“Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: consider your ways! You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but do not have enough; you drink, but you are not filled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes” (Haggai 1:5-6).
A remnant of Israel returned home from captivity in 536 B.C. (Ezra 1-2). Haggai addressed them in 520 B.C., sixteen years later (Haggai 1:1). They had rebuilt their houses, but the temple had not been rebuilt. Notice: “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?” (Haggai 1:4); My house… is in ruins, while everyone runs to his own house” (Haggai 1:9). True, there had been opposition (Ezra 4). However, they were now procrastinating. Notice: “This people says, ‘The time has not come, the time that the LORD’s house should be built” (Haggai 1:2).
Therefore, God was not fully blessing them, as He wanted to bless them. Notice: “You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘Because of My house that is in ruins, while everyone runs to his own house. Therefore, the heaven above you withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit. For I called for a drought on the land and the mountain, on the grain and the new wine and the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands” (Haggai 1:9-11). Many of the promised blessings and cursings to Israel, under the old covenant, were physical in nature [e.g. Exodus 23:25-26; Leviticus 26:3-8, 14, 20; Deuteronomy 7:12-16a; 28:1-14, 15-68 (esp. vv. 38-40); 30:1-10].
It was time to build. The LORD instructed them, “Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified” (Haggai 1:8). They obeyed (Haggai 1:12-15), and were blessed (Haggai 2:15-19).
Some today have a Christianity full of holes. Consider: (1) Some hear God’s word, but do not put such things into practice (Matthew 7:24-27; James 1:22-23). (2) Some never study, never grow (Hebrews 5:12; 2 Peter 3:18). (3) Some claim to be Christians, but do not faithfully attend (Hebrews 10:24-25). (4) Some claim that they desire the church to grow and prosper, but they are not actively involved in the work, and only meagerly support the work (2 Corinthians 9:6).
Some churches are full of holes. Consider: (1) The whole counsel of God is not preached (Acts 20:20, 26-27). (2) Shepherds are not shepherding the flock (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Ezekiel 34:1-10). (3) Church discipline is not practiced (Matthew 18:15-17; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Titus 3:10). (4) Some have little zeal or passion; they have left their first love (Revelation 2:5). (5) Some do not have fervent love for one another (1 Peter 1:22; 4:8).
Some families are full of holes. Consider: (1) Some emphasize secular education, but not Biblical training (Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Ephesians 6:1-4; 2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15). (2) Some emphasize material things, but not spiritual things (Proverbs 11:4; Zephaniah 1:18; Mark 8:36-37; 2 Peter 3:10-111. (3) Some are not trying to help one another to heaven (1 Peter 3:1-7). (4) Some lack love (1 Corinthians 13:1-8a; Ephesians 5:25, 28; Titus 2:4) and forgiveness (Matthew 6:14-15; 18:21-35; Luke 17:3-4; Ephesians 4:31-32; Colossians 3:12-14).
Some people pursue things which really do not satisfy. Solomon said, “He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance with increase” (Ecclesiastes 5:10).
Johnny Ramsey once listed seven modern bags with holes (1) superficial responses; (2) Social club religion; (3) Preachers who seldom study; (4) Elders who fail to watch for souls; (5) Parents who stress material values; (6) Folks who postpone obedience; (7) Brethren who drift away from God” (Editors: Thomas Warren and Garland Elkins, The Minor Prophets, Power Lectureship, p. 271 quoting Johnny Ramsey, The Firm Foundation, February 25, 1986).
Can you think of others? No doubt you can.
Let’s get rid of all bags which lead to disappointment.