Summary: God is able to encourage and enthuse us even when we are living in an unholy way
I have most of my report cards from grade 2 through to grade 12. In all of the reports there is a distinct pattern. I was much better at Maths and Science then I was at Spelling and English. Which is kind of ironic.
I hardly ever use any of the Maths and Science I learnt at school.
My whole job revolves around using English.
Which proves the point I am going to make really well.
You see we live in a world where people feel that they need to be good at everything.
And there are some people who feel like real failures when they struggle in one way or another.
Which makes life really hard and can really drain you if that is what you feel.
Because everyone always fails at something. In fact a lot of us fail in all sorts of ways.
But, when I was younger, my parents didn’t place unrealistic expectations on me. They gave me encouragement even in my failures. So even when I failed I could still feel energised.
My point here is that we can still be energised even when we fail.
That is a lesson so many of us need to hear and be reminded of.
And that is the focus of our message today because it is the focus of our Scripture passage.
Read Haggai 2:10-23
Now it might be a little difficult to see at the beginning. But what is happening here is that God is pointing out the weaknesses and the failures of the people.
The specific weakness God is focussing on is a lack of holiness.
How do we know holiness is the issue?
Because of the two questions which are asked about how the OT law works.
If a person carries consecrated (holy) meat in the fold of his garment, and that fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, oil or other food, does (that which has been touched) become consecrated (holy)?
In those days when sacrifices were made, part of the sacrificial meat was saved and eaten either by the priests or the Israelite bringing the offering. That meat would be holy because it had been part of the sacrifice – and to bring it home the meat would be carried in a fold in one's garment. When you get home you literally have something holy entering your house.
If that thing which is holy touches something else can that holiness be transferred? The priests answered, “No”. Holiness was not transferable in such a way. The priests are correct – or course – there is no law in the Bible where holiness is transferred.
So we come to the second question.
If a person is defiled (unholy) by contact with a dead body touches one of these things, does that which has been touched become defiled (unholy)?
Holiness is not transferable. What about being defiled … being unholy … is that transferable? The answer is easy to find.
Anything that an unclean person touches becomes unclean, and anyone who touches it becomes unclean till evening.
Lack of holiness, uncleanness, being defiled … it can all be transferred.
In one way that doesn’t make sense – think about it in terms of sickness and health.
If you're sick and you go out among people, you spread your sickness as you come in contact with people.