The GPS systems for your cars are great but I still bring a map on long trips and double check things out. I want to be sure I’m headed right and come out fine and on time. I was reading in Haggai lately and reminded of a couple of great lessons: (1) God’s grace (2) Man’s sin. When this prophet started to speak out it was with great concern as the people of God had begun to drift spiritually. They had actually come to rebuild their city and temple after the captivity in Babylon. God had graciously warned them to live for Him but they had for many years opted for living for self. So, as He’d warned, way back in Moses’ day (in Deuteronomy), He sent in enemy armies to conquer and disperse them to get their attention. Now after their return graciously allowed by God, they had begun to once again backslide.
They were graciously provided nice building materials through king Cyrus as God touched his heart but they were making excuse after excuse for not building and in fact using that lumber for their own homes !! “Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house (God’s temple) lie waste?” I have always thought how arrogant and spiritually insensitive that the very people of God who’d been shown such grace would take the very resources designated for God and His house and use it to build up their own homes ! But then lest we be too hard on them, isn’t it the same when we cook up some excuse why we can’t tithe to our church? Isn’t it the same arrogant, insensitive sin?? We’d be up in arms if our employer withheld what we needed in our paycheck but God’s house and work struggle at times to pay salaries of His servants and meet other financial obligations, more missionaries could be supported, but instead Dad needs a bigger truck, mom another outfit, etc. We find it hard to part with 10% or roll up our sleeves and do what needs done at our church because the bottom line is our love for God has taken a back seat to our love for ME !!
The book itself opens with a real wake up call as Haggai opens with laying before them their heart as they were saying, “The time is not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built.” What a crock ! They had a lot of excuses to not do the Lord’s work and sometimes we fall into the same trap. “I’ll get to it but right now I’m just too busy” And indeed we may be, but will our priorities and do our passions square with the all-knowing God Who sees all and knows the real deal with our hearts? Yes, we are still sinners, yes we sometimes lie to mask our cold and lazy hearts but thankfully we have a God Who truly is gracious and so He spoke through His servant to urge them and us to regularly “Consider our ways” !! It’s a key phrase in his sermon to them and it’s a call to stop and take a good honest look at your heart . The word “ways” is a common Hebrew word speaking of one’s course of life or habits, it was often used to speak of a road or path one took while on a journey. The life God graciously gave you is a journey and we do well to stop occasionally and make sure we’re still headed right making needed adjustments so we come out to the place God intends: to truly love and glorify Him !!