“Thus speaks the Lord of hosts, saying: ‘This people says, “The time has not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built.” ’ ” Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?” Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways!” Haggai 1:2–5
The heart of the problem with sin is that it’s infection makes us want everything our way and the kingdom of heaven doesn’t work that way.
When Jesus was asked which commandment was the greatest his answer didn’t come from the Ten Commandments but instead he quoted the words, “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind, And the second is like to it, you shall love your neighbor as your self.”
Paul in Philippians chapter two said it this was, “let each esteem others better than himself.”
Throughout scripture the Godhead invites anyone that will say yes to begin a relationship with them. The only rule is that if you join that relationship circle you have to love others better than you love yourself. If we were all perfect it would end with just that. But we’re all sinners and this means that our expectations are bent and twisted so God has had to also stipulate that we have to love him better than anyone else. If there were no sin nothing would be competing with the values God created his universe to function with, but there is competition so he has to put himself first for us so that he can restore harmony.
But do we want him?
Far too often we demonstrate that while we desire his blessings we really don’t desire him. We’re like potential heirs hanging around the home of a dying billionaire in the hopes of collecting an inheritance. We don’t love the benefactor but we’d sure love to get rich.
This was the heart demonstrated by many of those that had returned home with the first wave of exiles from Babylon and Medo-Persia. They’re back in Jerusalem and the surrounding regions and their focus is on restoring their own fortunes, their ancestral homes and properties, and seeking their own security. The problem was that they weren’t understanding that their security flowed directly from God and they were neglecting their connection with him. Like so many of us they wanted the blessings but not the Blesser.
Our focus text contains God’s rebuke for their neglect and his call to repentance. Stop focusing on pursuing only your own needs and interests and consider God’s. It’s a surprise to many of us that God has needs, but he does. One of his needs is for you. That’s right, he needs you and he wants you. And, whether you know it or not, you need him too. The question is, do you want him? And if you say you do, do you demonstrate it by making a place for him in your life?