” ‘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.’ Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Consider your ways! Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,’ says the LORD. ‘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 every one of you runs to his own house.’ ” ~ Haggai 1:5b-9
The people of Judah had suffered through seventy years of Babylonian exile. Finally, they had been allowed to return to their homeland. Yet instead of spending their time rebuilding the temple of the LORD, which had originally been their earnest hearts’ desire, they had focused on their own needs and wants. ” ‘ “The time has not come, the time that the LORD’s house should be built.” ‘ ” ~ Haggai 1:2b
Sigh. How often do we do this ourselves? When our kiddos were small, we would tell them “maybe soon” when they asked for something that wasn’t convenient or able to happen right away. “Can we go to Grandpa’s house to see him?” “Maybe soon.” “Can I have a snack?” “Maybe soon.” It was easier than “Not right now”, and “soon” usually came, sooner or later!
“I know God wants me to do this for Him, but I don’t have time right now ~ maybe soon.”
“I know we should be tithing more, but the budget is so tight that we just cannot spare it right now ~ maybe soon.”
“I know God has called me to this, but I’m not ready and need more preparation ~ maybe soon.”
Notice, these are things we know in our hearts that God has told us to do. Yet we are choosing to put it off. Oh, we may think our intentions are good. “Maybe soon” usually comes, “sooner or later”, but what blessings are we missing out on while putting off what God has called us to do now? What consequences are we suffering, thinking ourselves wise? And what if “maybe soon” never happens? What if we ignore God’s instructions and never obey His calling? May that never be! “Consider your ways!”
“Then Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him; and the people feared the presence of the LORD. Then Haggai, the LORD’s messenger, spoke the LORD’s message to the people, saying, ‘I am with you, says the LORD.’ ” ~ Haggai 1:12-13
Once the people heard God’s rebuke, delivered by His messenger Haggai, they obeyed and feared the LORD. The Hebrew word used here, yare’, means “to fear, stand in awe, reverence, honor, respect”.
Are we ready and willing to obey, honor, and respect the LORD our God, and His instructions for our lives? Will we put our faith in action?
When the people’s hearts changed, when they chose to obey and fear God, God gave them this message: “I am with you.” Wow. Is there any better reassurance they could have received? The Great I AM was with them!
We also have the Great I AM with us. What has God called you to do, to give, to surrender?
“…to obey is better than sacrifice…” ~ 1 Samuel 15:22b
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.’ ” ~ Matthew 28:18-20
” ‘Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works…’ ” ~ Revelation 2:4-5a