Thursday, August 10, 2017

First Things First

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Haggai 1:1-10

TO CHEW ON: "You have planted much but have 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 1:6

“Pack your things, some of us are going home!” The exciting news spread amongst the exiles in Babylon. Zerubabbel, grandson of King Jehoiachin, led the happy travelers back to Judah.

But when they entered Jerusalem, what a mess they found! Houses were broken down. The streets were full of broken bricks and garbage. The temple was a heap of rubbish.

So the people got to work. They cleaned up the garbage. They made bricks and rebuilt their homes. Some started working on the temple. But they didn’t get very far. It was such a big job, they just quit in discouragement. Instead they worked in their fields, gardens and workshops to earn money to make their own houses nicer. It seemed, though, that no one was doing very well.

Jewish village by Annie VallottonIllustration by Annie Vallotton from the Good News Bible
© American Bible Society 1976, 1992, used with permission.

One day God gave a message to the prophet Haggai. He told Haggai to talk to the people about how they were living.

“God sees that you’re working hard but aren’t getting ahead," Haggai went on. "You plant lots but harvest little. Your food doesn’t satisfy you. Your clothes don’t keep you warm. You earn money but it disappears as if you had holes in your pockets. There’s a reason for this. God is not blessing you because you are thinking only of yourselves and not of Him.”

Aren’t we often like those people? In our busy lives, it’s easy to forget God. And so we don’t read the Bible, pray or gather with others to worship. Should we be surprised then, if God takes His blessing away from us? Life becomes just like the life Haggai described – a lot of effort with little results.

But we can change. We can get our priorities right and put God first. When we do that, we can expect His blessings in all kinds of ways.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to always put You first. Amen.

MORE: Choices
Our everyday lives are full of choices. The choices we make show if our first priority is ourselves or God. Below are three situations you could face. Choose the response that shows that God is your first priority.

1. You get your weekly allowance and you:
a] spend it all.
b] save it all.
c] take out one tenth of it to give to God before doing anything else with it.

2. There is a new kid in your class so you:
a] introduce yourself and welcome her to join your group.
b] make fun of her.
c] ignore her.

3. Your parents have you in music lessons so you:
a] practice the bare minimum to get by.
b] work at getting better and developing the talent God gave you.
c] skip out of practicing whenever you can.


Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Adult readers - DAILY DEVOTIONS FOR ADULTS  are available too at Other Food: daily devo's.  

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