Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts, "Consider your ways!Haggai 1:5(NASB)
The focus of Haggai's prophecy, is the rebuilding of the Temple. Despite the edict of the great king Cyrus after Israel's 70 year-long captivity in Babylon, the Temple of the Lord continued to lie into disrepair.
However, in the second year of Darius the king, Haggai the prophet began to proclaim the Word of the Lord in the ears of his fellow Israelites. He scolded them for allowing the Temple of God to remain lying in disrepair when they lived in comfort, in their own well-constructed houses.
"Is it time for you, yourselves to dwell in your panelled houses while this House lies desolate?" he challenged them. His fellow countrymen were living in reasonable comfort, while the ruins of Solomon's Temple were being exposed to the elements following that terrible day when Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed the city and the sanctuary, so many years before.
It was not only the leaders whom Haggai accused of selfish indifference and negligence, but the people as well. Indeed, he exhorted all the people to think about their lack of consideration and apathy with the words: "Consider your ways." He was calling them to give careful thought to what they had done - or failed to do!
They had been protected and provided for in Babylon by the Lord. They had been brought back to the land of their fathers, just as God promised and yet they had neglected to consider their ways.
These were the people of God who were brought out of the land of Egypt. They were brought back from their captivity in Babylon. They had been fed in the wilderness and empowered to take the land of Canaan. They had been returned to their homeland by their faithful God... and yet they had not paid heed to their priorities and responsibilities to the Lord. They had forgotten their covenant with God which required them to fulfil the conditions of the Mosaic Law - if they were to reap the blessings that God had promised.
Because of their failure to rebuild the house of the Lord, their crops did not grow and they suffered hunger, thirst, and poverty. The Lord expected His covenant people to fulfil their responsibilities to Him, by re-implementing the Mosaic Law. Now that they were back in the land, God expected them to fulfil the sacrificial offering and other requirements - and so we read that Haggai chastised the people of Israel, by proclaiming, "Thus saith the Lord of hosts - 'Consider your ways.'"
As Church age believers, we are not under the law but under grace. We are not required to carry out the law of Moses - for we are under the law of the spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. We are not required to carry out sacrificial offerings or to carry out the 613 laws God gave to His people, Israel. However, there are many instructions Church age believers have been given, if we are to honour the Lord, to walk in spirit and truth, to grow in grace and in a knowledge of the Lord Jesus, and to mature in the Christian faith.
As Church age believers, our bodies are a temple of the Lord for we are in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. Unlike Israel, we are not blessed when we are obedient to the Lord. We have already been blessed with every spiritual blessing. Israel were blessed when then obeyed. We were blessed with every spiritual blessing the moment we believed. We have already been blessed with every spiritual blessing - and should delight to be obedient.
We were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be blameless before Him. We have been adopted as sons of God and accepted in the Beloved - as a gift of God's grace through faith. In Him we already have redemption through His blood and forgiveness of sins... and by God's grace we have already received revelation from the invisible God which was kept hidden for ages and remained concealed from previous generations.
In Christ, we have already obtained an inheritance and are seated together with Him, in heavenly places. We are not required to obey, in order to be blessed. We have already been blessed, and should therefore obey ALL that God requires of us.
Three short words were given to Israel to remind them of their responsibility towards the Lord - consider your ways. That same, simple little phrase is equally relevant to Christians in this Church dispensation. They were to consider their ways if they were to be blessed. We are to consider our ways because we have already been blessed.
May we never forget the many precious promises that are 'yes' and 'amen' in Christ - and may we never forget all that God has done for us and honour Him through our humble obedience.
Heavenly Father, I praise and bless You for Your goodness and grace to all Your children. Thank You for the many precious promises that I have received through faith in Christ. Help me to learn the lessons that You would teach me as I read through Your Word, and may I never forget to consider all that You have done for me. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.