“Consider Your Ways!”

Haggai 1:7

Haggai prophesied during the reign of King Darius (Haggai 1:1). This man was referred to elsewhere as “Darius the Mede” (Daniel 5:31) and “Darius king of Persia” (Ezra 4:24). He was the head of the Medes and Persians when they overthrew Babylon (Daniel 5:28, 30-31).

Haggai prophesied about the need to rebuild the temple. This was necessary because the temple – as well as the city of Jerusalem – had previously been destroyed by the Babylonians (2 Kings 25:8-9). Later, God called Cyrus king of Persia to allow the temple to be rebuilt (Ezra 1:1-2). However, these reconstruction efforts were stopped by threat of force (Ezra 4:4-7, 23-24). Work on the temple would not resume again until the reign of Darius (Ezra 4:24; Haggai 1:1).

As the people were instructed to rebuild the temple, they were also told to consider their ways (Haggai 1:5, 7). It is important for us to consider the lessons revealed by the prophet Haggai.
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"Surely I Will Be With You" (4/1)

Thought from today’s Bible reading from Judges 6-7.

During the time when the Midianites were oppressing Israel, the people cried out to God. As He regularly did during this time period, God raised up one to deliver the people from their oppressors. On this occasion, God called Gideon for this task. Gideon, however, showed reluctance in accepting this role.

The Lord looked at him and said, ‘Go in your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?’ He said to Him, ‘O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.’ But the Lord said to him, ‘Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man’” (Judges 6:14-16).

God nullified Gideon’s excuses with the promise, “Surely I will be with you.”
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"And Out Came This Calf" (2/9)

Thought from today’s Bible reading from Exodus 30-32.

When Moses confronted Aaron about the sin of the people regarding the golden calf, Aaron acknowledged the sin but tried to excuse himself from any blame.

Aaron said, ‘Do not let the anger of my lord burn; you know the people yourself, that they are prone to evil. For they said to me, ‘Make a god for us who will go before us; for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’  I said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, let them tear it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf’” (Exodus 32:22-24).

While Aaron’s defense had some truth in it, he was wrong about the formation of the calf. It did not just happen. He “fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf” (Exodus 32:4).
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“What Prevents Me From Being Baptized?”

Standing by the Water

After leaving Samaria, Philip met a eunuch from Ethiopia traveling home from Jerusalem and reading from the prophet Isaiah (Acts 8:26-33). This man wanted to understand what he was reading so he asked Philip, “Please tell me, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself or of someone else?” (Acts 8:34). At this point, “Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him” (Acts 8:35).

Every conversion, whether recorded in the New Testament or those that occur today, will begin with this. The story of Jesus is the heart of the gospel message (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Jesus is the cornerstone of the foundation upon which we are built (Ephesians 2:19-21). Jesus is “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). So Philip preached Jesus, just as we must do today.

The text implies the inclusion of baptism in Philip’s teaching about Jesus. The first thing we see after Luke recorded Philip preaching Jesus is this: “As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, ‘Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?’” (Acts 8:36). This would be an odd question if Philip had not already been discussing baptism with the eunuch.
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A Lion Outside

Lion

The sluggard says, ‘There is a lion outside; I will be killed in the streets’” (Proverbs 22:13).

This is one of many verses in the book of Proverbs that talks about the sluggard. The sluggard is lazy. He does not want to do anything or fulfill his responsibilities. Instead, he makes excuses (“There is a lion outside”). Is it a legitimate excuse? Is there really a lion outside lying in wait for him? Actually, it does not matter. His slothfulness has made him believe in the possibility of a lion outside; therefore, just in case, he will decide to stay inside.
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Saul’s Mission Against Amalek

Death of King Agag

Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey” (1 Samuel 15:3).

The Lord gave Saul, king of Israel, a mission. While it may not have been an easy task, it was a simple one. It was not one that Saul could misunderstand. The Lord wanted the nation of Amalek to be punished and He sent Saul on a mission to do it. Again, this was a simple task: Destroy everything. Yet Saul’s actions in carrying out that task caused him to be rejected from being king (1 Samuel 15:26) and caused the Lord to regret even making him king (1 Samuel 15:35). Let us look at some lessons we can learn from Saul that relate to our obedience to God.
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