“So on your account, the skies have withheld the dew and the land its crops. I have summoned a drought on the fields and the hills… and on all that your hands produce.” (Haggai 1:10-11)
God spoke through Haggai the prophet after the exiles returned to Judah. The people planted much but harvested little. They had some food, drink, and clothes, but never quite enough. The Lord said through Haggai that the reason for this was because the people had said that was not the time to rebuild the Lord’s house. The question in response was stated this way, “Is it a time for you yourselves to live in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?” The Lord went on to say that He was the Author of the drought, and that it was brought about by their self-centeredness.
There is a great truth here we need to see. We would probably not want to turn this into an absolute principle for every situation because it was specifically related to the failure of the Judeans to rebuild the Lord’s temple, but even so there is still a principle in this event that is absolute: Supporting the Lord’s work is always a matter of committed faith.
The argument against rebuilding the temple was that they did not have the resources to do so. They felt they were just getting by themselves. They just barely had enough food, drink, and clothing. They were viewing their situation through black and white glasses, and what they needed to do was see things in color, which God provided through Haggai. The reason they were just getting by was because God sent the drought, and He did that because they were exercising fear rather than faith. They were acting in self-centered ways rather than God-centered ways. God was not calling on them to stop everything they were doing and focus only on rebuilding the temple. He was calling on them to exercise a committed faith to begin rebuilding the temple and keep at it until it was finished, while continuing to carry out their own family responsibilities. He wasn’t asking them to hurt their families. He was just calling on them to demonstrate trust.
This story had a great outcome. “Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, the high priest Joshua son of Jehozadak, and the entire remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the words of the prophet Haggai, because the Lord their God had sent him. So the people feared the Lord.” (verse 12) Exercising committed faith (we call that “obedience”) brings the blessings of the Lord.
Lord, Help us today to demonstrate a committed faith in our support of the work of Your kingdom. Amen.