Most people love to save time, money, energy, and resources when they tackle a project. In other words, we like to see things turn out right on the first attempt, to avoid making corrections or re-doing later. Unfortunately, our best efforts don’t always yield the wanted results. Why is that? I found the answer tucked away in a little Old Testament book, Haggai, in the minor prophets— not putting God’s interests first!
Haggai the prophet delivered a message to Zerubbabel, the Governor of Judah and Jeshua, the High Priest. In the message, God expressed displeasure about the deplorable condition the temple was in, while the remnant Israelites were building luxurious houses for themselves (see Haggai 1:9-11). It appears the houses were the only good thing happening to them, because God called their attention to all the areas in which they were failing. He said to them, “Look at what’s happening to you! You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes” (Haggai 1:5b-6 NLT).
After addressing their problems, God prescribed the only solution that that was bound to bring resolution. He commanded them, “Now go up into the hills, bring down timber, and rebuild my house. Then I will take pleasure in it and be honored…” (Haggai 1:8).
The governor, the high priest, and the people obeyed the Lord, immediately working to restore the temple, with God cheering them on (see Haggai 2:4-5)! And for their obedience, God promised a blessing. “I am giving you a promise now while the seed is still in the barn. You have not yet harvested your grain, and your grapevines, fig trees, pomegranates, and olive trees have not yet produced their crops. But from this day onward I will bless you” (Haggai 2:19). What an encouragement!
Are things not working out for you quite the way you hoped? The solution is closer than you might think. Examine your life closely. Have you been putting your interests ahead of God’s? That could be it. Seek God’s strength and courage to put Him first in all areas of your life, and He’ll bless you! I know, because I’ve experienced it. It’s amazing; it’s hard to explain. My experience is in the area of giving for His work. Even when I think I’m broke, I’m still able to take care of my responsibilities. I don’t know how He does it, but trust me, He does. What a faithful God!
The widow of Zarephath, mentioned in 1 Kings 17, also experienced this. Due to King Ahab’s evil reign, the prophet Elijah pronounced a drought in Israel, which led to a food shortage. The Lord instructed Elijah to go to Zarephath to be fed by this widow. He went to Zarephath. There at the gate, he met a widow gathering sticks. He asked her for some food, but the widow let him know she had enough ingredients for only one meal: for herself and her son. The prophet asked her to make him a little bread first anyway (see 1 Kings 17:13), because the Lord had said, “There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again” (1 Kings 17:14 NLT). She obeyed, and sure enough, “She and Elijah and her family continued to eat for many days; the containers never got empty. There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah” (1 Kings 17: 15-16).
God is faithful; He never goes back on His promises, and He honors those who honor Him. Let’s be trusting and do things God’s way and sit back and see Him work on our behalf. What a mighty God I serve!