Missing the Message

“Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Consider your ways! You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat, but do not have enough; You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes.” Haggai 1:5-6 [NKJV]

“‘You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?’ Says the Lord of hosts. ‘Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house.’” Haggai 1:9 [NKJV]

“‘And now, carefully consider from this day forward: from before stone was laid upon stone in the temple of the Lord- since those days, when one came to a heap of twenty ephahs, there were but ten; when one came to the wine vat to draw out fifty baths from the press, there were but twenty. I struck you with blight and mildew and hail in all the labors of your hands; yet you did not turn to Me,’ says the Lord. ‘Consider now from this day forward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, from the day that the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid- consider it: Is the seed still in the barn? As yet the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have not yielded fruit. But from this day I will bless you.’” Haggai 2:15-19 [NKJV]

Wow. First of all, I don’t know why this book isn’t spoken of more often in church. I am ashamed to say how extremely convicted I am reading the short book of Haggai; Only two chapters long but the weight they hold is heavy. Imagine being rebuked by God in this way. He explains to the people that He has been trying to get their attention and they looked for answers everywhere but to Him. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? I think about how often I have watched everything go wrong in my life and tried every which way to fix it on my own. Then, when nothing panned out how I wanted, just called it a loss and accepted the failure. HELLO! We are children of the Most High! We have unlimited, direct access to the One who created the Heavens and the Earth yet we go about our days so often as if we got this all on our own. Then, when it turns out we can’t do it ourselves, we count it as lost. I love how God shows them how He tried to correct them and give them a chance to look to Him for help and guidance. Yet every opportunity went right over their heads. As if that wasn’t a big enough letdown in and of itself, He then calls them out for leaving His temple in ruins while they went to the comfort of their own homes. I know we so often hate talking about our selfish nature but there is a reason why Jesus calls us to deny ourselves and follow Him (Matthew 16:24). It is because Satan wants to convince us that we got this all on our own, whether we willingly deny God’s help or simply deny it out of ignorance. I don’t believe the people were intentionally avoiding God’s counsel. In my opinion, if that were the case, they wouldn’t have begun rebuilding the Lord’s temple as He commanded them to. If they were anything like me, they allowed their problems to distract them from the God they serve. As believers, God tells us over and over again to cast our cares upon Him and 1 Peter 5:7 elaborates as to why by telling us it’s because He cares for us. As I grow stronger in my faith and closer to God, I see that when things seem to be going wrong and there’s no logical reason why it’s usually because He is trying to get my attention. And when I do finally look to Him, He shows me an area in my life that requires some construction. The beautiful thing is, He doesn’t want us to do it alone, nor does he ask us to labor in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58). I may still be young in my faith, but I have yet to find a place in the Bible where God called someone to move and there was not a blessing waiting for them at the end of it. And I doubt that I ever will because God is not a God of slavery, He is the One who frees you from it (Galatians 5:1). However, He can only be as close to us as we allow; which is why the work of rebuilding the temple was left to the people. It was their choice whether they wanted God to dwell upon them and receive the abundance of prosperity He wanted to bless them with or not. God never pushes Himself upon us, it is always a choice and one so simple but so heavy as well. I love that in Haggai 1:12 it specifically mentions that they obeyed the voice of the Lord and how they feared His presence. And in return, the Lord told them He was with them. How forgiving and loving is our God, even in the Old Testament. It brings to mind the lyrics in a song that talks about how reckless God’s love is. He will go to the extreme, move mountains, part the seas, send His people cross-country just to get to us. He gives us reminders and corrections and as we look to Him for guidance, grabs our hand and tells us that He is with us. Thank you, Lord, that You do not leave us the way You found us and that You never give up on us. May we keep our eyes on You and keep Your house in order before our own…

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