This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,’ says the Lord. ‘You expected much, but see it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?’, declares the Lord Almighty. ‘Because of my house, which remains a ruin while each of you is busy with your own house. THerefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grian, the new wine, the olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands. Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the whole remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the message of the prophet Haggai, because the Lord their God had sent him. And the people feared the Lord. Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave this message of the Lord to the people: ‘I am with you’, decalres the Lord. So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the Lord Almighty, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month. - Haggai 1:7-15

In this passage, the people of post-exile Judah were given the task by God through Haggai the prophet to rebuild the temple. The temple was a symbol of God's presence dwelling among the people and in the day of the Old Testament, the temple was where you went to meet with God because that was where His spirit dwelled. The people here were living in poverty and had stopped construction due to the economic devastation they were experiencing. When looking at the situation, Haggai concluded that their predicament was a result from a lack of obedience to God's request. He based this on the Mosaic covenant that they were living under at that time which deemed that how they responded to the requests of God directly determined God's response to them. If they obeyed it resulted in peace and prosperity. If they disobeyed, the result of economic and political disaster. Later on in the passage, the entirety of the people turn and start to obey the voice of God (v. 12) and begin to fear the Lord. The Lord keeps His covenant with them equally here and responds by saying "I am with you" (v. 13) and He responds to them with favor and the circumstances of the people change.

Even though we are no longer under the Mosaic covenant, God's love and desire for obedience remains the same. Romans 8:1-17 describes the outcomes of the new covenant that we are under because of Jesus and what he did on the cross. It talks about how we are no longer slaves to sin but rather are filled and led by the power of the Holy Spirit. Our disobedience no longer results directly in economic and political disaster - but it still has consequences. Romans 8:13 says "For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live." When we live in disobedience and allow ourselves to be led by our flesh, we do not experience the fullness, freedom and abundance of our inheritance. Obedience in nature does not change, as our obedience to God results in good for us as it leads to fruit being produced in our lives\walk with the Lord. The other aspect of obedience that remains true is that favor follows obedience. As we choose to partner with God and what He is doing\where He is leading, God blesses our efforts. James 1:25 says "But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues in it - not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it - they will be blessed in what they do." Thus, obedience is a worthwhile pursuit as it simultaneously results in favor from the Lord as well as a more full experience of our inheritance as God's children.

Obedience is God's love language. In John 14:15, Jesus says "If you love me, keep my commands." God receives love from us when we are obedient to his calling in our lives and in how He has called us to live. He knows that is for our good, that it is the best thing for us. He responds to our obedience with favor. These are all good things and they are worth fighting for. Today, I want you to think about areas in your life that you need to surrender over to the Lord, I want you to ask him what he is leading you towards next & want he is leading you away from. Be willing to offer up your lives in holy surrender, trusting that His heart for obedience is what is best for you.

End by praying this scripture over yourselves - This is a great prayer to pray over yourselves. I have put it in a blog before, but we can always be praying this over ourselves:

"Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." -Psalm 139:23-24

- Megan McGarrah