GIVE CAREFUL THOUGHT TO YOUR WAYS...The Hebrew figure of speech for this phrase is literally “Put your heart on your roads.” God has designated the sixth month of Elul, August 10-September 7 on our 2021 Gregorian calendar, as the month for "soul searching" and turning back to Him. Indeed, the Hebrew word for this month, "Elul" means to search out deeply, as in the heart.
In God’s perfect timing, His specially anointed Day of Trumpets is appointed to occur on the first day of the following 7th month, just weeks away. We Christians should recognize immediately that trumpets herald the possible second return of Jesus, the Son of God!
There have been thousands of Eluls on God’s calendar, adding up to thousands of chances for humanity to get it right. 2600 years ago, on the first day of God's 6th month, He sent Haggai to people just like us who were really good at saying God should be first, but poor in actually making Him a true priority in their lives.
Haggai 1: 1-11: “In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest: This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.’”
We should already have a handle on the very first problem we religious folks have run into for thousands of years. Notice that God's chosen people of Judah didn’t say they weren’t going to rebuild the temple; they just seem to be saying “Not yet.” We want to serve God in ways that suit our lifestyle and timing and are under our control. We usually pull the infamous procrastination “I’m praying about it” to justify our inability to commit ourselves totally to the calendar and timing of the Almighty.
As we continue on in this chapter, we read, “Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”
We should carefully consider that scripture. Life is always in God's timing, like it or not. He appoints it impeccably and knows exactly what needs to happen and when. He has His priorities straight. We, on the other hand, need a hard lesson with putting Him first, and ourselves last.
"Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but 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.” Haggai 1: 5-6
We can do a whole lot of work as Christians, but never accomplish one single eternal thing. And we can consume a lot of knowledge along our well-traveled roads of seminars, sermons, and causes. But the truth is Christian works and ministries, as well as nationalistic pride, can become a bottomless pit of excuses to serve and glorifiy ourselves. Enough is never enough. We not only drive ourselves crazy, but in the end, those around us suffer as well. The bottom-line is we were never called to be LIKE other Christian leaders. We are called to be LIKE CHRIST.
"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 your 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 olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.”
"Give careful thought to your ways” resonates, especially during the divisions and uncertainty of the current pandemic. On August 21, 2017, The Great American Eclipse also occurred during the same timeline on God’s calendar. As the rare eclipse began just off on the coast of Oregon at 10:15am, 17:15:50.6 UTC time, literally splitting our nation down the middle by “an act of God”, the sun was setting in Israel at 7:15pm, beginning the first day of God’s 6th month on the calculated Hebrew calendar. The observation of the new moon occurred the next evening.
Now would be the right time to allow the perfectly appointed Word of God to pierce deeply into our hearts, convicting us of our religious self-centeredness and pride. “On the first day of the sixth month, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai…This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house...'”
GIVE CAREFUL THOUGHT TO YOUR WAYS (PUT YOUR HEART ON YOUR ROADS