Consider your ways

Kilskeery FPC, Afternoon meeting, Day of Prayer, Lord’s Day, Jan 13th, 2019.

Scripture: “Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways,” Haggai 1:5.

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There is an indication of the judgment under which Israel abides in the date at the beginning of this book. It is dated by the year of the reign of a heathen king rather than one of the house of David.

However, they were mercifully restored from captivity and a remnant has returned to Israel and to a rebuilt Jerusalem. Haggai was the first prophet after the captivity.
What he has to say makes sad reading.

I. THIS PEOPLE, WHO HAVE ENDURED SUCH JUDGMENT AND ENJOYED SUCH RECENT MERCY, SEEMED TO HAVE LEARNED LITTLE FROM THEIR CAPTIVITY.
Haggai’s message was preached only some 16 years after the release of the captives by Cyrus, Ezra 1:1-2. And yet, so soon after that humbling experience and the joy of their release, they were in need of being rebuked.

II. OUR CIRCUMSTANCES DO HELP US TO UNDERSTAND
OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.
1. It is clear that little thought was given to their circumstances. There were no ‘Whys’ or ‘Wherefores’ being asked by God’s people. The ‘road’ they were on was not examined. That ought not to be. “Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths,” Ps 25:4.
2. There was evidence all around them of the loss of God’s favour. Verses 6, 9.
3. God supplies the reason why it is so. Verse 4, 8. They neglected God’s house, verse 9. “Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.” All in the house suffer as a result of this folly! Life had a wrong emphasis!
4. Let us learn that the success of our earthly affairs depends upon a right attendance upon God’s affairs. So said the Saviour. “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you,” Matthew 6:31-33.
What happens in your home or your employment is linked, for good or ill, to your activities in relation to God and His affairs.

III. THE KINDNESS OF GOD SWIFTLY RESPONDS TO OBEDIENCE.
“Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD,” verse 8.
1. There was a swift response from the people. Verse 12.
2. There was an equally swift response from the Lord. 1:15, 2:1. 2:18-19.
3. It is to be noted that a revived and restored people are supplied with knowledge regarding the glorious return of Christ. In a day of backsliding, we lose sight of our journey’s end! That is the day of ultimate victory and the one that we should ever be keeping in mind. “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless,” 2 Peter 3:13-14. This the HOLINESS that such a view brings!
As we seek labour in the affairs of God’s house here, let us ever bear in mind the building God will one day finish for us.
“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life,” 2 Corinthians 5:1-4.
Backsliding causes us to lose sight of the eternal!!

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