The lord of Armies says this: “Think carefully about your ways.” (Haggai 1:7 CSB)
“Son, think about what you are doing, or you will lose a finger,” were my words to Kevin Jr., who was holding a hand saw. My 11-year-old son and I were cutting down trees in our backyard and my encouragement was to think carefully about the task at hand.
God thinks. However, God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. His thoughts, His mind, and His thoughtful consistency are far better than our thoughts. His thoughts are always good, always right, always considering us and others.
God knows us; He loves us; cares for us, and thinks enough of us to send His Son to die for us. He thought enough about us to plan for us to get back to him before we were born. God thinks carefully. So should we.
To consider our ways, we must think. Thinking can be worship when directed toward God and his purposes. Thinking is worship.
The prophet Haggai encourages us to think carefully about our ways through a divine message from God. The Lord tells us in Haggai 1:5, 1:7, 2:15, and 2:18 (CSB) “think carefully about your ways.” He is asking the reader to consider all the things that have not fallen in place for them because they have not focused on Him. They were working, but their work was fruitless.
The Lord is speaking to Haggai in a time when God’s people should have been thinking about God, focusing on God, His temple, His glory, and His people. Nonetheless, the people were focused on themselves and were clearly not considering their ways. This is an amazing warning to us. The temptation is to focus on ourselves and things that are central to us. As believers we must make a habit out of thinking about God and thinking about others.
Are you thinking carefully about your ways? Are you thinking about the rhythms of your life? Are you thinking about the activities you say “yes” or “no” to? Are you thinking about eternal investments? We should think. The rebuke God laid upon the people was not because they did work that benefited themselves, but because they neglected the work of the temple, and by doing so prioritized themselves over God.
The Lord thinks. His thoughts are careful. He is kind, even in his rebukes. He gives clear instruction and direction on how to make things right in his eyes. Ask the Lord how to best serve him. If he has called you to something, he will provide.
Think carefully. Are your thoughts and works more focused on building your own kingdom or building up the Kingdom of God? Is your “to do” filled with things that are only satisfying your desires or the commands of the Kingdom?
The Lord is kind. He showed his kindness by stirring the spirit of many. In Haggai 1:14, we see the Spirit of the LORD rousing the people and the people responding. In short, God does all the work.
Today his Spirit dwells in us. Yes, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is living in you and me. I pray today you consider your ways and allow the Spirit of the Lord to encourage you to begin work for the Lord. Think carefully about who called you, who keeps you, and who promised to deliver you to the Father. He is the triune God. You do not have to work alone. One of the greatest encouragements in Haggai is found in 2:4, “this is the LORD’s declaration. Work! For I am with you.” Think carefully about the Lord’s declaration and your ways. Work, for He is with you.
Dr. Jones is the Dean of Education at Cedarville University in Cedarville, OH. He is a new 2021 member of ACL.