Give Careful Thought to Your Ways
I love talking about minor prophets like Haggai. It’s not all about Isaiah and Jeremiah, people! There are only two chapters in Haggai, but this prophet had a powerful punch for a people whose priorities had gotten out of whack.
When the first exiles returned from Babylon, they laid the foundation of the temple, but due to opposition from their enemies, the work came to a halt. Sixteen years later, the Lord begins to speak through Haggai in chapter 1 verse 2:
These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the LORD’s house.’
Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?
God calls out the exiles on their priorities. Initially, they put God first, but they had allowed opposition and their own doubts and self-interest turn them away. It was easier to focus on their homes and their crops and their families. Not that none of that is important. But as God warns them several times: “Give careful thought to your ways.”
He asks His people to pause and reflect on where they are and where they are going, emphasizing that their priorities affect the fruit of their lives.
In Haggai 1:4, He continues:
You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.
Sometimes, God gets our attention through our circumstances. Even though the Jews lost their focus, He doesn’t give up on them; He redirects them to their ultimate goal: to please and honor Him.
In response to Haggai’s words, the governor of Jerusalem, the high priest, and the rest of the people chose to obey. Then comes the promise from God in verse 13: “I am with you.” This stirs up the spirits of the people to work on the house of the Lord, even though their affairs aren’t in order.
God is faithful with little. He is faithful with chaos. He is faithful with you. Now, I don’t want to imply that if you check all the boxes with God, you’ll automatically have an abundance of money or other things. And I don't want to imply that it’s a punishment if things aren’t going well. When you feel like your life isn't going right, it's simply an opportunity to check in with God and trust Him in a new way. If you trust God so you can get something out of it, that defeats the purpose.
In the end, it's a process of prioritizing. Is God first in your life? If He's not, what's in the way? Why is it in the way? These are questions we should never stop asking ourselves as we continue to seek and embrace God’s love for us and choose to love Him in return.