“Bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord. (Hag. 1:8)
When I turned twelve, I began mowing our lawn, and doing so was a regular expectation. My parents always appreciated when I did my chores, but they especially appreciated when I took initiative to do them without being told, or when I did additional chores simply to bless. My heart was in it, wanting to please them, not just checking off a list or hoping to get paid a little extra. It was simply for their pleasure and joy.
This is the reason God called the Israelites to build the temple—for his pleasure and glory. God expected them to obey, but he wanted their hearts to be in it. He desired their obedience to come out of a heart that wanted to please him. It was a matter of priorities. God’s pleasure and glory should have been the main priority for their obedience, not just checking off a list. Neither should obedience be for the sake of being blessed. Yes, in God’s grace, he is pleased to bless people’s obedience to him, but that is not the reason we should obey.
This challenge rings true today. In a culture that values self above all, we easily succumb to obeying God for what we get out of it. God’s pleasure and glory ought to be the sole reason for our obedience. God’s pleasure and glory must take precedence over self.
Ask God to cultivate within you the desire for his pleasure and glory.
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®.