Summary: Today I want to speak to you about God’s blessings. But before proceeding, we must define what a blessing from God is.
Today I want to speak to you about God’s blessings. But before proceeding, we must define what a blessing from God is. The word blessing, as it relates to a blessing from God, is defined as follows: “a thing conducive to happiness or welfare.” This is why on other occasions, I have explained that God's blessings are more spiritual than material. Now, why do I want us to explore this theme today? I want us to examine this issue because the reality is that there are many who don’t receive all of the blessings that God desires to give His people. Why don’t we receive them? Let’s now turn to the Word of God and study this issue in detail.
Haggai 1:2-9 - “Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, saying: ‘This people says, “The time has not come, the time that the LORD’s house should be built.”’” 3Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 4“Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?” 5Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways! 6“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.” 7Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways! 8Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,” says the LORD. 9“You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?” says the LORD of hosts. “Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house.
Like I always say, to have a better understanding of the message that God has for us today, we will need to conduct a brief history review. Around 586 BC, King Nebuchadnezzar invaded and conquered Jerusalem. The city was completely sacked and the Temple was completely destroyed. God’s people were taken captive to Babylon, and the captivity lasted for a period of seventy years.
This exile was a punishment from God because of the rebellion and idolatry of the people. Some fifty years after the fall of Jerusalem, Cyrus of Persia conquered Babylon, and the Babylonian empire ceased to exist. Around 538 BC, King Cyrus issued a formal decree that allowed the Israelites to leave their exile, and return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple. This is something that we find in Ezra 1:2 when we read: “…Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah…”
In the book of Ezra we also find that the first return was led by Zerubbabel, and that in 536 BC the work of rebuilding the Temple had begun with great enthusiasm, but that soon after it was stopped due Samaria’s threat. This is something that we find in Ezra 4:23-24 when we read: “…Now when the copy of King Artaxerxes’ letter was read before Rehum, Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem against the Jews, and by force of arms made them cease. 24Thus the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem ceased, and it was discontinued until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia…” It was during this time that Haggai’s ministry began; around 520 BC.
The book of Haggai is one of the last books of the Old Testament, and he is recognized as a minor prophet. The reason, as to why Haggai is recognized as a minor prophet, is not because his prophecies were less important than others. He is recognized as a minor prophet because of the size of the book. Something that is very important to note is that Haggai was one of the prophets who ministered to the Jewish people after their return from exile, and that he urged them to restore God’s Temple.
The problem that Haggai confronted was that in 534 BC, the rebuilding of the Temple was halted, and now some fourteen years later, the Temple was still not finished. I want us to pay close attention to the meaning of all of this; the work began in 536 BC with enthusiasm, but was stopped in 534 BC and now in 520 BC, the Temple had not been completed. This means that about sixteen years after starting the reconstruction, the people had failed to complete the project. Why hadn’t they finished? Let’s now continue our study today, to find out why they hadn’t finished the reconstruction, and at the same time, to discover the main reason why so many don’t receive all of the blessings that God wants to bestow upon His people.