I recently found myself re-reading the book of Haggai. This tiny book of the Bible is often overlooked in our annual reading plans as most persons who start out to read the Bible in a year rarely get this far.
Interestingly, one of the themes of this powerful little book is “consider your ways”.
What Does Haggai Mean by Consider Your Ways?
The prophet received a series of four messages at a time when the children of God needed some encouragement and some prodding to get on with the work God had called them to do.
To understand it a little better, we’d have to go back to what was happening at the time. The Israelites had returned from Babylon and begun rebuilding the temple of the Lord but didn’t get far.
After much opposition, they put the work on hold and began doing their own thing. Years passed (Bible scholars believe it was anywhere from 10-16 years) and they still didn’t rebuild the temple.
As you can imagine, God was not happy. He spoke to Haggai and gave him a message for the people.
Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways!”– Haggai 1:5 NKJV
This sharp command occurred twice in a short period. And the sentiment is echoed multiple times throughout the book of Haggai. So let’s dive into this phrase to see if we can understand what Haggai meant by “consider our ways”
What Does Consider Your Ways Mean?
The Oxford Dictionary defines the word consider in these ways:
- think carefully about (something), typically before making a decision.
- think about and be drawn towards (a course of action).
- look attentively at.
Each of these definitions has an element of introspection and deep thought. It implies that there are things at risk that the wrong decision would hamper. At the same time, the right decision could have wonderful benefits.
God was encouraging His people to give careful thought to their ways. But what does it mean to give careful thought to your ways?
Imagine you had made some poor choices and, though you had been experiencing the consequences of those choices, you continued to do the wrong thing.
Now imagine someone you admire taking the time to point out where you had gone wrong and suggesting that now is the time for you to make some changes to get your life back on track.
How would you respond if this friend told you to consider your ways?
I’d hope that you would take some time away by yourself to sit and ponder what you were doing. maybe you’d journal your thoughts. You might even talk to a trusted friend who could give you godly advice.
And the end of it all, I’d hope that you’d realize what you had been doing wrong and make a decision to stop doing it and do the right thing.
Well, that was what God wanted for the Israelites. He wanted them to stop doing the wrong things and repent. Specifically, He wanted them to rebuild His temple. he knew if they took the time to consider their ways, they’d know what was the right course of action.
Consider Your Ways
Now you may be wondering, when should I consider my ways? Does this Scripture have anything to do with me? While the message was directed to a particular people at a certain time in history, the lesson is one that still applies.
God doesn’t want people who follow Him as automatons. He wants people to make the conscious decision to obey Him, not out of fear but because we love Him.
Here are some tips to encourage you to give careful thought to your ways.
- Spend some time reading the Bible and in prayer. As you read, journal your thoughts and carefully think about those things that the Holy Spirit brings to mind.
- Be on the lookout for divine appointments. The Lord often uses people to speak truth in our lives. This may be a friend or a stranger. because I love to read, I often find that the Lord gives me messages through books, so pay attention.
- Remove distractions. The average person is surrounded by a lot of noise. Between social media, ads, movies, and other mediums, we’re constantly being bombarded by noise.
And the enemy loves this. he wants us to be so distracted we lose sight of our Heavenly father. So take some time to unplug and pursue the Prince of Peace.
My friend, consider your ways. I pray that as you do, your faith will be strengthened and you will begin (or continue) to do the work God has called you to do.
If you would like to do a deeper study on this topic, The Book of Haggai Bible Study Workbook is available for purchase on Amazon.
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