Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin? (Hag. 1:4)
As a kid, I always struggled to align the buttons of my shirt properly. It took at least three attempts before I would end up with no leftover buttons. My dad taught me a simple trick: always start with the top button, then work your way down, and the buttons will line themselves up on their own. Since that day, it has worked every time.
The Israelite community who returned from exile had trouble getting their “buttons” in order. It had been more than ten years since beginning the reconstruction of the temple, and despite being under new leadership, the people had settled into their homes and left God’s home in ruins. They had decided for themselves that it was not time to rebuild the temple. But God called their priorities into question. Whose house matters more—the divine house that is a refuge for all who seek it and a place to meet with the Lord of Hosts, or human houses that offer neither?
To be the people of God is to put God first. To follow Jesus is to put his will above my own, and to trust that he will take care of my needs, just as Jesus himself reminded the disciples: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt 6:33).
Above all else, make God and his will your first priority.
Noah Cromer serves as a residence director on Southern Wesleyan University’s campus (SC), along with his wife, Kaitlin, and daughter, Elianna.
© 2023 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.