The Glory Delayed Because the People are Unclean
Three months and twenty-four days after Haggai first spoke to the people, he gave them another message. For a people that had completed the construction of the temple and were full of joy and gladness at the completion of their work, the message of Haggai, must have been quite sobering.
The question asked by Haggai, is confusing to us today. It starts in chapter 2 verse 11 where it says: “Now ask the priests concerning the law, saying, ‘If one carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and with the edge he touches bread or stew, wine or oil, or any food, will it become holy.’ Then the priests answered and said, ‘No.’”
What is taking place is a conversation about what is holy and what is unholy and what we about to see confirms this. Verse 13; “And Haggai said, ‘If one who is unclean because of a dead body touches any of these, will it be unclean?’ So the priests answered and said, ‘It shall be unclean.’ Then Haggai answered and said, So is this people, and so is this nation before Me, says the LORD, and so is every work of their hands and what they offer there is unclean.’”
Let’s unpack this for just a moment. In scripture that which is unclean represents sin and death. Death is the natural result of sin. God said so back in Genesis chapters one and two. So if sin represents unclean and unclean represents being unholy, then the question posed by Haggai is this, If any one among the remnant of Israel is unclean because of sin, is the whole congregation also unclean.
This further implies that because of their unfaithfulness, their cherished sins, they had delayed in the construction of the temple and squandered the resources necessary for construction and kingdom growth, then they were an unholy people.
It goes back to the root of the cause that we saw when we first visited together on this. Their ungodliness and unfaithfulness, caused the people to sin. Their sins resulted in God withholding the blessing that could have been theirs. Even when they went about the work of Kingdom Growth, it was not affective. They cut down trees, tried to gather souls for the kingdom but the work was un-effective. Verse ten of chapter one states it this way. “Therefore the heavens above you withhold the dew and the earth withholds its fruit.” The dew referred here is the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit. When the Spirit of God is withheld all those souls that are won, the harvest is not what it could have been.
The reason the harvest is small is because within the hearts of the people, there is un-forgiven sin. Sin that is cherished, making all who come in contact unholy and thus unfit for service to their God.
We as churches, as congregations, as individuals have prayed and prayed and prayed for the outpouring the Holy Spirit but upon the land the dew is withheld. When confronted with the problem, we as churches and individuals have kicked the can down the street saying, “Let the next group take care of it.” The problem is we have kicked the can so often that our churches are dying, and the people are living in their well paneled houses continuing to think all is well, because they do not realize they are neither hot or cold. They fail to see what is really needed is total surrender of their heart and to put on the robe of Christ’s righteousness. They continue to take the name of Christ in vain.
But for every prophecy of whoa, every time there seems to be no hope God has a promise and we will look at that promise next time.