We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine

Consider Your Ways

This morning I was reading in the book of Haggai and found something that piqued my interest. In Haggai chapter 1 the prophet writes: “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the LORD.’ Then the word of the LORD came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, ‘Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now, therefore,’ thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways.'”

You see, as the people focused on their own material wealth, they neglected God’s priority–the rebuilding of his house. Throughout the text you continue to hear the phrase “Consider Your Ways!” In the New Living Translation it says, “Look at what’s happening to you.”

Too often we find ourselves trying to protect our own investments, when, if we could just learn to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, all things really would be added to us. I think we live in a day similar to that of Haggai.

However, in Haggai’s day the people responded and repented after carefully considering their selfishness and greed. They “Considered their ways.” They considered the words of the prophet–that their wages were put into pockets with holes. What a picture! Pockets with holes! I can imagine that there are many who can identify, especially in light of our economy.

You see, in order to get their attention, God ruined everything they worked so hard to get. But upon hearing the words of God, the people responded. Within a month the Lord turned this curse into a blessing.

It was only when they considered their ways and turned their attention to what was most important–the things of God-that God was able to turn the curse into a blessing. Oh if we could consider our ways today. The losses that have occurred in our economy should be enough of a reminder. It is time to rebuild the house of God. It is time to be holy, for we are the house of God.

Published in: on November 1, 2010 at 10:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

Great Necessity

In Deuteronomy 1:39-41 and Numbers 14:3,31 God warns husbands and fathers not to use their wives and children as an excuse from engaging in battle.

In Moses’ time, God provided an opportunity for the Israelites to possess a new land, with a new government and new freedoms. But there was one problem-there were giants in the land! Caleb, unlike the majority, recognized the opportunity as well as the urgency to go up at once (Numbers 13:30). With the bondage of Egypt still in the forefront of his memory, Caleb was able to see past the giants and on to victory. Yet he knew it would cost him and his family great sacrifice. In order to fight this battle for the protection of future generations, he understood that it was necessary for men to leave their wives and children behind in the wilderness. However, forgetting God’s promises and fearing the worst, the majority of men used their families as an excuse to refrain from following the Lord into battle.

Throughout history there have been times when necessity mandated that fathers and husbands leave their families for extended periods in order to provide support and protection for their future. Such was the case with John Adams, who was required to leave his family for several years in order to gather support from the French and the Dutch and later to negotiate with the British. John Adams understood that without his sacrifice the nation would be left in peril. Though he left his family for several years, his courageous wife Abigail encouraged him to stay the course. And while her husband was away fighting for freedom, Abigail Adams fanned the flames of courage in her children at home. On June 17, 1775, Abigail brought her son John Quincy to the top of Penn’s Hill to view the Battle of Bunker Hill, teaching him that, “great necessities call out great virtues. It is not in the still calm of life…that great characters are formed.”

We live in a day of great necessity. May we as men rise and seize the opportunities before us.

Published in: on November 1, 2010 at 10:17 pm  Leave a Comment