November 5th, 2021 – Haggai 1:5

Verse of the Day Devotion  Haggai 1:5  Now, therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts, “Consider your ways!  

Chapter one of Haggai speaks of the command from God to the Prophet Haggai for Israel to rebuild the Temple.  God starts off by saying the people though do not agree.  “Thus says the LORD of hosts, This people say, The time has not come, even the time for the house of the LORD to be rebuilt.” Haggai 1:2. He starts off remarking that Israel has declared the time has not come to rebuild the temple.  However, the Lord then asks a rhetorical question. “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house lies desolate?” Haggai 1:4.  This verse is a very pointed response. While they held their own wants and even their luxuries to be matters of importance in the moment, they thought any time would be suitable to attend to the claims of their God; that while their own homes had been regained, there was yet no habitation for the God of Israel; that while their wealthy members were using their superfluous means to adorn and beautify their dwellings, God’s dwelling-place still lay desolate, appealing in vain to their piety and patriotism, which had been overborne by selfishness. The allusion, moreover, could not fail to expose the insincerity of their excuses. Houses wainscoted with cedar were the residence of kings, and if some of them had now had access to such resources as enabled them to live in princely splendor, they might surely have reserved a portion for the requirements of the Temple, when the work of building it should be resumed, if that work had been of any concern to them.

Then the Lord tells the people, as written in our focus verse to consider their ways. The exact sense of the Hebrew is expressed more clearly when rendered, ‘Consider the ways of life’, ‘Give careful thought to your ways’ or ‘think carefully about your behavior’. The idea is to set the heart upon one’s ways, i.e., to consider one’s conduct, and lay it to heart. The ways are the conduct, with its results. “You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes.” Haggai 1:6. Look at what this is saying.  First, He says they plant more crops than they harvest.  Next, He says you have a little food to eat, but you are still hungry after having eaten. Third, in a mocking manner, saying you drink the wine from your grapes, but have not enough to get drunk on.  Also, you put on clothing but not enough to stay warm, and you earn wages put them in purses with holes in them. 

The cause of their financial difficulties was their wrong priorities. They suffered setback after setback because the blessing of God wasn’t on their pocketbook.  Haggai describes a double curse. Instead of much, little was reaped; and the little that was brought home melted away without doing any good. This is seen through the picture earning wages to be put into a bag with holes. These judgments were a fulfillment of promises God made hundreds of years before in the time of Moses. “Beware, lest your hearts be deceived and you turn away and serve other gods and worship them. Or the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you, and He will shut up the heavens so that there will be no rain and the ground will not yield its fruit; and you will perish quickly from the good land which the LORD is giving you.” Deuteronomy 11:16-17.

Now, as it was for the Israelites, it is important for us also to consider our ways, or as stated above, giving careful thought of our ways.  Are our priorities truly in order?  Do we look at what we do for ourselves above what we do for God?  Let us face reality.  If our priorities are wrong, nothing will satisfy us. Each accomplishment soon reveals that there must be something more, something that can really satisfy, Nothing fills the God-shaped void in our life except putting Him first. Do we put God first, or do we do His work when our desires are addressed?  Pray about this, listen to His response, and make the necessary changes to put God first, and then ourselves last.  It is difficult, but it is what we are called to do.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

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