Summary: This sermon challenges people to consider their priorities for the new year. It is a reminder that we must put God's agenda first in our life.

“Give Carful Thought To Your Ways”

Haggai 1:5; 7

January 2nd 2011 — New Year’s Sunday

“Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways.”

Haggai 1:5 (NIV)


> William Gladstone once said, "Tell me what the young men of England are doing on Sunday and I will tell you what the future of England will be."

> The same could be said regarding the United States. Tell me what people do on Sunday in the United States and I will tell you what the future of the United States will be.

> When the people of Israel returned to Jerusalem, they found the city in total ruins. The returning Jews began to rebuild the city little by little until they finished the foundation of the new Temple.

> However their neighbors, the Samaritans, and other neighbors feared the political and religious implications of a rebuilt temple so they did everything to vigorously oppose its reconstruction. They managed to halt work on the temple.

> The Jews became apathetic toward the religious condition of their nation. They began to focus on rebuilding their own homes, planting crops, and building their economic stability, while neglecting the Temple of the Lord God!

> The Lord sent Haggai to prophecy to the people. Haggai went to the Political and Religious leaders of Jerusalem and declared…

Now this is what the LORD Almighty says, “Give careful thought to your ways.”

> This is the central theme of His sermon. He says the same thing twice. First, in vs. 5 and then in vs. 7…

Now this is what the LORD Almighty says, “Give careful thought to your ways.”

> God knows the hearts of the people.

He knows where people’s desires are.

He knows what matters to us.

> At the coronation of King Solomon, when David proclaimed Solomon King and handed him the plans of the Temple, this is what King David said to his son, Solomon…

“And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. So take this seriously. The Lord has chosen you to build a Temple as his sanctuary. Be strong, and do the work.”

1 Chron 28:9-10 (NLT)

> God sees to the heart. He knows where our heart is. He knows where our priorities lie.

> Haggai was telling the people, God knows where your heart is and that your heart isn’t committed to the work of the Lord—recommit yourself to rebuilding your spiritual life, and all the other things will come together.

> Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:58

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV)

> When we are committed to the Lord’s work, everything else will come together for us.

> Notice what the LORD God says to Israelites through Haggai…

This is what the Lord Almighty says, "These people say, 'The time has not yet come for the Lord's house to be built…" "Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while [My] house remains a ruin?" Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. 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." This is what the Lord Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build [My] house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored," says the Lord. "You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?" declares the Lord Almighty. "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."

Haggai 1:2-11 (NIV)

> The people of Israel were busy with their own agenda. They didn’t consider what God’s agenda was for them. So God closed up the heavens and ceased pouring out his blessing upon them.

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