Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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October 31 – Priorities

“Then the word of the LORD came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, ‘Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?’  Now, therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.’  Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Consider your ways. Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified,’ says the LORD.”  Haggai 1:3-8

Devotional Thought For The Day

The period of history being described is following the return of Israel to the area around Jerusalem after their captivity in Babylon [around 535 B.C.].  The Persian kings, Cyrus and Darius, had released God’s people to return to Jerusalem so that they could rebuild the temple of the LORD.  It would never again be as the great temple which Solomon built, but at least worship of God, the only True and Living God, would once again take place, along with the teaching of His Word.  This reestablishment of Israel was almost as miraculous as their deliverance from Egypt – although He had made the Persian kings cooperative, while Pharaoh’s heart remained incorrigibly hardened.

Common sense would dictate that the people would first establish their own properties, build houses, get fields back to an arable condition, and once they were prospering they could start to build the temple.  This logic also appeals to us – work hard, save money in investments, get set for retirement, purchase what we desire – and then, once we are “successful,” consider giving to the LORD, when we can afford it.  These verses show that this is not the formula for “success” and blessedness!  Rather, the promise of God is that when we first tend to His house, and worship, and generous offerings, then His hand of blessing is poured out upon us. Tending to ourselves first, attempting to accumulate and enrich ourselves by our own efforts, without concern for God’s blessing, brings futility to our work and poverty.  When our first concern is for God’s glory, then His hand of blessing is upon us.

Our forebears understood this, and this dynamic is part of the history of America.  Throughout the early years of our nation’s history, and even through the time of World War 2, people were energetic about God’s glory, and eager to worship Him.  Often churches were built before homes and barns.  These pious people laid a foundation for us – which brought great blessing to our nation, including great wealth.  As with ancient Israel, however, many people today have forgotten their great Benefactor, and now think that success is to be gained without God’s blessing, without giving deference to His glory, even when treating God with disdain.  The resultant socioeconomic realities are now coming into view – huge national debt, unemployment, natural disasters, dramatic loss of net worth, increased poverty and suffering.  Meanwhile, the immorality and godlessness continues in full force – a wicked thumb in God’s eye.

As Thanksgiving Day approaches, hopefully Americans will recall the faith and piety of the first Americans, and return to God’s house in repentance, to give God thanks and glory for what we have left, and to renew honoring Him and trusting in Him, seeking His blessing.  Until this repentance occurs, and so long as rampant wickedness prevails, we should not expect God’s blessings upon our nation.  Why would He honor and reward such godlessness and violence?  We who know His gracious mercy and forgiveness in Christ Jesus have great opportunity to encourage others around us to return to God, to receive His gracious forgiveness and to give Him glory.  Now is time for deep and fervent prayer, humble and repentant prayer, that God might touch hearts and minds to return to Him, that our nation might be spared.  He alone is our hope – for we have only begun to see how utterly vulnerable we are without His blessing.

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, help us to return to truly pious, believing, and trusting ways, so that our first concern is with Your house and Your glory, rather than our own personal wealth.  Forgive us for building our own houses, and minding our own business and pleasure first, and giving You only our leftovers.  Grant strength to Your people that they may lead a humble and genuine return to faith in You.  Amen.