This serious error of logic will deprive you of the best things.
And this error of judgment, from obtaining them.
But you will need the energy of faith to change things.
What is it about? That’s what we’ll consider in Haggai 1:9.
“You looked for much, and behold it was little; and when you brought it home, I blew upon it. Wherefore? says Jehovah of hosts. Because of My house that lies waste, while you run every man to his own house” (Haggai 1:9).
The Israelites hoped to be blessed regardless of the fact that the House of the Lord was devastated. All their work was done in the hope of obtaining a benefit from the great effort they put into it. But in spite of all their efforts, it was only a little!
Why? They certainly worked hard, but not to build the House of the Lord. And after a good day’s work, each one rested in his panelled house. And therefore, nothing was done for the House of God!
So the Lord deprived them of the blessing they were hoping for, in order to speak to their hearts—or rather their wallets—to draw their attention to this fact.
The Lord had not asked them their 110%—that is, to make a superhuman effort—but they should have given at least part of their time, their energy, their efforts, for the House of the Lord.
Here is the error of logic that they may have made; an error that we ourselves often make.
We think that if we give 100% of our effort to something, we will get a very good result. That if we give 80% of our effort, then we will get a lesser result, and so on.
But it’s not always like this, and even less so when it comes to the things of God.
They had worked hard, hoped for a lot, but there was little. Why? Because they had not put their efforts in the right place. The house of the Lord was devastated.
If they had put the things of God first, the Lord Himself would have taken care to give them not only what they needed, but they would have seen the blessing of “God who affords us all things richly for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6:17).
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).
If we give priority to the things of God, whether we are busy with studies or work, we know that our faithful God will take care of us. But in saying this, let us beware of a bargaining, give-and-take spirit, like Jacob’s. Let us not forget that we have been redeemed and that we belong entirely to Him.
We have said that the Israelites should have given some of their time. But it must be said that this is not exactly what the Lord is looking for from His redeemed. He does not want us to give part of what we consider to be our own, but rather to follow the example of the Macedonians who “gave themselves first to the Lord” (2 Corinthians 8:5). Yes, to “present [our] bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God” (Romans 12:1) so that we may be wholly consecrated to Him.
All members of the Body of Christ are necessary for its growth and proper functioning. Having possessions, time, energy, spiritual knowledge, or anything else is not enough. We must also use these resources to build, and for that we must first give ourselves to the Lord. Otherwise, we will use these resources for our personal purposes, and as a result, God’s house will not be built and we should not, then, be surprised at the absence or the lack of spiritual blessings around us, and in our lives.
We must first give ourselves completely to the Lord, and then bring to Him what we have. He will bless and multiply it to His glory, and we will see the blessing of God.
Despite the disappointing results, the Israelites came before the Lord with the little they had, so as not to come before Him empty-handed. But God did not accept it; He blew upon it. Their efforts served their own interests. Was the Lord going to be satisfied with the leftovers, so to speak? No, that was unacceptable.
If we want to be blessed spiritually, and bring our praise, thanksgiving, and worship into the presence of God, we must not make the same error of judgment. We must be active in the work of building the house of God.
We must realize that it is when we do as God tells us that we receive from the Lord the grace to walk faithfully according to His mind; in other words, the spiritual goods that we desire so much!
Indeed, we always receive from the Lord the graces we need in our daily circumstances, and in the service He has called us to do. The Lord responds to the real needs of the soul. Thus, if we are idle in the things of God, there will be no new graces, for we will “have need of nothing” (Revelation 3:17). But if we are active, the realisation of our needs will cause us to go to the throne of grace to obtain the resources necessary for our activity for the Lord. We will be enriched and grow spiritually.
In short, we will not grow spiritually and enjoy the spiritual blessings we have in Christ by running home every day. Rather, we will find ourselves with empty hands before God, or with very little, and let us not forget that obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). It is in active service for the Lord that we are spiritually blessed and enriched, individually and collectively.
To give ourselves entirely to the Lord, and to be active in the building up of His Assembly, we need the energy of faith. What does this mean?
Let’s face it: we are comfortable in our own homes. And the very thought of making such an effort is exhausting.
We must remember that our home is not here on earth, but in heaven. “We have not here an abiding city, but we seek the coming one” (Hebrews 13:14).
We must remember that there is a reward for everything that is done for the Lord. As Paul said to the Hebrews: “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which has great recompense” (Hebrews 10:35). We need patience and perseverance.
We must recognize that this age continually encourages the pursuit of pleasure and personal satisfaction. When we succumb to the pursuit of these things and put our resources into them, we embrace Satan’s lie and contribute to his system instead of building God’s house.
Very practically, if we do not seek and think about the things that are above, we will be occupied with the things that are on earth (cf. Colossians 3:1–2).
But here’s how to be victorious: “This is the victory which has gotten the victory over the world, our faith” (1 John 5:4). Faith makes us look beyond the appearance of present things and grasp with all our heart what God presents to us! This is the energy of faith! To look up and grasp the promises of God!
The Lord deprived the Israelites of the blessing they were hoping for because they worked for their own benefit and did nothing to build the house of the Lord. And the solution was not to work more for themselves, but to give themselves first to the work of God.
We too will be blessed spiritually, individually and corporately, to the extent that we live of the Lord and for the Lord, being active as a member of the body of Christ in the building up of “God’s house, which is the assembly” (1 Timothy 3:15).
Let us take courage. Let us look to Him. The Lord is coming!