The book of Haggai concerns the prophet’s warning to the people of Israel to return to the proper priorities and their first love. They were busily paneling their homes after returning from the exile, but were neglecting the reconstruction of the temple. Haggai cautioned them to stop working on their homes and finish the temple first!
Jesus talked in a similar manner about “Seeking God’s kingdom first, and trusting God to help with the rest”. In the fifth book of the Bible Moses told the first Hebrews: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Duet. 6:4-6
Why does He come have to first and what happens when we do not put Him first? God obviously deserves our best and to be first, but it is best for us to put Him first in that His preeminence serves as the “anchor” for our lives and the key to living that “abundant life” we all crave. We find purpose and the greatest sense of accomplishment in giving Him worship and our very best. And if we are a bit nervous about our safety, livelihood and what we leave to our children, it behooves us to open our eyes to the immediate and eternal recursions of forgetting Him, or always honoring Him. It’s a choice we make—but it’s also a witness and sermon that others are watching!
There’s also the consequence of receiving God’s favor and blessing (as the Hebrews did, as well as the nation of Israel and our nation!) and then breaking the covenant with Him. He tends to get your attention if you lose your first love. In Haggai the “attention getter” was famine and drought. Jesus said you fail to live as you have been called and redeemed to live, you might ask Him to let you in (to heaven) and He will say, “Depart, I don’t know you.” Either He is preeminent in our lives, or something else is. Either “In God We Trust”, is a true, as a nation, or we trust in something/someone else. You can’t have it both ways.
Our kids are watching us, as parents, as we contend with this pandemic, but they’ve also been watching to see where our priorities lay before this pandemic. It’s not too late to set the record straight as a nation—-and in our families.
“The commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” We’re prone to forget, and God knows it. Maybe He’s reminding us about what to address first …perhaps some of us have not been seeking God whole-heartedly lately….