Am I building my house or God’s house? Today we read of people who were sowing to themselves. And so, God was intercepting their harvest and withholding it from them. They were putting their wages into a purse with holes in it. God says: Consider your ways…
1 In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest:
2 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.’”
3 Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”
5 Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 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.”
7 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord. 9 “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. 10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11 I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.”
The people of God, who had been allowed to return from exile to Jerusalem, were saying that it was not yet time to rebuild the temple of God, which was in ruin.
Not yet time.
If you look over into Ezra 4-5 you will find that there was an order to stop the work on the temple because the neighbouring people claimed that once the temple was rebuilt the Jews would stop paying tax to Babylon. And so they stopped. God, however, must have been motivating them to restart and they were ignoring him.
This stirred up God’s anger towards his people. He inquired of the people through the prophet, “is it time for you?” Is it time for you to live in your houses which have been restored? Is it time for you to invest in yourselves and your comforts? You sow much, yet you are not reaping much. The harvest does not reflect the effort to plant and water. Why?
Because they were sowing to themselves. They were building up treasure on earth instead of heaven. They were self-centred and had lost sight of the God who made it possible for them to return to their homes and get their lives back. And so God was intercepting their harvest and withholding it from them. They are putting the wages they earn into a purse with holes in it.
Consider your ways…
God repeats this command twice: consider your ways!
They did. They did reconsider. And so they demonstrated to God that they feared him and wanted to honour and obey him. This started with the leaders, Zerubbabel and Joshua, the high priest, and was caught by the rest of the remnant of God’s people.
God responded to them by stirring their spirits to go and finish the work. They set their priorities aside and focused on God’s priorities and his agenda. God honoured their repentant hearts which were turned back toward him.
Which brings me back to me. Am I building my house or God’s house? Peter refers to followers of Jesus as living stones in the spiritual house of God which is being built by God. Am I helping to make living stones for God’s house? Am I doing what it takes to help people become followers of Jesus?
Reflect on how you are spending your time and how you are investing in God’s kingdom.
Consider your ways, today, follower of Jesus… Consider your ways.