Consider Your Ways!
It is far easier to kick the can down the street than it is to consider your own ways. Verse four begins by asking a question, “Is it time for yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?” Verse five continues, “Now therefore says the LORD of hosts: ‘Consider your ways!’”
Is it possible that by kicking the can down the street, the churches unwillingness to deal with certain situations, my own unwillingness to deal with things within my own life have resulted in a feeling of satisfaction, or needing nothing. We live in well paneled houses, and I could up and change church affiliation by moving to another district. But would any of that solve the problem? No, it would only be kicking the can down the street.
Recently I finished teaching a class on the book of Revelation. Revelation chapters 2 and 3 give us a glimpse into seven different churches and their spiritual condition. The Laodicean church has always intrigued me (Revelation 3:14-22). It is described as the lukewarm church. Starting in verse 15: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mount. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ – and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent” (verse 15 – 19).
What does this mean for you and me. It describes the condition of the people in Haggai time pretty well. They lived in their well paneled houses, living in luxury thinking that had need of nothing. They went to the woods to gather more wood, but their labor appeared to be wasted.
Why? Because they had wasted the resources given to them.
Christ told a parable the parable of the talents found in Matthew 25:14 – 29. In the parable, the man who called his servants together gave to each talents according to their ability. To the first he gave five, to the second he gave two and to the third he only gave one. All went and did something with their talent, the first two invested time and effort and were rewarded with additional talents. The third also took his talent but he hid it in the ground, fearful that his lord would be upset with him if he failed. He went about life as usual failing to take advantage of the situations placed before him. When his lord returned, he asked for an account of what each had done, the man with only one made excuses and produced only the original talent.
Understandably the talent that was given to him was taken and given to another and he himself was turned out into darkness.
In Haggai’s time the people had failed to utilize that which was given to them in their proper way. They had failed to use them in a way that gave glory to God. Their actions failed to glorify God but instead attempted to glorify themselves by using that which was entrusted to them for the service of God.
As a result, even though they lived in luxury it was all for not, for what they had sown, although much brought in little. They had food, but were spiritually hungry. You have cloths, but are not clothed with Christ’s righteousness. They spent that which was for God on their own personal gain, consequently they failed to prosper as they should.
They lived in a condition like the man with one talent who failed to use it properly, they were about to be turned out into the night.