Haggai urged the people to put rebuilding the Temple at the very top of their list of priorities. When we “consider” the 3 important words of Haggai’s message, “Consider your ways,” I think of how important these three words are to us today. Where are we going? Why are we going? And, perhaps the most important question we can ask ourselves … “How did we get here?” “Where we are” just doesn’t happen by accident. “Where we are” is a result of a series of decisions, tied together in succession, all leading us to “where we are” today. I believe that when our priorities change … our lives change. Unfortunately, it is only after we do things our way, that after we “mess things up,” that we then, and usually only then, “Consider our ways.” We look at “what happened;” what actions we took, which resulted in “where we are.” And … it is usually … only then … we start to examine our priorities … and, start to change them. As our priorities change … our lives change. As we see from the example in Haggai, and as we look at our lives, and the lives of others, we plainly see that changing priorities can be either good, or bad.
When Haggai urged the people to put the Temple at the very top of their list of priorities, this showed the importance of worship, and gives us the same message: To put worship at the top of our list of priorities. Of all the things which God desires for us, it is to have an intimate, personal relationship with Him. We can’t have this relationship with God without worship. Worship begins with recognizing God for Who He is, and What He is. When we fully realize Who He is … What He is … we will then begin to realize who we can be-through Him … the natural reaction to this realization is for us to worship Him.
Notice also that the first step for the Jewish people, upon returning to their native land after being released from Captivity, was to build the Temple … their place of both worship and sacrifice. When Haggai arrived on the scene, he had a clear, distinct message, which is just as true today as it was in Old Testament times: Ready for this? National adversity is the result of national disobedience to God. Yes … that does explain-fully-a lot of things …
Two times, in chapter 1, God gives us the best advice for “turning things around:”
“… Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways” (Verses 5, 7).
Of all that I have gotten from this study of the book of Haggai, this was the major lesson for me, and I “got it” the very first time I read the first chapter. When things aren’t going well … when everything we do turns out wrong …nothing, and I mean nothing good seems to be happening … THIS IS THE ANSWER: “Consider Your Ways.” Chances are the reason things have changed is because our priorities have changed. And, the way to bring change in those circumstances, is to first “Consider our ways,” and then change our priorities.
When we “Consider our ways,” I’ve learned that, often, it is what I don’t do which is just as important as what I do. Sometimes, that “peace which is beyond all understanding,” which I have at the end of the day, has as much to do with what I didn’t do today-as what I did do today.
We learn that blessing from God depends upon obedience. We must put ourselves in a position to be blessed. In just 2 chapters, Haggai has the “Consider” command 5 times. We read it in 1: 5, 7, 2:15, and two times in 2:18.
Here are the definitions of the word “Consider:”
1. To think about (something or someone) carefully especially in order to make a choice or decision.
2. To think about (something that is important in understanding something or in making a decision or judgment).
3. To think about (a person or a person’s feelings) before you do something in order to avoid making someone upset, angry, etc.
Yes, I did go back and read # 3, and how it pertains especially to obedience.
Because of the consequences, Haggai 2:15 and 2:18 both make this statement: “Consider now from this day and upward (forward) …”
It is interesting to note that Jeremiah, who warned against the coming captivity, and then became a captive, said this in Lamentations 3:40, a thought that continued to echo throughout the pages of both the Old and New Testaments: “Let us search and try (examine) our ways, and turn again to the Lord.”