Summary: Consider Your Ways. Are they wise? Are they truly profitable? Will they end well?
Consider Your Ways
Haggai 1:6-7; 12
People desperately seek to read the signs of the times. This is true in every area of life. People in every walk of life put forth an earnest effort to interpret the factors that contribute to either success or failure. They are eager to succeed in their personal affairs.
We live in a day in which politicians of both major parties mount their soap boxes and place all of the nation’s trouble on their political opponents. Diplomats and statesmen work double time to formulate a foreign policy that will correct as many of the mistakes of their predecessors as possible and at the same time outthink and outmaneuver the diplomats of potential enemies. Military leaders make recommendations that they hope will guarantee survival of the country.
The truth is that we, the people of these United States, find ourselves in a condition similar to one that existed during the latter days of the kingdom of Judah, when Jeremiah, God’s sensitive-hearted prophet, said, “I have listened and heard, they have spoken what is not right; No man repented of his wickedness, saying, ‘What have I done?’ Everyone turned to his course, like a horse charging into the battle.” (Jeremiah 8:6).
Instead of always seeking to blame someone else for trouble in which we find ourselves, we need to be honest and make a sincere appraisal of our own ways of thinking and behaving. We need to come face-to-face with the questions, “What have I done?” During the days of Jeremiah, people refused to face this question because they were to busy thinking about and discussing the failures of others.
At a later time, God’s spokesman Haggai stepped onto the stage of Israel’s history with the sobering challenge: Consider your ways. Are they wise? Are they truly profitable? Will your ways end well?
Affliction had befallen the nation, and God sent Haggai as a spokesman to interpret the times to the people. Briefly stated, Haggai declared to the people that at the root of their trouble were the fact that they have left out God. They had postponed doing His will and had given Him a secondary place in life.
I truly don’t believe that anyone seated here today, would want to be in position for them knowingly. So this morning I want us to look at the three fold process of Haggai’s work with the people.
I. Haggai analyzed the resulting conditions of excluding God. (v. 6)
a. Haggai discovered that their was a life of fruitless toil
i. They were sowing like crazy, but were not getting very little in return.
b. Haggai observed that their was a life of unsatisfied hunger and thirst.
i. Their appetites were focused on things that could not possibly satisfy.
ii. To feed their bodies people often starve their souls.
iii. Only god can satisfy the soul.
c. Haggai said that their godless lives were dependent on futile defenses.
i. The storms of life will blow on us all.
1. The winters of life will come for all of us.
2. They are unbearable if God is not close by to help.
ii. How can people face the awful possibility of this uncertain age without God and not go mad?
d. Haggai declared that the godless life is one of fleeting riches.
i. Jesus said in Mark 8:36, “For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
ii. Jesus then goes on in Luke 12:15, 20-21 to tell us the following
“Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” But God said to him, ‘You fool!’ This very night your soul is required of you; an now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
iii. Consider your ways.
1. Are they wise?
2. Are they truly profitable?
3. Will they end well?
II. The pathway to spiritual and moral calamity is revealed.
a. The people walked in the path of postponement
i. Men do not say, “Never”; rather, they say, “not yet.”
ii. Conscience will not permit us to say, “Never.”
1. Our conscience does permit us to procrastinate
iii. The present is the golden hour of opportunity.
1. God always calls “now.”
b. The people followed the path of selfishness, which is idolatry
i. They placed self on the throne of their soul instead of permitting God to occupy the place that rightfully belongs to him.
ii. Self love will hinder all effort to repair and build the temple of God.
iii. They were more concerned about their own comfort and luxury than about the things of God.