Photo by Atwater Village Newbie
Put God First
The nation of Israel experienced a dark time in their history as they were exiled – cast out from their homes and land. However, eventually people were given permission to return back to Jerusalem. As they returned there were so many things to rebuild and repair. The people quickly went to work building their homes, improving their homes, and beautifying their homes. Human nature is such that we quickly and often times unintentionally become consumed with ourselves. This remnant that returned to Jerusalem was no different.
Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”
The people had returned and they took care of their business. They rebuilt their homes. Yet, God’s temple – the house of God – was neglected. So God points out a fallacy with their approach. When we are so consumed with putting ourselves first we can never be satisfied:
Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have 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 1:3-6 NIV)
Because the people refused to fully commit themselves to God and his ways God withheld his complete blessing. Selfishness is an impossible hunger to crave. There are some cravings we experience that can be fully satisfied (at least for a moment). If you find yourself starving for something to eat after the meal, your craving for hunger is gone. However, this selfish hunger only grows the more we feed it.
“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 his own house. (Haggai 1:9 NIV)
I can almost hear the people saying:
“Once I harvest enough, once my bottles are full, once my purse is full, then I will help to rebuild the temple.”
What “once I” phrases do you use? Once I _______ my work. Once I ______ my money. Once I ____ my family. Then I will do that for God.
Jesus said it this way:
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33 NIV)
Seek the needs of God above your own. Plan your life and your finances around God. Then God will take care of the rest.