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Thursday, September 8, 2016

First Things First (Haggai 1:2-3)

 "This is what the LORD Almighty says: "These people say, 'The time has not yet come for the LORD's house to be built.'" Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: "Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?"

Malachi raised the question, "Will a man rob God?" to which the people in Haggai's day answered a resounding "Yes, we will!" While they would never see themselves as God robbers, the prophet indicts them for their theft and calls them to repent.

The prophet points out the obvious. These people have stolen from God and are reaping the consequences. Their harvests rarely meet their needs; their clothing doesn't provide protection from the weather; and their money never goes far enough. They constantly live on the edge of bankruptcy. The nation that has made a plethora of bad choices is now reaping the fruit of those choices.

While hard times don't always prove spiritual judgment often times this is the case. Perhaps Jesus was thinking of this passage when he voiced these words, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33). The exiles prioritized their own well-being over obedience to God. God promises to place His blessing on those who keep first things first.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Psalm 97
  • How does the Psalmist describe God?
  • For what is God responsible?
Psalm 98
  • How are the people to respond to God's activity? Why?
Psalm 99
  • How is God described in this Psalm?
  • How are people supposed to respond to the greatness of God?
Psalm 100
  • How is God described in this Psalm?
  • How are the people to respond to the greatness of God?
Ezra 4:1-5, 24
  • How do Israel's enemies respond to the re-building of the temple?
  • When Israel rejects their offer for help what do they then do?
  • What does this tell you about people who don't get their way?
Haggai 1, 2
  • How does the Lord respond to the people's resistance to re-building the temple?
  • How do the people respond to God's message?
  • What causes Zerubbabel, the governor, and Joshua, the high priest, and the people to begin working on the Lord's house? What does this tell you about God? about the temple?
  • Why does Haggai find it necessary to encourage the governor, the priest, and the people? What does this tell you about progress?
  • Why haven't the people experienced the full blessing of God? What does this teach you about people?
Turning truth into prayer
Ask the Lord to enlarge your view of Him and show you areas where you have placed other things before Him and His kingdom.