Now then, consider from this day onward. Before stone was placed upon stone in the temple of the Lord, how did you fare? When one came to a heap of twenty measures, there were but ten. When one came to the wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were but twenty. I struck you and all the products of your toil with blight and with mildew and with hail, yet you did not turn to me, declares the Lord. Consider from this day onward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month. Since the day that the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid, consider: Is the seed yet in the barn? Indeed, the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have yielded nothing. But from this day on I will bless you.” Haggai 2:15-19, ESV.
The people heard God’s Word from the prophet Haggai. After long neglecting the work on the temple, they had finally returned to the work. In our passage today God speaks again. This time it is to remind them of His grace. His basic message is this: Before they returned to work, nothing was going right because God was against them. Even so, they did not get the hint and kept on in their sin for 16 years. Now they are back to work and things still look pretty bad (no grapes, figs, pomegranates, or olives). Nonetheless, God is about to bless them.
Sin brought them dire consequences. Even when they stopped sinning, the consequences did not change. It was only when God declared, “from this day on I will bless you,” that things would change. The people of Israel were not able to relieve the consequences of their past sin with their current obedience. Neither are we. We are utterly dependent on the grace of God to bring about good in our lives. We should obey Him because He is worthy of obedience, as Creator and Savior. But obedience never balances out disobedience. Only the grace of God can remove the consequences of sin.
This Old Testament passage reminds us that we need a Savior. We need one who will, by an act of pure grace, deal with the consequences of our sin. We need one who is righteous and can reckon us as righteous while we are yet sinners. We need Jesus. We need Him as our hope of heaven, and we need Him as our hope for abundant life here on earth and blessings today.
Today I pray that you will obey the Lord, simply because He is worthy. I also pray that you will lean hard on Christ, trusting in His grace and knowing that true blessings are found only in Him.