Haggai Part IV, 2:10-19

Here is short commentary on Haggai’s third sermon

Haggai 2:10-19 An Unclean People Blessed

Haggai’s third sermon contains an object lesson taken from the priesthood. (2:10-13) Haggai begins by asking, “What is transferable, holiness or uncleanness?” The priests answer that holiness cannot be transferred. If one is holy and touches something unclean, the unclean does not become holy. However, such is not the case with defilement. A defiled person transfers defilement to everything he touches. You can look at Leviticus 11:27-28 and 22:4-7 for the background to this passage. Haggai then drives home the point in verse 14. Israel was defiled. She could not be blessed by God because she was unholy. Her uncleanness was specifically seen in her refusal to build the temple. (c.f. 1:2-11)

Haggai then illustrates this more clearly by pointing to how God cursed Israel’s crops over the years when they refused to begin working on the temple. (2:15-17) He notes that while they procrastinated on building God’s house their crops were dismal. God made all their work futile. Yet they still refused to turn from their sin.

But now, under the preaching of Haggai, they have returned to the Lord. What is the evidence of this? They are now laying the stones to build the temple. (2:18) Therefore, now God will bless them. No longer will their crops be a failure, but now the vines, the figs and the pomegranates will be fruitful again. God will bless his people. What is striking about Haggai’s prophesy here is that the crops had not even been planted yet. The “seed was still in the barn.” (2:19)

• In order to be blessed by God we must be a holy people. (C.f. Hebrews 12:14) If we are unclean then it does not matter what good work we attempt it will be stained by our defilement. This holiness begins with the shed blood of Christ. Unlike the sacrifices of old, which were repeated because they did not permanently take away sin, Christ’s sacrifice is a once for all work, which totally removes our defilement. However, this does not mean we may go on sinning. Even in the new covenant, sin removes the blessing of God. The New Testament makes this clear. We must continue to confess our sins and mortify the sin in our life so that we might see God’s blessing upon us.

• One way we know we are growing in holiness is concern for God’s people. The physical temple from the Old Testament has been replaced by the people of God. (c.f. I Cor. 3:16-17 and 6:19) Haggai was telling Israel their concern for building God’s house was a sign of their repentance. True repentance is always followed by good works. (Luke 19:8) A person’s love for Christ and zeal for his glory is seen in how committed they are to his people. ( I John 4:20) How is your love for the people of God? Have you neglected the saints, like Israel neglected building the temple? Do you serve the people of God with joy? Do you lift them up in prayer regularly?