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All of us have experienced situations that didn’t go as we had hoped. This was the situation the nation of Israel faced as they returned to their homeland from captivity. The prophet Haggai described their painful situation,

You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes. – Haggai 1:6

Have you felt at times that you had sown much, but harvested little? This can be a frustrating situation. You know there’s a problem, but you don’t know the reason. With laser like focus, Haggai identified the problem – they were focusing on themselves and not considering God. Haggai’s counsel to the people was to reflect upon their actions,

Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts, “Consider your ways!” – Haggai 1:5 and 7

Although the people had been in the land for almost twenty years, they had focused on their own comfort and they had neglected their relationship with God. God is not against His people taking care of their needs, but they were living with little consideration of God. Haggai delivered God’s remedy,

“Go up to the mountains, bring wood and rebuild the temple, that I may be pleased with it and be glorified,” says the LORD. – Haggai 1:8

So the people considered their ways and followed Haggai’s instructions,

Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him. And the people showed reverence for the LORD. (Haggai 1:12)

God then encouraged the people with an assurance of His presence,

Then Haggai, the messenger of the LORD, spoke by the commission of the LORD to the people saying, “ ‘I am with you,’ declares the LORD.” – Haggai 1:13

You may not have a prophet in your life, but you have God’s word. What does it mean to consider your ways? The New Testament provides helpful guidelines. Here are three useful questions as you consider your ways,

Are you putting God first in your life?

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. – Matthew 6:33

Are you living a life that honors God?

but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. – 1 Corinthians 9:27

Are there any sins in your life that need to be confronted?

But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. – 1 Corinthians 11:28

As you consider your ways, may you be encouraged that He is with you.

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