your time and energy! If you were consumed doing My Work, you would have joy and contentment. But now you are empty, disaffected, dissatisfied. And no matter what you do, nothing will ever satisfy you! "
“You looked for a lot, and, behold, it became little. And when you brought it home, I blew into it. Why is that? Says the LORD of hosts. Because of my house, which lies deserted while you run, each for his own house ”(1,9).
God said, “You wanted it so badly and worked so hard for it. But you stole from Me to get it! You brought it home and it didn't satisfy you - because I blew all the satisfaction away! "
This is what is happening in America today! Think about it: never in human history has there been a country of so many with so much - without satisfaction. You buy things that you wanted and worked so hard to get - but once you bring them home, all the novelty wears off! It brings no joy, no satisfaction. You can even feel this emptiness flowing into you.
Our nation is consumed by the self - self-pride, self-ambition, self-will - with each person only looking for their own interests! No wonder so many drunk and drugged drunk and lost in darkness and confusion. God blew on our material endeavors - and none of them can ever satisfy!
God says: "... I have called a drought on (you) ... and on all the labor of (your) hands" (Haggai 1:11). He says: “If you start to neglect your soul and turn to material things, you will end up joyless, unsatisfied, empty, dry! I will bring a spiritual drought - and all of your hard work will only make you feel worse. You will say: 'Is that all that belongs to life?' "
To the carnal Christian, God says: “I have proclaimed misery, drought, so that you could not find any satisfaction - so that it would drive you back to Me! I want you to put My interests first so that I can bless you again! "
Thank God for doing this! Each of us should pray, "Lord, every time I begin to slide away from You, make me miserable!"
"... the people feared the Lord ... they came and went to work on the house of the Lord of hosts their God ..." (Haggai 1: 12-14). Finally people were convicted of self-interest and returned to working on the temple. They were back where they should be - building the house of the Lord!
As they stood in front of the foundation of the temple, the walls began to grow. But something was wrong - a lot of the older people started crying. Why? Because they had seen the splendor of the Temple of Solomon sixty-eight years before - and this new one did not measure up!
They began to speak of the past glory and said, “This temple has no ark in it. There is no mercy seat (atonement cover), no cherubim. There is no consuming fire on the altar, no Shekinah glory coming down on the house. After all of our hard work - all of our sacrifice and obedience, all of our putting God's interests first - we failed the standard! This is nothing compared to what we once saw. Why fight, why move on when we see so little of everything we've done? "
The implications of this attitude were very serious - and it angered God! Haggai said to them, “Who is there among you who has seen this house in its former glory? ... Isn't it like nothing in your eyes? ”(Haggai 2,3). He said: “You stand here and measure your present situation against something from the past - and it makes you miserable.
That is right at the heart of what is happening in the Church of Jesus Christ today. It is one of the key reasons people have lost the blessings and favor of God.
An army of God's people give up today - because they don't think they will ever meet the standard! Like the Israelites, they have come back to God, back to putting Him first, seeking His will, building His house. But when you look at your life you say: I have so little to show after all my struggles! I have so little of God's holiness, so little of His glory in my life. I will never stand up to the standard compared to other Christians. What is the use of fighting? I will never have victory!
I believe that this is why many devoted Christians give up the fight. They compare themselves to other believers - and they become discouraged because they feel hopelessly inferior!
This happened to me years ago when I began reading the Puritan scribes. I saw their holy fire for God - how they got up at four and five in the morning, prayed six and eight hours a day, never spoke a foolish word, were consumed by the word of God. They appeared so holy, so godly. It sent me on a guilt trip - I felt that I could never reach her!
Beloved on, the problem is we have our eyes fixed on our own condition! We don't realize that when we are dealing with God in our life we are in exactly the right place. We must not measure our spiritual life against anyone else's. As you continue to do this, you will begin to think that God's glory has shrunk, that you have run out of it. You won't expect them in your own life!
Haggai showed Israel that they were focused on the wrong object. They had lost sight of the fact that God's glory had not drained or withered! God sent this word to them:
“... I am with you, says the LORD of hosts ... be strong, all the people of the land ... and work! Because I am with you ... my spirit remains in your midst: do not be afraid! ”(2,4-5). "The glory of this house to come will be greater than that of the previous one, says the Lord of hosts ..." (2: 9).
God told them, “You may have thought that the glory of the first temple was something. But it was nothing compared to the glory that lies ahead! You will have My Peace upon you - My Glory will flood your soul! Just stay in the precious fear of God. Go on, keep doing My Work, no matter how you feel. Be strong because I am with you! "
If you simply remain steadfastly faithful - if you remain truthful to the Lord and do not try to measure yourself by anything but your own love for Jesus - then you can be sure that you will grow. And God promises to be with you!
Haggai warned her, “I beg you - before you become discouraged about not meeting the standard, look back at your previous walk with God. Remember what it was like when you gave up on God. You have lost His favor and His blessings. Do you want to go back to those days when God had to hit you with powdery mildew? When he rained down on you in a hail of disappointments and everything you did was in vain?
No - you have to come back to the Lord and you are on the right track! God is with you no matter how little progress you seem to be making. Carry on - the glory is within your grasp! "
Then comes this incredible word from God:
"Set your heart" on the time "from this day ... From the 24th day of the ninth
Beloved Ones, you can mark this too - it is God's promise to you! From the very hour you are again focused on building the body of Christ - putting aside all selfish ways, making Him your all - you can look to see His many blessings. You can literally mark it up! You will see that He is favoring you, smiling at you - rejoicing in you!
Jewish law had said: “Anyone who touches a dead person, the corpse of any person, will be unclean for seven days ... Everyone who touches a dead person, the body of a person who has died and has not sinned, has the apartment the LORD made unclean ”(Numbers 19:11, 13).
Now listen to Haggai's word to Israel:
“Then Haggai said: If someone who has been defiled on a corpse touches all of this, does it
Haggai said, “If at any point death touches you or you touch death, then you have been defiled. You are unclean - you have defiled your whole body, the temple of God! "
God had enacted these stringent health laws to protect the people from the spread of contagious diseases. Yet for Jewish thought, death was always a form of corruption and sin. Even the New Testament associates death with sin: “You too, who were dead in your transgressions and sins” (Ephesians 2: 1).
According to Ezra and Nehemiah, the death that touched Israel was sensuality and mingling with the world. Israelite men lusted after pagan Canaanite women and married them. They had children who didn't even speak Jewish. It was an unholy mixture!
Beloved, if at any point in your Christian life you have a touch with the world - a touch of compromise, a desire that draws you - that is touch with death. And it will cost you the blessings and favor of God!
Haggai raised another question before the people: “If a man wears sacred flesh in the corner of his garment and touches bread or cooked food or wine or oil or any food with the corner of his body, does that make it holy? And the priests answered and said, No ”(Haggai 2:12).
Haggai paints a picture of a priest carrying a piece of consecrated sacrificial meat home from the sacrificial altar. The Prophet asks: “Does that holy flesh confer holiness on His garment? If he puts it on the table at home, does it convey holiness to any other food there? ”The answer was an emphatic“ No! ”
Here's Haggai's point: being surrounded by sacred things does not confer holiness on you!
These Israelites thought the land itself was holy, so life on that land would make them holy. Likewise, many Christians today come to believe that they are at peace with God as long as they come to His house. They think that through the sanctifying praise and prayers of God's people, somehow the holiness of God will be imparted to them.
But singing in a choir, doing good works, sitting at the Lord's table - none of these spiritual things in and of themselves can make you righteous. You can sit in a Holy Spirit meeting and soak in all of God's blessings - but it won't make you holy if death touches you!
On the other hand, death and corruption through sin are transmittable! Sin is a contagious disease - it spreads to everything it touches! If at any point sin touches you, it will begin to spread to your entire body. Show me a man who touches death somewhere in his life and I'll show you how he crawled over his wife, his children, his entire household!
This is why God interrupted His blessings for Israel! This is why He blisters and mildew on them, bringing resentment, drought, dissatisfaction, economic chaos, emptiness, poor harvests. It was because you were unclean in front of His altar! They had become careless about touching what was dead and have been corrupted, turned angry.
If there is something of the world in your heart - if the touch of death is not purified - you cannot have any blessing from God. You are in His resentment - and everything you do is unclean in His view.
Are you in a battle against hidden sin? Did that sin prevent the flow of God's blessings on them? Do you feel empty, dry, lonely? Listen to God's word to you:
“My children, I am writing this to you so that you do not sin; and if anyone sins - we have an aid from the Father: Jesus Christ the righteous. And he is the atonement for our sins ... ”(1 John 2: 1-2).
If you want to be pure, run to Jesus! “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of offenses, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1: 7). "And you who were dead in the falsities and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he made alive with him, forgiving us all fatalities" (Colossians 2:13).
New life and new blessings are yours - right now, in Christ! It doesn't take God long to clean it all up. Just confess to Him, “Lord, I have failed you. But I want it outside - I want your blessing! "
Call on His cleansing power. God will bring all of His favor back to you: "A faithful man is rich in blessings ..." (Proverbs 28:20).
Dear Saint, Dear Saint, I urge you - resolve in your heart not to look to the past. Once again become faithful in seeking Him with all your heart. Start working on the temple of the Holy Ghost again. The Lord has promised you: “Mark it on your calendar - from that day on I will proceed to bless you! I will favor you. "
Bible passages - unless otherwise stated - based on the Elberfeld Bible 2006. The verse numbers given may differ in some Bible editions.
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