I have been believing for some time now, and have been telling people whenever I have a chance, that the church is following the wrong covenant; the old one God made with the people of Israel at Mt. Sinai. The church today has bought into the idea that if we obey God He will bless us.
Here is an introduction to Haggai written by Kay Arthur:
“Obedience” is a word missing from the vocabulary of many people today. Yet it is the key to blessing. When God have His commandments, statutes, and ordinances to His people, He had one objective—obediance! They were give for their good.
Among those commandments were statutes regarding the Sabbath. God instructed the children of Israel through Moses to observe a Sabbath once they entered the land He planned to give them. Six years the people could sow fields, prune vineyards, and gather crops, but during the seventh year they were commanded to let the land rest—a Sabbath to the Lord (Lev. 25:1-7).
God warned them if they chose not to obey, He would punish them seven times for their sins, lay waste their cities, make their sanctuaries desolate, scatter them (Lev. 26:27-35). God meant business. If they obeyed, He would punish them until the land enjoyed its Sabbath.
At the same time, God promised that if they would humble themselves before Him, confess their iniquity, and make amends, He would remember His covenant with them and not reject or destroy them (Lev. 26:40-60).
Moses was faithful to give these words to the children of Israel. So they knew what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. But they ignored the words God had spoken. The Lord sent prophet after prophet to remind them of what He had said, but they chose not to listen to his spokesman. Therefore, God had one one option—to punish them for their own good, for blessings can never come apart from obedience.
Kay Arthur has captured in these four paragraphs the essence of the Old Covenant—if you obey me, I will bless you, and if you disobey me I will punish you.
But before I quote the last paragraph of this introduction, listen to these words.
“If the first covenant (the one I made with their ancestors when I took them our of the land of Egypt) had been faultless there would be no need for a second covenant to replace it. But God himself found fault with the old one (Heb. 8:7). When God speaks of a new covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and ready to be put aside.” (Heb. 8:13). The verses between 8:7 and 8:13 are a quote from Jer. 31:31-34.
“Replaced, “made obsolete,” and “put aside.” Does the writer of Hebrews believe the church is under the Old Covenant any longer? Could anyone who wrote this believe the church is being treated by God the same way he dealt with Israel?
Kay Arthur writes, “Do you realize that because God is God, because he never changes, He deals with us today as He did with the children of Israel? We have His Word—the Bible. We can know what God wants us to do, and how we are to live so the He might open the windows of heaven and pour out out his blessings upon us. No book in the entire Bible illustrates the rewards for obedience and the penalties for disobedience in a more powerful and profound way than the book of Haggai.”
So there it is: Obedience leads to blessings. I wonder how many times that sermon has been preached in churches across America? Far to many I am afraid. Far, far to many.