Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. – Haggai 1:5 NIV
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Bible scholars noted that eighteen years after King Cyrus had issued the decree that allowed the Jewish exiles to return to Jerusalem, the people had not found time to finish the reconstruction of God’s temple because they were concentrating on building their personal homes.
Led by Zerubabel the governor and Joshua, the High Priest with prophetic activities of Haggai, the Israelites were advised in the scripture for today’s devotion and repeated in verse 7 of the same chapter of the book of Haggai, to give careful thoughts to their ways and observe that rewards obtained from their efforts are not commensurate with the input into those ventures. In addition, they seem not to ever have enough of anything ranging from foods, drinks and clothings. Moreso, they seem to have leaky purses as their incomes seem to disappear in an unexplainable manner – Haggai 1:6. Their expectation from business ventures also seem to fall short and even what they got was blown away in a move that the Almighty God reveals Himself as being responsible for – Haggai 1:9.
In order to reverse this trend in their lives, he advised them to prioritise and make the re-construction of the temple of God their primary goal, being what the Almighty God is demanding from them, as that will honour Him and give Him pleasure – Haggai 1:8. According to the message from the Lord delivered by Prophet Haggai, the Lord it was that withheld all that was necessary for their efforts to yield positive result and was willing to reverse that trend if only they would make the re-building his Temple their primary objective rather than the building of their personal homes – Haggai 1:10.
They chose to believe and implement the message and advise of Prophet Haggai and were not disappointed. God supported their efforts as He provided all that was required for the re-construction of the Temple and allayed all their fears – Haggai 2:1-9. Better still was that on successful completion of the re-construction process, the Lord promised blessings, telling them to expect a positive change in their lives – Haggai 2:19.
Many Christians today will also find the advise of Prophet Haggai to the returnees very useful. This is because many there are today who honestly have found themselves in situations where they need to pick the pieces of their lives and start a rebuilding process. They either have just lost a job, or have just incurred major losses in a business venture that is threatening to bring them into bankruptcy or have actually declared bankruptcy. In such situations, seeking the Lord, for them, is seeking a help to restore all they have lost in terms of material possessions and social status. In such circumstances, natural instincts will be for such to channel all resources to the re-building of their lost empires, with the sincere thoughts that profits from such ventures can be used to appreciate God in some way or the other.
This no doubt remains a good idea, for as long as there is no divine reason for the person to have suffered those losses in the first place. Should there be a divine reason that led to the initial losses or there is divine objective to be achieved by the one who seeks restoration, it should be clear that nothing will change positively, until those divine objectives are achieved. Any effort before that will just remain a waste.
So many are in such situations today but because they are not applying the advise of Prophet Haggai, they continue to experience failures most of which they attribute to Principalities and Powers of this world, seen and unseen, known and unknown. The Prophet Haggai advised people in such situations, Christians alike to “give careful thoughts to their ways”. To give careful thought will mean to think deeply and analytically about all that one is doing and expecting. One who is doing critical thinking about his/her ways will be expected to know that he/she is the architect of his/her own fortune or misfortune and so think out solutions that is within his/her control, rather than seeking scapegoats or solutions that will still be dependent completely on others.
However, basic conviction, that input is not corresponding to output, Prophet Haggai says, should be sufficient for anyone to find out whether there is divine task to be done that will serve as a pre-cursor to success in those personal areas of life. Christians must realise that God has needs and expects His needs to be given priority amongst those who claim to love and respect Him. He will never accept His interest to be treated as a second option and unless you are not saddled with a responsibility by Him, then you will escape His reaction to your not giving His need, the required priority. It may seem expedient to you to prioritise your needs above that of God but to the one who makes all things possible, it will never be right, and unfortunately for you, only His opinion matters. Do not waste efforts struggling to achieve success that will not come. Make God’s interest the priority and you will return to the path of easily achieved success. May that be your testimony in Jesus name. Amen.