Haggai 1: 6, 10 & 11, “Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit. And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.”
The above scriptures perfectly described the terrible situation of the children of Israel at about 520 BC, eighteen years after their return from exile in Babylon (538 BC). It was a time of turmoil, a time of toiling rewardlessly, a time of closed heavens. The people being in dire need of relief and not knowing how to come out their situation were privileged to be exposed to the message of Haggai, which exposed why they found themselves in such a situation and how to come out of it.
The major reason for their predicament was that the house of God which was destroyed at the time of the exile to Babylon was still in ruins, eighteen years after their return while the children of Israel were busy building mansions for their own comfort.
While it was perhaps in the heart of some to rebuild, there were dissenting opinions. External and internal oppositions did not allow the work to see reasonable progress. External oppositions included the activities of people like Sanballat and Tobiah but the greater opposition to the work was internal. That is, the people forgot the Lord who had graciously granted them release from exile and began to care for themselves to the detriment of their service for God. They forgot the Lord’s warning in Deuteronomy 6:12, “Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage” and stood liable for punishment. Their unfaithfulness caused the work of their hands to become unprofitable. The heavens over them was shut. They began to live in penury and their salvation and release from Babylon began to become nothing to celebrate.
Beloved, many believers today are beginning to question the reality of the victorious Christian life. They have begun to see that they have nothing to show their unbelieving colleagues of the faithfulness of the God we serve. The experiences of many today does not seem to be different from that of the Jews in the time of Haggai and if this is so, we must take a look at our Commitometer. We must begin to look again at our value for God and God-things. It may become clear to us that our travails have been occasioned by our forgetting our first love for God.
When last did you come to church early? How did you respond when you were confronted about late coming? When last did you not get angry but rejoicingly wanted to, or actually contribute when the pastor mentioned that money was required to get something done in church? When last did you visit the sick? When last did you go out for evangelism? When last did you give a good offering and pay your tithes? When last did you call or text your pastor to appreciate him or find out what you could do concerning an area of need in the church or even his personal life? When last and how did you say or shout ‘Amen’ or ‘Halleluiah,’ clap, dance and sing in church? The checklist is too long to be remembered or listed. The summary is ‘how committed to God are you and how far and well have you gone to prove it? ’
Beloved, if your heaven must be open,
- Have a heart for God. You must have a strong desire to live for and serve Him passionately. David rejoiced to be in the house of the Lord. You must repent of your God-forgetfulness. Stop talking yourself and refuse to allow others talk you out of God’s service. Turn back to God to live for Him.
- Be ready to do God’s bidding and to obey promptly. Be instruct-able. You have to be a person that is given to doing whatever God tells you quickly. God instructed them to go to the mountains to bring wood to build His house according to Haggai 1: 8 so He can take pleasure in them. God does require difficult but blessing-provoking things of us and when we choose to obey by painstakingly giving or heeding to God, we assuredly enter into a realm of unstoppable blessings. To go to the mountains suggest sacrificial giving. You must move yourself to give to God in a way that attracts heaven’s attention. Beloved, I sense we are in the season of abundance but this rain of abundance will fall only on those who build for God. The building of our International Worship Centre is ongoing. Be a part of it by all means and I know you will have revolving testimonies in Jesus name.
- Do all in faith. Do not give because the pastor forced you to do so. Give all by faith. Receive the call to give with joy. Give with pain in your pocket but with joy in your heart for God will never place a demand if He has no blessing to hand over.
When the children chose to and did obey the Lord to build the Lord’s house, God in Haggai 2: 19- 23, said, “from this day will I bless you…, I will shake the heavens and the earth; And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, everyone by the sword of his brother. In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee… and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts.”