Devotional on Haggai

Listening and honoring
Haggai 1: In listening to Haggai, they honored God.
The drought has everyone worried. If rain doesn’t come soon the resulting famine will bring misery and death. Not only that, but there’s a general dissatisfaction among the returned exiles. Even when they do things that ought to satisfy they’re left feeling empty. Then Haggai brings his sermon. He says that the reason for no rain is that God’s getting their attention. They’re living self-centered lives and have failed to honor him by rebuilding the Temple. He also says that the reason for their general dissatisfaction is that they’ve been looking for satisfaction in the wrong things. Only the Lord can satisfy their lives and they can experience him only by putting him first. At this point the people stand where their ancestors stood many times through the years. Will they listen to the message from God or will they harden their hearts and become more entrenched than ever in their refusal to honor him? Their answer is a resounding decision to obey the voice of the Lord. Where their ancestors failed they succeed. This watershed moment is rewarded with a further message from the Lord who declares, “I am with you!” I love what happens here. As I’ve read through the Prophets I’ve encountered one instance of rebellion after another. How refreshing it is to hear God’s prophet declare God’s message to God’s people and see them listen and obey. It’s almost as though the sun breaks through the clouds to shine down on the words I’m reading. The people of Haggai’s day messed up, but when God got their attention and declared his intentions they responded in humble obedience. Personally, I’d rather not mess up in the first place but when I do, I want their “listening and honoring” to be my inspiration.
Take Away: Better to do it the Lord’s way all along, but if not, it’s good to at least humbly accept his correction and move forward from there.

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