If you are willing to walk faithfully and sincerely with your Father, His blessings will follow you all the days of your life; if you are willing to show Him favor, love, devotion, He will show you favor, love, and devotion.
The prophet Haggai explained all this; he spoke on how nations, families, and individuals lose the blessings of Yahweh, and the first reason he listed is that self-interest replaced their fascination and interest in Him!
“These people say it’s not the right time to rebuild the house of Yahweh” (Haggai 1:2)
Yeah, that doesn't seem significant, but what He was pointing out is that the Israelites gave up building His house. Why? Easy, so they could build their own houses! They became more concerned about their own needs and put His needs on the back burner.
This all occurred sixty-eight years after Solomon’s temple was destroyed when a remnant of the people left Babylonian capture had returned to Jerusalem. The whole reason they were released was to rebuild God’s house! And, yes, when they began they were all fired up and excited. They were full of enthusiasm--just like we were when we first came to the Lord. They had even laid the Foundation of the temple!
Yeah, it was certainly a great beginning, but beginning to pay the bull dog! No siree! But then, they began to experience a few difficulties and became discouraged. Slowly, they lost their enthusiasm; they lost interest in Yahweh's work and what did they say?
“This just isn’t the time. We are having too many problems. God must not be leading this. Besides, we’re spending so much time here that we are neglecting our own families and businesses! Holy Moly! Jeepers, the Lord wouldn't want that, would He? Oh, sure, we will get 'er done eventually, just not right now!”
Oh, man! How many times have you said that?
One by one, they walked away to look after their own interests. The Lord’s interests, that had everything to do with their own well-being, became secondary! They began building their own houses and they used the lumber that had been stored up for building the temple.
The Lord looked at that and said:
"Is it time for you to live in your paneled houses while My house lies in ruins?"
Ouch! How do believers lose the blessing and favor of God? Well, I'll tell you: by discontinuing their work on His temple! It happens when we stop praying and seeking Him; when we stop building up His spiritual body; when we decide our kingdom is more important than His Kingdom!
Haggai points out this problem: When the people were willing to put the Lord's interests before their own, He provided their food and shelter. Indeed, they were cared for by Him in every way. "Their vineyards grew, their grapes were heavy; they slept peacefully at night and their children danced in the streets. None of their enemies were able to defeat them. It was a marvelous time of God’s blessing until they became absorbed with their own self-interests!
This same thing is happening in our churches today! Believers are beginning to imitate the world's self-pride, self-ambition, self-will — with every person out for his own interests! No wonder so many supposed believers are staggering around dazed, confused, wandering in darkness.
Our God is saying, “I called for a drought on the land . . . and a drought on all your hard work” (Haggai 1:11). He is saying:
“If you begin to neglect your responsibilities to Me and turn to materials things, spend all your energy and time establishing your own kingdom, you will end up without any joy, dissatisfied and empty, dry! I want you to put My interests first, so I can again bless and favor you!”
Once you simply devote yourself to Him, you won't have to make things happen, they will come together on their own. You will be amazed how productive you will become. It is not something you purposed and made to happen, it just happened. I can't tell you how many times my dear friend Tonua had testified to this. It is absolutely amazing that if you get your eyes off of your own concerns and focus on the Lord, He will make you more productive, you will work for efficiently, and you will find more time that is available to you.
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