“Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean. Then answered Haggai, and said, So is this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the Lord; and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean.” – Haggai 2:13-14
In the Old Testament there were certain things that were considered unclean and because of this they were limited or prohibited. These things were never handled carelessly less they spread disease or bring a curse, making you unclean by them also. Therefore, the handling of these things required seeking God, and obeying His direct and specific instructions concerning them. Because of this these items were often used as archetypes for sin.
In the above mentioned passage Haggi was addressing the spread of sin in the camp by way of disobedience, compromise, and the callous bringing in of unclean and sinful things into the house of Israel. If one unclean thing touches that which is clean, then the whole thing is unclean in the eyes of God. This was a warning to Israel who had allowed idols, sin, and rebellion (which is as the sin of witchcraft) into their land, temples, homes, and hearts, all while still claiming to honor God and performing His sacred works. They thought they could have their sin and God would overlook it if they just kept up their sacrifices and churchly facades. Of course this infuriated God because of the shame and reproach that it brought to His Name, His temple, and His Holy people.
For all the same reasons this is also a dire warning to the modern church. All too often now we see compromise in the church, there is so much of the world in the church today that it’s hard to tell the difference one from the other. God hates compromise, He hates disobedience, He hates those that lay stumbling blocks before His children and esteem the things of the world of greater value then Him and the things of Him. He hates when we are encouraging others to step outside of His Will and His Holiness. After all, if we are truly honest with ourselves then we have to admit that compromise is just a softer sweeter word for “disobedience”, for it is not God that you are compromising with, but Satan. If you allow one single unclean thing in your ministry, church, or service then the whole thing is unclean to God.
“Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” – Galatians 5:7-9
Finally, like Israel and the church, it’s also a warning to us as individuals. We are called and commanded by God to be different, to be set apart, to be the light of the world, and above all, to be obedient. Though He calls us to love and to minister to sinners and to the world, He never calls us to be part of them. This means that you can not date or hang out with sinners on a regular bases are the unclean thing with contaminate you and you will eventually become unclean. In other words, you will not lift them up, they will only bring you down. Now, of course we will have encounters and sup with sinners to show them God’s love and a better way, but we will not make them our companions, our best friends, our everyday hangout buddies, less bad company corrupt good morals (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Of course on a personal level it goes far deeper then simply the people you hang out with. It also encompasses the places you go, the things you do, say, listen to, and put into your body. It encompasses the rejection of that small still voice inside you that is convicting and trying to guide you into all righteousness. It encompasses all manner of compromise, disobedience, and unrighteousness. We can not stand in opposition to the will of God and be called His own. We must put our full trust in Him and lay aside all that is displeasing to Him. We must be separate from the world, the things and the desires of it, esteeming Him a greater treasure then all the world has to offer. Only then will He receive us.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” – 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.” – Hebrews 11:24-26