What's going on here is, King Cyrus of Persia allowed a group of exiled Israelites to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. When they started building, some enemies tried to stop them. The Israelites became afraid and stopped work on the temple. Instead, they moved on to a different project: their own houses. They had been neglecting God's house to work on their own, the Israelites were living in comfort, while God's house stood in ruin.
The Israelites had put themselves first. Their houses. Their comfort.Their needs. But it did not satisfy. They were eating, but it was never enough. They were drinking but never had their fill. They had clothes, but no one was warm (Haggai 1:6). When we try to fill our lives with us, we end up only full of regret. A life where "I am first" is meaningless. It is like the rich fool from Christ’s parable in Luke 12. He built up wealth and possessions for himself, but it didn’t matter at the end of his life.
Their priorities have shifted, and instead of focusing on what God wanted for them, their lives became all about what they wanted. God became second place.
Sometimes, we do this without even realizing. Perhaps you're so focused on getting your GPA up so you can enter the career of your choice, you forget to spend time with the Lord and pray before you head to class.
Take some time today and ask yourself, "what kind of house am I building?” What are the things you think about the most throughout the day? What kinds of things are running through your mind as you scroll through social media newsfeed looking at what everybody else has? While it may seem like a cliche, it's a beautiful truth we must hold onto: keep God first! It is far more rewarding than what this world could ever provide for you!
Trust God at His word, and bravely say "yes" to His call, trusting that He will take care of you, that He is with you, that He will provide for our needs. We can put His kingdom first, and we can live a life building up His name.
If God is first, my life is full. Even in hard times, because they will come, we can rest in the truth that our God is with us.
Let's be builders of His kingdom, not our own.