God blesses those who walk in faithfulness and He shows favor to those who favor Him!
How do nations, families, individuals lose the blessing and favor of God? The prophet Haggai speaks to this, and the first reason he lists is that self-interests begin to replace God’s interests!
“The time has not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built” (Haggai 1:2). The Israelites gave up building the Lord’s house in order to build their own homes!
This scene took place sixty-eight years after Solomon’s temple was destroyed. A remnant had returned to Jerusalem out of Babylonian captivity specifically to rebuild God’s house. And, indeed, they laid the foundation of the temple with zeal and excitement!
But then they began running into some hard places—difficulties and discouragements. Slowly they lost interest in the work of God, saying, “This just isn’t the time. We are having too many problems. Besides, we’re spending so much time here that we’re neglecting our families and businesses.”
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.
How do believers today lose the blessing and favor of God? By stopping work on His temple! It happens when we stop praying and seeking God—when we stop building up His spiritual body!
Haggai points out this problem: When the people put God’s interests first, 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 prevailed against them. It was a marvelous time of God’s blessing but then the people became absorbed with their own self-interests!
This is what is happening today! Our world is consumed with self—self-pride, self-ambition, self-will—with every person out for his own interests! No wonder so many are drunk and dazed with drugs, wandering in darkness and confusion.
God says, “I called for a drought on the land . . . and on all the labor of your hands” (Haggai 1:11). He is saying, “If you begin to neglect your souls and turn to materials things, you will end up joyless, dissatisfied, empty, dry! I want you to put My interests first, so I can again bless and favor you!”