He Consecrated – ( He consecrated, He struck, He chose)
Here we hear the words from the Lord as very different…the Lord opens with instructions to ask the priests a question. Two scenarios presented for the priests to give an answer to the conundrum. If something is consecrated, will it make anything it comes in contact with as holy and consecrated, simply with vicinity? Then the second query, will something defiled make all that touches it defiled?
If I were a priest in the day I would be thinking…”Oh! I’ve got this one! Let me answer!” They are not tricked or fooled; this is once again a question posed which has the support of the law. “Of course it is not consecrated! And— YES! It would be defiled! That’s easy, give us another one.” But then Haggai keeps going….
To spoil, degrade, taint, ruin the purity of……I looked up synonyms of defile and these are what I found. This brings forth such an unpleasant image in my mind. Simply the word “spoil” has the connotation for me of human feces, really one of the nastiest, most contaminated substances I know. I am a bit of a germaphobe, I make sure that my hands touch nothing in a public restroom for fear that whatever is contaminated will contaminate me. We live by these mores of dirty will make the clean, dirty, right? But we would never consider that clean can make dirty clean with simple vicinity.
A simple picture could be holding a child’s hand. The child’s hand is filthy and sticky. My hand is very clean. As I hold the child’s hand…my hand becomes dirty, their hand will not become clean!
Why is this analogy placed here in Haggai while these people are in the process of obeying and building the temple? Remember, God always speaks to the heart, when we tend to see only the outward. He is speaking to the heart of the human condition; we are spoiled, defiled, tainted, and unclean. We are plagued by this uncleanliness; we cannot escape. Our plague is contagious. Yet, we have this word “consecrated” in the message as well.
Consecrated: To set apart, sanctify, make holy…I see clearly that these words are polar opposites. Not only are the definitions opposite, but also the process by which they are obtained is opposite. Our human condition, defiled, cannot be remedied by simply being in the right place! Sanctification towards holiness is a job only the Holy Spirit can do within our hearts.
Are you attempting to remove your stains? This is the Lord’s job.
The text specifically states, “then the word of the Lord came.” The people falsely believe it is not time yet, they have their own plan, they have a priority list BUT then the Word comes to them. To me, every time in scripture I see the “Word of the Lord came”…I am struck with sobering thoughts of God’s power and persistence. He knew their thoughts, He saw their efforts, He heard their priorities….and His word came to them. He comes. He always comes. No matter where our hearts are…He will always come!
Somehow my mind goes drifting to a picture of words floating across the sky and resting in their view or maybe even hitting them upside the face! His Word, His living Word, the very breath of His being (2 Timothy 3:16) comes to us. Just as it came to them. Jesus is the word that came, comes, and is to come! These words that came and confronted not just their actions and thoughts but their deep motivations of the heart. I find it awesome that He always addresses the motivations of hearts, we think the issue is rebuilding the temple and He cuts right to the heart of the matter…. I want to be your priority. I want to be with you! My Word comes.
What are the motivations of your heart as your prioritize your day, your year, your life? Where do you incorrectly say, “I will get to that next?”
The Word comes, every day, every minute…do we hear it?