“You planted a lot, but you harvested little. You eat, but you’re never full. You drink, but you’re still thirsty. You wear clothing, but you never have enough to keep you warm. You spend money as fast as you earn it.” This is what the Lord of Armies says: “Carefully consider your ways (Haggai 1:6, 7)!”
Israel had a serious problem. They’d migrated back to the “Land of Promise” after the Babylonian captivity, but, no matter how hard they worked, the couldn’t get ahead. Crops produced disappointing yields and the people were frustrated.
So, God sent a word through his prophet, Haggai, to expose the problem. The people had concentrated so much on their own problems that they neglected the house of God. At each poor harvest, they worked harder to insure success the following year. They prayed hard for God to bless their efforts but, to no avail.
God told his people, “You expected a lot (Proverbs 14:23 promises that hard work brings high yield) but you received little. When you bring something home, I blow it away (Haggai 1:9). God takes the credit/blame for their financial woes. Why?
They had became so preoccupied with physical loss/gain that they neglected the House of God. So, when he couldn’t get their attention, he stepped in and meddled.
“It’s because of you that the sky has withheld its dew and the earth has withheld its produce. I called for a drought on the land, the hills, and on the grain… and on all your hard work (Haggai 1:10).”
It seems a human weakness that we forget God in abundance and either run to or blame him in our lack. We’ve become so preoccupied with mortgages and auto loans, government scandals and threats of annihilation from every corner of the globe that we wake up on Sunday mornings and drag ourselves to church, too drained to worship God with our whole heart, strength and mind.
Jesus addressed the same issues in his day as God had in Haggai’s. In Matthew 6:28-34 he admonished his listeners to stop worrying about food and clothing and trust our Heavenly Father for provision. Too simplistic? To us — yes. To God — never.
God told Haggai to put him first. Jesus told his followers the same. Why? Because when we put him first, God is magnified and our problems minimized. Is our world dangerous? Yes. Could we be involved in calamity tomorrow? Absolutely. But, Jesus said God knows every hair on our head and not even a sparrow falls to the ground without the Father knowing about it.
Turn off the TV that daily bombards us with negative threats and open God’s word that states he is still the God of the impossible. Jesus never worried about tomorrow. As followers of him, we should do, or not do, the same. (Matthew 6:33, 34).