We invite you to take a peek inside our weekly Light for the Way devotional series provided for staff.
By Dave Rustad, PHS senior communication specialist
“’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 your own house.’” —Haggai 1:9, NIV
Have you ever been involved in an effort that seemed to turn to dust before your very eyes? I have. The people of Jerusalem, having returned from exile in Babylon for the express purpose of rebuilding God’s temple, did as well.
The returnees began well despite facing opposition from neighbors. Over time, however, their passion cooled. They took their eyes off the task God had given them, pausing their work on God’s temple, to build comfy homes for themselves.
Certainly this wasn’t a “bad” priority, but it was the “wrong one” from God’s perspective.
Through Haggai, God asked, “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house [My temple] remains a ruin?”
God next told them to give careful thought to their ways. He also informed them that their efforts to gain success and comfort would be pointless because they were focused on the wrong priorities.
This may sound harsh to modern ears, but God was showing His people incredible mercy and patience.
The temple was to be the very center of people’s life with God – a place to praise, worship, receive forgiveness and rest in God’s goodness. It reflected the people's very relationship with God. Still, the Israelites wanted to finish THEIR work first. Sound familiar?
To get the people’s attention, God reduced their harvest, increased their thirst, tattered their clothing and lessened their income. Needless to say, God’s plan worked.
Now not every struggle in our lives is the result of ungodly priorities. Challenges may arise BECAUSE we obey God. Still, we need to be reminded that God wants our hearts and obedience. When our priorities don't align with God's … frustration and futility may result.
Remember, failure just may be God in love directing you back to Himself!
David Rustad is a PHS senior communication specialist and has spent his career serving Christian nonprofit organizations. He has also published three devotional books, including “Overcoming Busyness: Resting in God during Life’s Demands and Responsibilities,” from which the article above was adapted.
The Light for the Way series provides staff with an examination of a biblical reading to deepen our focus on scripture. Thank you for engaging with this series as we seek wisdom through prayer and reflection as a Christian Ministry.
Find more in the Light for the Way series:
A National Day of Prayer reflection
Rest in God’s goodness