Look cautiously to your ways
Autor: Dorina Madaras  |  Album: fara album  |  Tematica: Diverse
Resursa adaugata de Dorina1980 in 25/02/2017
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1.) In the second year of King Darius, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying,

2.) Thus speaks the Lord of hosts: ‘THESE PEOPLE SAYS: “The time has not YET come to rebuild the Lord’s House."

3.) Therefore, the Word of the Lord was spoke to them by Haggai the prophet, saying:

4.) “Has the time come for you yourselves to dwell in your panelled houses whilst this House lies in ruins?”

5.) Now, thus says the Lord of hosts: “Look cautiously to your ways!

6.) “You sow much and gather in little; you eat, but you're still not full; you drink, but you cannot sedate your thirst; you clothe yourselves but no one is warm;  and he who earns wages puts it into a bag with holes.”

7.) Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Look cautiously to your ways!

8.) Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the House, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,” says the Lord.

9.) “You expect much, but indeed you had little and you brought it home, but I blew it away. Why?” says the Lord of hosts. “Because of My House that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house.

10.) Therefore, the heavens above you withheld the dew, and the earth withheld its fruits.

11.) For I called for a drought over the land,  the mountains, over the grain and the new wine, over the oil, over everything that the ground brings forth, over men and livestock, and over all the labor of your hands.”

12.) Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, for the Lord their God had sent him! And the people feared the Lord.

13.) Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, spoke the Lord’s commandment to the people: “I am with you, says the Lord.”

14.) The Lord awakened the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the House of the Lord of hosts, their God,

15.) on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month, in the second year of King Darius.

(Haggai 1:4-15) AMEN!

Haggai's prophecies were delivered to Israel about the time of their return from the Babylonian captivity, and therefore at the time of the founding of the Temple. The date of Haggai's prophecy is given as the second year of the reign of King Darius. 

Zerubbabel and Joshua were key leaders in rebuilding the Temple. In the Book of Ezra 5:1-2, we read about the resumed restoration of the Temple. "Then the prophet Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophets, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them. So Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak rose up and began to build the House of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them, helping them."  Zerubbabel and Joshua had laid only the foundations and re-established the altar, but building operations were not properly begun until the second year of the reign of Darius Hystaspes, king of Persia, and it was finished in the sixth year of his reign. (Ezr 4:24 & Ezr 6:15) Haggai gave a message to these outstanding leaders, Zerubbabel and Joshua and to the exiles who had returned from Babylon, encouraging them to complete the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem.

The Jews who had returned from Babylon in 538 B.C. to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem were not able to finish their work because they were hindered by their enemies. Their hostile neighbors had caused the Israelites to feel discouraged and to neglect and delay rebuilding the House of the Lord (Temple), thus neglecting to honor the Lord by disobeying Him. Israel became indifferent and indisposed to encounter the difficulties necessary to its further prosecution, and thus became more and more engrossed in their own affairs, leaving the Lord's House in ruins. 

God asked His people how they could live in luxury when His House (Temple) was lying in ruins.How could people provide themselves with comfortable houses and gardens while the Temple lay desolate? This was a message of rebuke and reproof from the Lord to the Israelites for neglecting the important work of rebuilding the Temple and giving themselves up to their own pursuits. The Temple was the focal point of Israel’s relationship with God, but it was still demolished. Instead of rebuilding the Temple, the people put their energies into beautifying their own homes. However, the harder the people worked for themselves, the less they had, because they ignored their spiritual lives. The same happens to us! If we put God first, He will provide for our deepest needs. If we put Him in any other place, all our efforts will be futile. Caring only for our physical needs while ignoring our relationship with God will lead to ruin.

The Lord had warned Israel repeatedly to look cautiously to their ways! That same warning applies to us today!  The Word of God is a detector of false ways; therefore, we should test all our ways by it, for a considerable portion of our delay to repent of our sins and disobedience, lay in a lukewarmness toward God and His Word. Many people justify an improper word or action by saying: "It is my way!", But the Lord says: "Amend your ways!" (Jeremiah 7:3) 

Grain, grapes for wine, and olives for oil were Israel’s major crops. The people depended on these for security while neglecting the worship of God. As a result of the people not giving God first place in their lives, God sent a drought to destroy their livelihood, their work was not fruitful or productive, and their material possessions did not satisfy. God's plan was to call them back to Himself in their despair. 

This was the Lords covenant with Israel - temporal prosperities for faithfulness and temporal adversities as punishment for religious neglect. (Deu 28:1-42) In this case, God’s blessing was withheld because they neglected to honor God, no longer put Him first. Moses had predicted that this would be the result if the people neglected God (Deuteronomy 28:38-45). With many Christians, this is a frequently true--experience, the prosperous are not living as near to God as when they were less prosperous! While they concentrate on building and beautifying their own homes, they tend to forget who is their true Provider and neglect worship and honouring Him!

Realizing that, in neglecting the Lord's cause and merely caring for their own temporalities, Israel had not only dishonored God but had also justly hindered their own temporal prosperity. When the Lord awakened them to a sense of duty and privilege in the matter, the people and their leaders obeyed His voice and again began to build. The people began rebuilding the temple just 23 days after Haggai’s first message. Rarely did a prophet’s message produce such a quick response. How often we hear a sermon and respond, “That was an excellent point—I ought to do that,” only to leave church and forget to act. These people put the prophet’s words into action! When we hear a good sermon or lesson, we must ask ourselves what we should do about it, and then make plans to put it into practice! 

Israel’s problem was confused priorities. Like Israel, our priorities involving occupation, family, and God’s work are often confused. Jobs, homes, vacations, and leisure activities may rank higher on our list of importance than God. What is most important to us? Where is God on our list of priorities? Do we obey God's Word, or neglect Him because we foolishly believe our ways are better? May the Lord give us all an obedient & humble heart and divine wisdom to place God as number 1 priority in our life so that we may have part of God's blessings! AMEN!

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