Now this is what the LORD Almighty says:
“Give careful thought to your ways.
You have planted much, but harvested little.
You eat, but never have enough.
You drink, but never have your fill.
You put on clothes, but are not warm.
You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”
Haggai 1:5-6 NIV
The word of the Lord came to the Israelites, God’s people, through the prophet Haggai. This word from the Lord is for us in 2023 equally relevant.
As we examine our own hearts, we must ask ourselves if we have put God’s house first before our own homes, wants, and desires.
Do we gain anything by putting God second after our own demands and desires?
Our purses wear thin with holes and our harvests get blown away with the wind for want of a better term.
Many who prosper grasp after more and more and more, never satisfied.
Or perhaps we eat and drink to fill our empty hearts?
Whatever our personal situations we must ask ourselves if we have peace when we put God second to ourselves?
You might think the Israelites would have known to build God’s house up before their own after being in captivity in Babylon for seventy years for wandering from God. You might think in 2023 we would know better too. How often though don’t we chase after what we want first?
As we work for temporal blessings alone we walk away empty and dissatisfied. Yet as we put God first, we have satisfaction of heart.
If we put ourselves in the Israelites shoes, we realize they came back to Jerusalem, after seventy years to a desolate land. The work would be hard, enemies resisted their work, and they had no homes to speak of. Everything needed to be rebuilt. What better reason to put God first and seek His blessing and help?
Sometimes our own work is hard with very little recompense so we think we own it all. Or our houses do need work. Things seem bleak to us. What better time to seek God and His blessing and help on our work?
One thing is clear from this scripture passage. We all have priorities.
And God is asking (not me) what are our priorities?
Do we seek to put God first are do we desire what we desire and then God can have the leftovers?
Have you felt the prick of conscience when you read this passage? I certainly have before time and time again. Good.
God’s word will always expose what needs to be exposed.
As I close for today (my first draft got blown away as my computer froze this morning)… let us consider the words of a paraphrase of Haggai 1:5-6 that says it succinctly. And then may we consider our priorities together?
“Take a good, hard look at your life.
Think it over.
You have spent a lot of money,
but you haven’t much to show for it.
You keep filling your plates,
but you never get filled up.
You keep drinking and drinking and drinking,
but you’re always thirsty.
You put on layer after layer of clothes,
but you can’t get warm.
And the people who work for you,
what are they getting out of it?
a leaky, rusted-out bucket, that’s what.”