Starting in high school and continuing through college, I can remember dreading mid-term exams. Thinking about late night studies to memorize history dates and geometry proofs now gives me shivers. Looking back, the value of a mid-term exam is apparent. It helped to check the status of my comprehension of the material before the final exam. The mid-term test results provided feedback to the teachers (to adjust their lesson plans) and to me (to pay attention in class and stop slacking on the homework).
- In today’s passage, God called his people to consider (examine) the status of their work and underlying attitude towards him. When did you last consider the same?
READ THE WORD: HAGGAI 1:7-12 (ESV)
7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. 8 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. 9 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. 10 Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. 11 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.”
12 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him. And the people feared the Lord.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- What two purposes did God give for the building of his house (vs. 8)?
- Whose agenda were the people prioritizing and what were the consequences?
- Why did God first lay out the facts to the Israelites (his house was in ruins while they busied themselves with completing their homes) before describing his actions against them (vss. 9-11)?
- How did the leaders and people respond to God’s charges (vs. 12)?
- What does obeying God’s voice and fearing him look like in your life? How might your priorities need to change?
RESPOND TO GOD
The returning exiles had half-heartedly initiated the work to rebuild the temple. They made little progress before losing interest and focusing on their personal comfort. To prevent their total abandonment, God, because of his great love, provided Haggai to call his people to repent and obey his voice. What a joyous day that must have been when the remnant of the people obeyed and turned back to God’s ways. God’s call to us today to set aside the ways of the world and build his kingdom for his glory and honor is no less important.
- Prayerfully consider and ask God to redirect your priorities to his kingdom building in obedience and fear of him so that he, not you, will be honored and glorified.