Secrets to God’s Blessings
Scripture: Haggai 1:1-3:23, Psalm 68
Many people needlessly spend too much effort worrying, working and wrestling with things without the blessings of God. Haggai’s message to the people taught them how to get their priorities straight. He gave them a word from God that reversed their demoralizing ways and motivated them to engage in God’s work. Like these people we often place too much emphasis on our own concerns forgetting to put God’s work, will and worship first. When God is pleased with our priorities He promises to empower, guide and enable us to enjoy His supernatural blessings. Let us learn key principles of participating in God’s abundant blessings.
As a minister was addressing a group of men, he took a large piece of paper and made a black dot in the center of it with a marking pen. Then he held the paper up before the group and asked them what they saw. One person quickly replied, “I see a black mark.” “Right,” the preacher replied. “What else do you see?” Complete silence prevailed. “Don’t you see anything other than the dot?” he asked. A chorus of noes came from the audience. “I’m really surprised,” the speaker commented. “You have completely overlooked the most important thing of all—the sheet of paper.” Then he made the application. He said that in life we are often distracted by small, dot-like disappointments or painful experiences, and we are prone to forget the innumerable blessings we receive from the hand of the Lord. But like the sheet of paper, the good things are far more important than the adversities that monopolize our attention.
This reminds me of a bit of verse which, though I admit is somewhat trite, does express good practical advice. Someone has written: “As you travel down life’s pathway, may this ever be your goal:/ Keep your eye upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole!”
Yes, rather than concentrating on the trials of life, we should fix our attention upon is blessings. Let us say with the psalmist, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits” (Psalm 68:19). –
R.W.D. Our Daily Bread, March 10
1. Blessings are missed because we fail to put God’s purpose, priorities and plans first. (Hag. 1:4)
Haggai spoke to the people calling them back to God’s values. "Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins?" (Hag. 1:4) Many people fail to realize they are living displeasing lives and so fail to repent of their sins of omission. Whatever is not done out of faith is sin. James writes, "If anyone knows the right thing to do but fails to do it for him it is sin." (James 4:7)
Illustration: Be Encouraged
The next time you feel like God can’t use you, just remember...
1. Noah was a drunk.
2. Abraham was too old.
3. Isaac was a daydreamer.
4. Jacob was a liar.
5. Leah was ugly.
6. Joseph was abused.
7. Moses had a stuttering problem.
8. Gideon was afraid.
9. Sampson had long hair and was a womanizer.
10. Rahab was a prostitute.
11. Jeremiah and Timothy were too young.
12. David had an affair and was a murderer.
13. Elijah was suicidal.
14. Isaiah preached naked.
15. Jonah ran from God.
16. Naomi was a widow.
17. Job went bankrupt.
18. John the Baptist ate locusts.
19. Peter denied Christ.
20. The Disciples fell asleep while praying.
21. Martha worried about everything.
22. Mary Magdalene was, well you know.
23. The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once.
24. Zaccheus was too small.
25. Paul was too religious.
And God isn’t finished with you yet. You are a vessel He will and can use, if you make yourself available as each of the above did.
2. Blessings are missed because people fail to remember God’s will, word and ways. (Haggai 1:7-11)
Haggai urged the people in Jerusalem that the work of God was neglected, overlooked and considered as a lower priority their own concerns. Haggai spoke, "This is what the Lord Almighty says: Consider how things are going for you!... You hoped for rich harvests, but they were poor. That is why the heavens have withheld the dew and the earth has withheld its crops. I have called for a drought to starve both you and your cattle and to ruin everything you have worked so hard to get." (Haggai 1:7-11)
God has the ability to withhold His blessings to the disobedient. Fear the Lord you His saints for to those who fear Him there is no want. The young lions lack and suffer hunger, but they who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing. (Psa 37)
Jeremy Taylor was a 17th-century English cleric who was severely persecuted for his faith. But though his house was plundered, his family left destitute, and his property confiscated, he continued to count the blessings he could not lose. He wrote: "They have not taken away my merry countenance, my cheerful spirit, and a good conscience; they have still left me with the providence of God, and all His promises … my hopes of Heaven, and my charity to them, too, and still I sleep and digest, I eat and drink, I read and meditate. And he that hath so many causes of joy, and so great should never choose to sit down upon his little handful of thorns." Our Daily Bread 10th October, 2008
4. God’s blessings are often missed when people stumble in their discouragements.
Haggai helped the people overcome their intertia with a strong authoritative word from the Lord. It often takes listening to a person of God who inspires us to act and break out of our ruts. Haggai was a task oriented leader but God used him in a complementary fashion with Zerubbabel, a religious priestly authority. Haggai’s major influence came not through a political position but through God’s giftedness. He overcame excuses that were given about building the temple as there had been a delay for 16 years.
5. God’s blessings are often missed unless people gain supernatural perspective.
Haggai gave the people divine perspective on what was happening to them economically, politically and agriculturally. When people are able to see their circumstances from the eyes of God they are apt to reverse their course. People began to fear God more than anything else and started to obey Him. "Blessed is the man who fears the Lord who greatly delights in His commands. He will not fear when the evil day comes because his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. I have never seen the righteous go hungry or his seed begging for bread." (Psa 112) Learn to use God’s word to head off excuses, discouragements and detours that people may throw in your face.
May the mind of Christ our Savior live in us in everyway. By His love and power controlling, all that we do and say. And may His promise be sufficient for everything pertaining to life and godliness so that we do not start to rely on our own insights. (2 Pet 1:3,4) (Prov 3:5,6) It is enough to know, do and believe the will of God as we live and move and have our greatest blessings in allowing the life of Christ to flow out of us like a river of living water.