DATE WRITTEN: Tuesday, 2020-12-22
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS
BIBLE REFERENCE: Haggai 1:4-7
TRANSLATION: The Voice (VOICE)
BIBLE TEXT: 4 Do you think the time is right for you to live in secure and lavishly covered homes when My house still lies in a heap of rubble? 5 Think very carefully about your choices. 6 You have planted a large crop, but your harvest is small. You have food to eat, but it is never enough to satisfy. You have something to drink, but you are never filled. You have clothes to wear, but they are not enough to keep you warm. You earn a salary, but the money runs out quickly, as if there are holes in your pocket. 7 Think very carefully about your choices.
OBSERVATION: It is popular to remind Christians about the blessings that will flow from their giving, but seldom do we hear about the affects of not giving in return for the countless blessings that God bestows on us. However, God had such a conversation through His servant Haggai for his people at Jerusalem, and it was pointed enough to impact me, so I hope that it may also hit close to home for my readers.
APPLICATION: This is a challenging subject to write on, because it hits very close to home long before I could share my thoughts with you and allow it to impact you. You see, I was brought up taking a quarter to place in the offering plate at church. After a few years, I remember that amount increasing to a dollar bill, but never any greater. I won’t dare question whether my parents had more to give us and chose to give less, because their finances were never discussed with the kids. However, by the time I started attending high school, I went to a church that taught tithing a minimum of 10% of my income! After I started working, I remember writing that first tithe check and comparing it to the one dollar bill that I gave prior to that. Wow, what a discussion Satan had with me on that subject! Later in my life, I remember sitting in revival services and being asked to take my wallet out and hold it. The speaker then reminded us that God gave us everything contained in that wallet, so why would we hold back His future blessings by being stingy with the amount we give. I remember looking at my budget, which was already strained, and questioning God as to how would I possibly make this work if I gave 10% of my gross salary. God convinced me that He would bless me as I chose to give freely and happily to Him and His work. I remember times where Satan really used very tight budgeting constraints to try and have me change my tithing, but as soon as I drew closer to God, He convinced me that He was more than able. I apologize for the long personal experiences, but when I read this passage today, I believe that God drew those memories to mind, and I hope they may help you in your spiritual and financial journey. In the Scripture today God acted upon a people that had their priorities wrong. They had money for everything else, except their giving for the ongoing work of the Kingdom. Friends, I can tell you from a church perspective how challenging it becomes for a church to accomplish all they feel God placing before them to do, when the income is just not there. And this sounds much like the situation God recognized with the Israelites and their priority for maintaining His church. I am also aware that many families are struggling, and it sounds an awful lot like what the Israelites faced in the examples given by God in verse 6 of our Scripture. Unfortunately, I could also tell you of many who take care of their personal pleasures first and then, possibly give to God a small portion of what’s left over. Please Brothers and Sisters, know that our Scripture today is showing us that God’s work suffers when: we withhold giving of tithes from our income; when we do not acknowledge that it’s God that we are holding out on when we choose not to give biblically; when we look for excuses why we can’t give a percentage of our income – no matter what that income might be. Friends, I pray that God will forgive me if I walked over the line in judging, but I sincerely pray that He will touch the hearts of His children today and help them see how their mediocracy in giving, results in mediocracy in His blessings. May He never have to discipline us like detailed in verse 6 above, in order to get our attention on giving of the income that He blessed us with. I believe that the God who loves us unconditionally, desires to bless His children beyond anything we could understand or imagine. May we be careful not to place any stumbling blocks that would cause Him to withhold His wondrous blessings.
PRAYER: Lord You are so good to me, and I’m sure You are especially good to many who claim You as Lord and Master. Thank You for getting our attention about the impact of not giving, and reminding us of the blessings You bestow every day on us so that we might give. Lord I pray that You will get the attention of all who might read this devotional. I pray that You will get the attention of those who have chosen not to give generously and willingly to Your work. Please show them Your mighty works and remind them of Your love for them. May each one search deeply inside and put away the excuses they have developed, if they are not giving in line with Your wishes. Praise God we can’t out-give You, for Your awesome love is shown in so many ways. Thank You Heavenly Father for loving and blessing in so many wonderful and surprising ways. Please teach us to love You enough in return that we will give without hesitation to Your work. AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog at https://NuggetsFromGodsWord.org that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading or listening to this devotional, please go to the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and see all of my posts, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!