It can be a challenge to always recognize who is in control of our lives. In many cases, people believe they have sole ownership of whether or not things go “according to plan”. Whether it was in school, on the practice field, or performing the daily chores we had around the house, we have been charged from a young age to work hard in whatever we do. We accomplish tasks from start to finish individually or with a group of people with our minds and/or our hands. We make friends by personally introducing ourselves, staying in touch, and visiting with one another on a regular basis. I can decide whether or not I am going to be personable, and the same goes for the other individual. When a loved one is treated for an illness or injury in the hospital, the doctor is the one who performs the surgery or prescribes the right medicine that enables the loved one to recover. In all of these situations, we are the ones physically performing the work and mentally making the decisions that will drive whether or not a situation is going to be successful… or so it seems.
Haggai 1: 5-6, 9a, 10-11 “Now, therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways. 6 You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes. 9 You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. 10 Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. 11 And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast, and on all their labors.”
Zechariah 8: 10-12 “For before those days there was no wage for man or any wage for beast, neither was there any safety from the foe for him who went out or came in, for I set every man against his neighbor. 11 But now I will not deal with the remnant of this people as in the former days, declares the LORD of hosts. 12 For there shall be a sowing of peace. The vine shall give its fruit, and the ground shall give its produce, and the heavens shall give their dew…”
When reading passages like the ones above, it is very difficult to think of an area in my life where God does not play a major part. In the Haggai passage, we read about individuals who were working for a living, clothing their families, feeding their families, and trying to save funds. People in 2013 are performing these exact same tasks today. In the Haggai passage, it is clear that the effort of the people was great. It says that “you have sown much and looked for much”, but their efforts were futile; they weren’t successful though they were doing everything they could for it to be so. If people are in control, and people ultimately drive whether or not a situation is going to be successful, they would have had plenty to eat and drink, they would have been warm in their clothes, and they would have been saving funds, but they weren’t. God was against them because His house was not built and they were living in their homes, and so they weren’t accomplishing their goals. In the Zechariah passage, we read that the relationships of the Jewish ancestors were very hostile. It wasn’t a safe time. Why is this? Didn’t they have a choice whether or not to be kind to one another? Didn’t they have a choice to put other’s needs in front of their own? Yes they did, but because God was against them, their efforts towards good relationships were to no avail.
The Bible is very clear that as Christians we are to do our best in everything we do. We must do our part in order to be successful in life, work, and relationships. Ultimately, though, God will do as He pleases, so if we are successful in an endeavor, we need to give Him the glory. God gave the Jews in Zechariah instructions on how to stay in good standing with God.
Zechariah 8: 16-17 “These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace; 17 do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the LORD.”
We are told in Romans chapter eight that for those who love God all things work together for good. This is not a guarantee that we will always be successful in every earthly endeavor… it is so much more.
Romans 8: 31-32 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?