Thursday, February 24, 2011

PRIORITY MATTERS: Self or God first?

 PRIORITY MATTERS: Self or God first?

Haggai 1


This is what the LORD Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the LORD’s house.’”  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?  v. 2-4


Did you ever expected much from something or someone ,yet, it turned out to be little? You did your best. You exerted much effort, only to get less than what you've expected?

Maybe you are a student working on a thesis. You spend most of your time doing research in the library and on the net. You have less sleep and you've already spent too much money for it. You say to your self, "I am confident I'll get a high grade because  I did my best." But upon receiving your grade card, you were disappointed and even asked why.

Why, indeed.

God has an answer for your question.

Let's read what God has said to His people during the second year of King Darius through the prophet Haggai. He said,

" You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it." (v.6)

Sounds familiar, right? Can you relate? 

In verse 9 of Haggai chapter 1, God gave us the answer. He continued, "You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why? Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his OWN house." 

How  many of us who have been busy with  work, school and even with our family that we have let our relationship with God to remain a ruin? Many or most people are too busy making a living and not life. We focus so much on our work, on what to eat, drink or wear. We give too much attention in meeting our need. We exert too much effort for our self, our physical needs but left our soul starving for God. We forget the Giver, the Source of everything, the Answer to our needs, and yet we want to receive a blessing. 

Though we may get our desired work, eat everything we want and wear whatever we like, we will never be satisfied and happy. We will always be discontented. You may have all the riches in the world and buy everything you want but without God and without a right relationship with God, everything is useless.

The LORD commands us to "give careful thought to your ways..." (v.5, 7) He said it twice in that same chapter. Whenever God said something, we must listen. But when He said something twice, it means it is very important.  And if He will said something (whether it is a command, warning or a promise) thrice, it means that you should really heed, follow and make actions.

What did He say? He said to "give careful thought to your ways." God commands us to assess our way of living, our hearts, our lives. He wants us to check and examine how  and for whom we live. If you are a Christian, are you now living for God or still  for yourself?

A house if not well taken cared of will eventually be in ruin. You must continually build, repair and maintain it. You must also take good care of it so that termites will not  feed on it and destroy it and that no spiders would live and make cobwebs on it. And so  is our relationship with God. Just like any relationship, our relationship with God is two way. God does not do all the loving, communicating, talking, etc. We must learn to respond too. We pray, we listen, we talk, we spend time together with God. That's relationship. A one-sided love affair is not a relationship. Relationship is a connection.

So, how's your relationship with God? Is it in ruin? Is He number one on your priority list or still your self? Have you taken Him for granted? Were you too busy with other things that you have forsaken the Lord? 

If you found out, after assessing your life and "giving careful thought to your ways", that your relationship with God is in ruin; that there are parasites eating the line of connection with Him, you should listen and obey what He commands you to do.

God has given us this solution:
"Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored," says the Lord. (v.8)

No, not literally.

After checking our lifestyle and our hearts, the next step is to recognize or know what are the timbers that needs to be brought down. What are these timbers God mean and  what do these timbers can do? 

Timbers that need to be brought down in our life could be sin, pride, selfishness and more. These are the things that could block or hinder you in knowing God deeply.

What are the things that need to be brought down from your life? What are the timbers that block you in knowing God deeply? Are there still sin that you are not yet willing to let go? 

You must bring them down first before you can build up! Therefore, bring them down! Cut them off! God is willing to help you. He is eager to help you but God could not help you if you are unwilling or will not allow Him to help you.

"Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house. Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the oil and whatever the ground produces, on men and cattle, and on the labor of your hands." (v.9-11)

If you want to be promoted in your work, if you want financial blessing and if you want God to bless you whatever you do or the works of your hands, then make God your priority. Put Him at the top of your priority list, not second nor third. Don't seek the gift. Seek the Giver. 

Again, if you want God to bless you, just follow these commands:

  1. Give careful thoughts to your ways
  2. Recognize and bring down the timber
  3. Build.

"Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the whole remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the LORD their God and the message of the prophet Haggai, because the LORD their God had sent him. And the people feared the LORD." (v.12)

Just like Zerubbabel, Joshua and the remnants of Israel, be willing to listen and be attentive to the voice of the Lord and with holy fear (reverence) and a teachable heart, obey His command. Obedience is the key. 

If you will obey, God will stir up your spirit (v.14) and make you able to do the building work. It might seem difficult to follow all His commands but He promised and declared, "I am with you." (v.13)

".......and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored," says the Lord. (v.8)  Honor God in everything that you do. Honor God with your lifestyle or your ways and your very life. Make God your first and ultimate desire and He will give you your hears desires. (Psalm 37:4) Seek Him first and ALL these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33). Make Him your priority. And you will receive, without even exerting too much effort you'll be amazed, blessings upon blessings.

To My One Desire be the Glory!

Your sister through the blood of Christ,


  1. Rightly put, sister. Rightly put. Thank you for this reminder, it does make me sit back and wondering, where is the Lord in all of my priorities?
    Dear Father, thank you for your never-ceasing patience with your children, for still loving us when we have misused our relationship with you. Father, we come to you and ask for you to have your will be done in our lives so that you will be #1, and that we will be blessed for it. I pray this in your holy name, amen

    Oh yes, I have given you a blogger award, see my blog for details ;)

  2. Thank you so much for the blogger award. It is my first award too... all glory to God.

    Yes, indeed. This is taken out from my Bible journal. I was check too when I read this chapter and wanted to share this to everyone. It is very important to ponder and check our hearts all the time if who owns our hearts and who is our priority: self or God.


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God bless!

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