Campouts with young people are unpredictable. Will there be great joy in their discovery of natural beauty or terror in watching them learn new skills like rock climbing? During my time as a leader, I learned to anticipate that for some, campouts meant freedom from the rules back home. Without supervision, they were apt to abandon the goals and tasks agreed to by the group and focus their time and attention on themselves. 

  • What do you allow to distract you from achieving your goals? 


Then the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? 5 Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. 6 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.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. As they returned from exile, the Israelites had one primary task: the rebuilding of the temple, which was in ruins. Verse 4 describes the conditions of two houses. How did they differ and what does this imply about the Israelites’ priorities?
  2. Through Haggai, how did God describe the results of the Israelites’ labors (vs. 6)?
  3. How do these results relate to Verse 4? Based on the tone and content of his question, what understanding and action was God seeking from the Israelites?
  4. When have you last considered the results of your labors, and made adjustments in keeping with God’s priorities?


The Israelites’ decision to set aside the rebuilding of the temple and to complete their homes was indicative of a change in their attitude and hearts away from God. In response, God withheld his blessings and thwarted their labors in order to break their self-centeredness. Amazingly, in his grace, God sent Haggai to chastise them of their failure and to remind them of his covenant relationship with them based on their obedience. Take time this week to examine your priorities and the fruits of your labors.

  • Pray for humility to admit, and strength to make an adjustment in, one area of your life that is inconsistent with God’s will.
  • Thank God for the grace and mercy he has extended to you through his son, Jesus, when your priorities have been misdirected