Yew Tin shares her takeaways from a two-session online study of Haggai. Haggai Bible Study – It’s Now or Never: We are in this Together was conducted by Rev. Anthony Phua.
When I was approached to write something that I had learnt from Pastor Anthony’s teachings from the book of Haggai, my immediate response was to grumble to myself – “Why me? Am I not out of WSCS Exco already?”
Thank God for leading me to read through the material on Haggai graciously shared by Pastor Anthony. At my age (which is on the wrong side of 60), memory fails me and thanks to Pastor Anthony’s willingness to share his notes with us, I easily recollected the 3 Ps – Priorities, Perseverance and Promise – that he had clearly and concisely taught us.
I found the breakout session, which was something new to me, effective. One of the questions asked at the breakout session was “What word or phrase jumped out at you during the reading of the passage?”. For me, it was ‘misplaced priorities’. How often have I misplaced priorities? Many a times, many things that I do, or plan to do, do not show that I put God as my highest priority.
“Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it. This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways.”– Haggai 1:5-7
In Haggai 1:5-7, God reminds us twice to consider our ways. With the Holy Spirit’s help, I have to be very mindful to evaluate my list of priorities and to always put God at the top of my priorities.
During the time when the people were rebuilding the temple, they faced many problems, but God encouraged them to persevere and be strong, for He will be with them (Haggai 2:4-5). Many times, when I encountered problems, I would jump into finding solutions myself without going to God, forgetting the lyrics of the song “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”:
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer!
I have to keep reminding myself of Romans 8:31 – “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
God promises to bless us, but He also expects us to be obedient. In 1 Samuel 15:22, “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”, we must not forget to stay obedient to God.
In a recent Thanksgiving Service that I attended where Bishop Emeritus Dr Robert Solomon delivered a Homily, he expounded the 2 versions of Romans 8:28 as follows:
- Romans 8:28 (KJV) – And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.
- Romans 8:28 (NIV) – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
According to Bishop Dr Solomon, the KJV puts it in such a way that it is the “all things” that are working together for our good. But the NIV version refers to God who is working all things together for all good.
In his opinion, the NIV version makes more sense theologically and biblically because it is not circumstances that determine our paths and journeys, but it is God behind our circumstances, our decisions and choices, and He is working all things together for all good.
Nothing is Impossible with God
From all these, I learnt that with God, nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37) and we have to be totally dependent on Him. In my remaining earthly journey with Christ, I pray that God will correct my misplaced priorities, help me to persevere to press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14), and keep His promises to bless me if I stay obedient to Him.