“Consider Your Ways” (Haggai 1:2-7)
The prophet Haggai had a special mission during the days of the Persian empire. Israel had returned to Jerusalem from captivity, yet they delayed rebuilding the temple. Interestingly though, they had nicely rebuilt their own houses. So, the following text finds the prophet delivering the Lord’s rebuke of their misplaced priorities as he urges them to do the Lord’s work.
Haggai 1:2-7, “Thus speaks the Lord of hosts, saying: ‘This people says, “The time has not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built. ’”
3 Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 4 “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?” 5 Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways!
6 “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.”
7 Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways!”
These same mistaken priorities can be worthy of rebuke in our lives too. Some feel broke all the time as if they are putting money into “a bag with holes.” Because of it, we claim we are unable to generously give to the Lord’s work. Yet, often, those same people who bring nothing for the Lord’s work still find money for their own personal endeavors. They remodel their own houses, they send themselves on vacations, they find the funds for expensive meals out to eat. Yet, the church building is outdated, preachers go underfunded on preaching trips, and the bread of life goes unshared with the spiritually hungry because of inadequate funds.
There is no doubt there are some circumstances that are out of our control and that do limit our finances. Famines happen (Acts 11:27-28). Widows and orphans with no means of income are a reality (James 1:27). Religious persecution can attack us financially (1 Peter 2:18-19). Disabilities and natural impairments limit our means too (John 9:1-3; Acts 3:2-3). Yet, sometimes we must put the onus on the real problem—we spend selfishly, wastefully, and unwisely without any thought for our giving. In these circumstances, the Lord would urge us “Consider your ways!”