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Consider Your Ways

Weekly Devotionals

Consider Your Ways

Haggai 1: 5 – 11 (NASB)

5 Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways.6 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.”

7 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord. 9 “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. 10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11 I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.

This past Spring, I read through what is known as the Minor Prophets: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.  Perhaps because I was also reading the corresponding chapters from 66 Love Letters, all twelve books struck me very powerfully this time around.  One of the main themes of 66 Love Letters is the entire Bible is ONE story – not an “Old” and “New” Testament where the “Old” testament was for generations past and the “New” testament is the only relevant books to us today.  Nor is it a collection of Major and Minor prophets, often interpreted to mean that the Major prophets are important and the Minor prophets are not.  From this context, I could hear God’s voice and story more clearly through the minor prophets – He loves us, can’t desert us, see that we need Him, turn to Him, which only through Christ can we truly do both, and then join Him in the party that He has planned for us from the beginning of time.

So when was the last time you read Haggai?  It’s only two chapters (I think this is another reason why I relished reading the Minor Prophets ;)).  It’s short so gets to the point very quickly – “Give careful thought to your ways” and He says it twice.  The whole two chapters is about building God’s temple before building our own house.  This seems to be a natural inclination for us humans, especially once we get married and start having children.  So, is God saying to forsake our responsibilities to ourselves and families for basic shelter?  Absolutely not.  As always, God is more concerned with our hearts.  Losing yourself, self deprecation is a very Eastern way of thought (detachment philosophy).  Perhaps this is why we hear of many Christians in Korea burning out or even neglecting their families for the church.  This is not what God is asking of us.  He never wants us to lose our sense of self. What he is saying is don’t build your identity on things built in this world.  Is your identity built on a bigger and nicer apartment in a better more affluent neighborhood?  Is your identity built on your occupation – either inside or outside the home?  What would happen to you if these foundations were no more or no longer under your control?  In Haggai, God urges us to build His temple before all else.  Let’s build our lives upon the foundation of God and the gracious identity that He has gifted us. Sometimes this can be unclear or downright unknown to us.  I encourage you step out in faith and claim the identity that is already yours.  Finally, I’ll end with this Word from Haggai 2: 4 – 5 – replace the names with your own.  May it give you strength and boldness.

4 But now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord. ‘Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty. 5 ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’