Haggai 1:12–13: “Then Zerubbabel . . . with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God. . . . And the people showed reverence for the Lord. Then Haggai . . . spoke by the commission of the Lord to the people saying, ‘I am with you,’ declares the Lord.’”
Observation: Work had been progressing on the temple’s rebuilding when local opposition caused the people to interrupt the work. Focusing instead on their own prosperity, Haggai challenged their priority of living in their comfortable homes while the Lord’s house was desolate, resulting in God’s cursing them. “You have sown much but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes” (Hag. 1:6). Their priorities were out of order; He said they worked hard, but then God would “blow it away” (v. 9).
Application: The wonder of this passage is that the people didn’t become angry and resentful when God confessed to “blowing it away.” Instead, they listened; they looked at their unproductive circumstances, and decided that God was right; they did need to correct their priorities. They conducted an accurate self-assessment and chose to obey. They showed reverence for God as He stirred zeal within them, resulting in this matchless declaration: “I am with you.”
Has any word of God been sweeter? In the midst of the rubble of life, as I survey the mess I have made of things, to hear God saying, “I am with you,” is deeply comforting. My tendency is to hear of this success story or that victory and decide, “I will copy them.” I will follow that pattern. I’ll do what they did to hopefully gain their result, as though their result is what God wants for me.
This is the advertising industry’s certainty: show someone’s success because of this diet or that after-shave, and millions will buy. God’s desire is that I choose to follow only the perfect example of Christ, seeking His perfect result, eternity in God’s presence. I have to become desperate to follow Him, tired of earning wages to put into a purse with holes and honest enough to admit I cannot get where I want to be with God by copying someone else.
Prayer: Father, Your call is strong on my life. You have a purpose, a destiny, for me in each new day, else why would You give breath for another moment? Forgive me, Lord, for seeking another’s pattern for success. Give me ears to hear Your voice, and a heart to obey. I love You, Lord.