Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD.
Sometimes we just need to stop and consider our ways. Why does life seem so empty? Why do we feel like we’re getting nowhere? Why does everything seem insufficient and unsatisfying? Could it be that we’ve neglected God? Maybe we have been focusing too much on ourselves and what we want and what we can have and have not paid attention to what God wanted us to do. Maybe we are pursuing our own selfish desires with the passion with which we should be pursuing the things of God.
A focus on ourselves always leaves us wanting more. There is no life in that, no blessing. Those things come from God. He bestows them upon us, blessing us abundantly in many ways as we follow Him and give Him the priority in our lives. One of the commands given to Israel was to bring their firstfruits, to tithe, to give God a portion before having the rest for themselves. But when we neglect to put God first in any area of our lives, we only hurt ourselves.
Israel had gone back to their promised land to rebuild the temple and the city of Jerusalem. But they had gotten distracted with their own pursuits and neglected to do that important task that had brought them back in the first place. With that work undone, they would not thrive in their lives. With disobedience reigning in their hearts, all that they did would be fruitless. But when they recommitted to God and got back on track doing what they were supposed to do, God blessed them for that.
How is it that we can get so lax about the things of God? How do we drift from Him after all He’s done for us? After all that we’ve experienced from God—His grace, salvation, His mercy, His blessings, His presence—how do we become content pursuing other things to the neglect of God? Sometimes we just need to look at what we are doing and see what we might need to do instead. When we get back into the center of God’s will, when we give Him first place again, when we submit to all He’s asked of us, those places of lack become places for God to pour out His grace and blessing upon us.