Consider Your Ways
The captives returned to their homeland after the captivity cured of idolatry. However, as they began the rebuilding process they became too focused on material things. Haggai had a message for the people of his day that is very much needed in our day. The people were greedy and they left God out of their lives or relegated Him to a place of lesser importance than His greatness deserved. When will people ever learn that things do not satisfy? Only God can meet the needs of an empty heart. The psalmist wrote, "My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?" (Psalm 42:2) Haggai wanted his people to understand the stupidity of selfishness. God's people must overcome greed with contentment. In Hebrews 13:5 we read, "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Haggai was bold and very much to the point in his teaching.
Greed causes us to think about ourselves and to forget about God. "The All-Powerful Lord said to His people, You say this isn't the right time to build a temple for me. But is it right for you to live in expensive houses, while my temple is a pile of ruins? Just look at what's happening." The people cared about pleasing themselves and they would build the Temple when it was convenient for them. Haggai spoke very boldly is saying that we must see to it that the right things are always first in our lives. Haggai tied to emphasize the duty of the people to God. He urged them to put God first in their lives. Haggai believed that a person's actions demonstrated his love or lack of love for God.
Greed has awful effects -- Haggai 1:1-6: If we are greedy for things it takes us away from God. Greed also leads to pride. Greed caused the people to push God down to a place of lesser importance in their life. They were concerned only about getting more. They would wait and build God's Temple later. We must have a correct attitude toward our possessions. It is easy to do what is wrong, but it is just as easy to do what is right. It is just a matter of choice. We must take care not to put our own interest before God. Think of what could be accomplished for God if we would give generously instead of using what we have selfishly. Harm is actually brought to our lives by selfishness. Haggai said, "You harvest less than you plant, you never have enough to eat or drink, your clothes don't keep you warm, and your wages are stored in bags full of holes." (Haggai 1:6) The greedy never find real satisfaction or contentment of heart. Paul wrote, "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:11-13) Many are putting their wages in bags filled with holes. Is the time right for you to serve God and really make some sacrifices for His cause?
Consider your ways -- Haggai 1:7-8:-8: God told the people to listen to His words and take actions on what He said. "Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD." (Haggai 1:7-8) When we are willing to forget about ourselves, we can honor God in our life. Our main goal and the focus of our actions must be to honor God. Whatever it takes to get God's work done, do it! These people were to take action by going to the mountain to collect the materials to build the Temple. When they took action God would be happy and He would also be glorified. The main issue of Haggai's prophecy is to honor God in actions. The particular action in the case at hand was the rebuilding of the Temple. We must never be content until we are doing the will of God.
See how much we need God -- Haggai 1:9-11: Our failure to obey God makes it impossible for Him to bless us. These people expected much, but received only a little. Even the little that they had would soon disappear without God. The reason this happened was because they put their own needs, wishes and desires before Him. God did not allow the earth to be fruitful for them. He said, "At my command everything will become barren--your farmland and pastures, your vineyards and olive trees, your animals and you yourselves. All your hard work will be for nothing." They should have already known this because in Deuteronomy 11:13-17 we read, "And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil. And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full. Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; And then the Lord's wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the Lord giveth you." A failure to put God first leads to an awful fate. He finds ways to show us how much we need Him. (Haggai 1:9-11) You can work hard, but without God's blessings it comes to nothing. In this case God stopped the rain and prevented the land from being productive. God wanted it understood that things do not provide security. Only God provides security. When we focus on things our heart is not set on God.
There is hope when we obey -- Haggai 1:12-15: The people decided to listen to the message delivered by God's messengers, the prophets. "Zerubbabel and Joshua, together with the others who had returned from exile in Babylonia, obeyed the Lord's message spoken by his prophet Haggai, and they started showing proper respect for the Lord. When they decided to build the Temple God's prophet gave them hope. When they showed a willingness to obey the Lord Haggai assured them that the Lord was with them. "The Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the Lord of hosts, their God." God used the prophets to stir the hearts of the people to do the work. The work began on the twenty-fourth day of that same month. God is a great rewarder of faithful service. The initiative must be taken and enthusiasm must be maintained to put God first. The Temple should have been built before they built their own ceiled houses. Consider your ways
Those that serve God are blessed and those that rebel are punished. Is it your desire to see the will of God done? If so it is time to become a Christian now! To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) After baptism follow Jesus in faithfulness as He leads you home to heaven. (Revelation 2:10)10)