Thus says the Lord of hosts: “These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.” Then the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.
Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways. Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the Lord. You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house. Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast, and on all their labors.”
In this message from the prophet Haggai, The Lord rebukes His people for not building His temple. The Israelites had returned from Babylonian captivity and the Lord had instructed them to rebuild His house. While they were in captivity, they promised the Lord that if they could return to their own land, they would build the temple. God allowed them to return in order to build the temple and to begin to worship Him once again. When they arrived back in their land, they began by building their own houses first. God instructed them to build His house, but they began by building their own houses first. In verse 2, we see that the people make the excuse that it isn’t time for the Lord’s house to be built. He had told them to build it. The Lord asks them the question if it is right for them to be living in nice paneled houses while His house waits to be built. The Lord has punished them for their disobedience to Him. He wants His house built. That is His priority. In verses 5 and 6 He tells them to think about what they have done. They have planted a lot of crops, but did not have a big harvest, they eat, but are still hungry, they drink but are still thirsty, they wear clothes but are still cold, and they make money but it seems to disappear. He is teaching them that they have decided to provide for their needs and take care of their priorities before obeying the Lord and because of this, God is not allowing them to prosper in anything that they do. This is an important lesson that God’s children must learn.
His children returned from captivity and thought that if they didn’t build their stuff and get their things in order, they would not survive. What they failed to realize is that if they were not obedient to what God asked them to do and make His things their number one priority, then they would fail at everything they tried to do. They put their plans before God’s plans. God doesn’t change. He still expects His children to obey Him and honor Him. When we live our lives with our own priorities before God’s priorities, we will expect much and get little. God asks us to be fully obedient to Him. He doesn’t want our excuses. He knows what is best for us and He will always provide for His children when they are obedient to Him and do what He asks them to do. This is the God we serve. He is able to provide for us with everything that we need. He asks us to put His priorities first. That He will be honored before we are honored. God has the ability to keep us from being filled with our food and to cause us to somehow lose our money when we do not obey Him. When we put Him first in our lives, He always provides everything that we need. Living the life of worship means making God’s priorities, our priorities.
- Are you more concerned with your things than with God’s things?
- Do you sometimes make excuses to God to explain your disobedience?
- Do you find that you expect much and it turns out to be little? Could this be because of your priorities?
Today, ask God to show you His priorities for your life. Think about the things that are most important to God and make those things your priorities.