… from this day forward I will bless you. Haggai ii, 19b
Who doesn’t want to hear this from God? Everyone who goes through a ‘dark night of the soul’ wishes to hear that his/her season of failure and sorrows has come to an end. The past is past. Behold, from this day forward, I will bless you.
The Jews who returned from a long exile in Babylon had set out to build their Temple to offer worship to God. They put first things first. However, due to various reasons, they couldn’t make progress beyond the laying of a foundation for the new structure. Soon, the Jews got entangled in their own projects. They built paneled houses for themselves and settled down to live life as usual. Eighteen years went by before God sent Haggai and Zechariah to reprimand them about their lackadaisical attitude towards the Temple that was lying in ruins.
The neglect of worship and spiritual things brought ruin to those Jews. They sowed much but harvested little. They ate and drank but were never satisfied. They wore clothes but did not feel warm. They earned a lot; but there was nothing to show! (i, 6) When Haggai pointed out their poor economic condition and linked it with their neglect of the Temple of God, the people repented. God was very pleased to see them turn around to gather timber and stone for the Temple. From that very day – the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month of the second year of King Darius – three months after Haggai first spoke up, God began to bless them.
The God whom we serve has the power to touch us where it hurts. But when we pay attention, he lifts His heavy hand from us and begins to bless us. It is not for us to guess who is under God’s discipline and who is under God’s favor unless we receive a word from God regarding the matter. But it is our duty to introspect, during hard times, to see whether God is trying to get our attention. Who knows? God might shower his favour upon you when you decide to obey Him today. “From this day forward, I will bless you!”