The Word of God cautions: “Give Careful Thought to Your Ways” (1:5, 7)

My eyes are drawn to the repeated phrase for verse 5 and verse 7….Give careful thought to your ways.  This phrase has a sweet reprimand of love, and yet, a sobering warning to it. There is a gentleness in the words which communicates… “I love you dear one, now watch what you are doing.”

This phrase speaks of intentionality and deliberateness to me, the very things I seem to lack.  I have taken pride in my spontaneity and impulsiveness.  Why would I boast in aspects of my personality which are in contrast with the word of God.

The people here in Jerusalem were so caught up!  Returning to the land promised to them, weary from travel and captivity, and probably excited for new beginnings!  This is the place that most of them have only heard about at bedtime.  This is the God who their ancestors spoke of, who performed impossible miracle after miracle.  I can almost hear the excitement as they enter a city of ruins and yet a sense of overcome as well.  Where do we begin?  Destruction is as far as the eyes can see and still Cyrus had released them to come rebuild…beauty from ashes?  This looks nothing like we imagined, how did our lives get here? Sixteen years later, here they still are, homes built, lives living and still no temple.

This is where we see this deliberate, intentional nudging and reminder from God as he speaks through Haggai.  The first time we hear the words it is followed by an inventory of the ways they have already gone. The second time the words come we hear the ways in which they should go.

And the word of the Lord warns…”Give careful thought to your ways.”

How do you give careful thought to your ways?  Do you consider the ways you have come and the ways in which you are to move forward?

I find I often do not give careful thought to much unless it is a big decision, yet I wonder if this is what the Lord is saying?  The word “give” stands out.  To give is to hand over or freely transfer possession! The Hebrew word here translates easiest as “put.” As these words are parsed in my mind, I discover that I am to freely transfer the possession of my thoughts.  This implies that they are no longer mine.  I originally thought this repeated phrase meant for me to give my attention to my ways.  This may be true, but my heart is drawn to an idea that we are to give….I am to give my thoughts over, I am to give my ways over, I am to carefully put the thoughts somewhere….where?

To Him.

When our ways are given over to Him, when we lay our worries or thoughts down before Him, then the results are clear.  The planted will be harvested.  The eaten will be enough.  The drink will fill. The clothes will be warm.  The wages earned will provide.  As seen in verse 6, following the “give careful thought to your ways” of verse 5, when we don’t, then none of these things will ever be enough.

As you vet your week ahead, have you laid down your thoughts?  Have you given Him your ways?  Where does the Lord draw your attention as you worry about where you are not filled or satisfied?

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