Read Haggai 2:10-19
I was attending graduate school at night and working during the day at a company that made rubber products for the medical industry. We were having a particular problem with a specific blood tube stopper. Something about the rubber compound was causing a small percentage of the stoppers to pop off of blood tubes. This came in a day when our world was just beginning to understand the dangers of HIV. The possibility that even the most careful and most healthy of medical professionals might innocently come in contact with and contract the virus as a result of a popped stopper was unacceptable. When healthy people come in contact with a virus, the virus isn’t eliminated because the person is healthy, but the healthy person may contract the virus.
Haggai makes a similar point in today’s reading. Spiritual “cleanness” is not transmitted through physical contact, but spiritual “uncleanness” is passed along. Let’s translate that into their specific situation of the day. The fact that Jews were working on the holy temple of God did not make them holy. Meanwhile, their impurity could impact the sanctity of the temple itself. Verse 14 indicates that this had characterized the history and practice of the nation: “’So is this people. And so is this nation before Me,’ declares the LORD, ‘and so is every work of their hands; and what they offer there is unclean.’” There had been a need for cleansing. As a result, not only had the impact of their ministry been tainted, but God had also withheld His blessing from their harvest and from their supply (vv. 15-19)
Today, it is still true that God wants to use people who are walking in purity. Thankfully Paul reminded Timothy and us, “…if a man cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.” (2 Tim. 2:21) Personal cleansing makes us truly useful to the Lord. Are there impurities and unconfessed sin that are part of your life? Those things can hinder your ministry efforts from having the kind of God-glorifying impact that He desires. Cleanse yourself of those things today!