I have been reading lately, as part of my daily morning meditation, the Book of the Prophet Haggai; and I would like to ask you to consider his words and their application for you and me today. But first let me give you a bit of an introduction.
Around 538 BC, Cyrus, King of the new Medo-Persian Empire, allowed the Jewish people to return to their home land in Judah which had been completely devastated by the Babylonians years earlier in at least three separate campaigns. To get an idea of the state of things in Judah, all we have to do is read Jeremiah’s Book of Lamentations. The rebuilding of Judah would take two fronts, the physical rebuilding of the structures (houses, buildings, and the Temple) and the spiritual rebuilding of a people who had lived in exile for 70 years.
Sixteen years had passed from the time the people came into Judah, but the Temple for the worship of God was still just at the foundations level while the people busied themselves building and improving their own homes with elaborate paneling; and yet their efforts lacked the fruitfulness they sought. The blessing of God had been lifted from them. Into the midst of this reality, God raised a prophet by the name of Haggai who would shake them to the core and point out to them the folly of their efforts. Read these words carefully:
“You have sown much, and bring in little;
You eat, but do not have enough;
You drink, but you are not filled with drink;
You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm;
And he who earns wages,
Earns wages to put into a bag with holes."
Human effort without the blessing of God will always amount to very little because our efforts are very limited even in the best of circumstances and the best of giftedness or talents. While the smallest of the blessings of an Almighty God would be always enough to take us to places we cannot reach by ourselves. God certainly uses our efforts, giftedness, and talents, but He always adds what we can never achieve on our own. The blessing of Almighty God involves His favor, His Anointing, and His hand in supporting our dreams and aspirations. The question for the Jews of Haggai’s time as well as for us today is an issue of priority because the blessing of God is always somehow tied to the priority we give Him in our lives. It seems to me that God will never bless what will never bring Him glory.