on Haggai 1 :5
Consider your ways - Is it fit that you should be building yourselves elegant houses, and neglect a place for the worship of that God who has restored you from captivity?
on Haggai 1 :5
And now, thus saith the Lord of hosts; "Consider," (literally "set your heart upon) your ways," what they had been doing, what they were doing, and what those doings had led to, and would lead to. This is ever present to the mind of the prophets, as speaking God's words, that our acts are not only "ways" in which we go, each day of life being a continuance of the day before; but that they are ways which lead, somewhere in God's Providence and His justice; to some end of the "way," good or bad. So God says by Jeremiah Jer 21:8. "I set before you the way of life and the way of death;" and David Psalm 16:11, "Thou wilt show me the path of life," where it follows, "In Thy presence is the fullness of joy and at Thy Right Hand there are pleasures forevermore;" and Solomon Proverbs 6:23, "Reproofs of instruction are the way of life;" and, he is in Proverbs 10:17, "the way of life who keepeth instruction; and he who forsaketh rebuke, erreth;" and Proverbs 15:24, "The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath;" and of the adulterous woman, Proverbs 7:27. "Her house are the ways of hell, going down to the chambers of death" and Proverbs 5:5-6, "her feet go down unto death; her steps take hold on hell; lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life." Again, Proverbs 14:12; Proverbs 16:25. "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, and the end thereof are the ways of death;" and contrariwise Proverbs 4:18, "The path of the righteous is a shining light, shining more and more until the mid-day" Proverbs 2:13. "The ways of darkness" are the ways which end in darkness; and when Isaiah says Isaiah 59:8, "The way of peace hast thou not known," he adds, "whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace." They who choose not peace for their way, shall not find peace in and for their end.
On these your ways, Haggai says, "set your hearts," not thinking of them lightly, nor giving a passing thought to them, but fixing your minds upon them; as God says to Satan Job 1:8, "Hast thou set thy heart on My servant Job?" and God is said to set His eye or His face upon man for good Jeremiah 24:6; or for evil Jeremiah 21:10, He speaks also, not of setting the mind, applying the understanding, giving the thoughts, but of "setting the heart," as the seat of the affections. It is not a dry weighing of the temporal results of their ways, but a loving dwelling upon them, for repentance without love is but the gnawing of remorse.
Set your heart on your ways; - i. e., your affections, thoughts, works, so as to be circumspect in all things; as the apostle Paul says 1 Timothy 5:21, "Do nothing without forethought," i. e., without previous judgment of reason; and Solomon Proverbs 4:25, "Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee;" and the son of Sirach, "Son, do nothing without counsel and when thou hast done it thou wilt not repent." For since, according to a probable proposition, nothing in human acts is indifferent, i. e., involving neither good nor ill deserts, they who do not thus set their hearts upon their ways, do they not daily incur almost countless sins, in thought, word, desire, deed, yea and by omission of duties? Such are all fearless persons who heed not to fulfill what is written Proverbs 4:23, 'Keep your heart with all watchfulness. '"
"He "sows much" to his own heart, but "brings in little," who by reading and hearing knows much of the heavenly commands, but by negligence in deeds bears little fruit. "He eats and is not satisfied," who, hearing the words of God, coveteth the gains or glory of the world. Well is he said not to be "satisfied," who eateth one thing, hungereth after another. He drinks and is not inebriated, who inclineth his ear to the voice of preaching, but changeth not his mind. For through inebriation the mind of those who drink is changed. He then who is devoted to the knowledge of God's word, yet still desireth to gain the things of the world, drinks and is not inebriated. For were he inebriated, no doubt he would have changed his mind and no longer seek earthly things, or love the vain and passing things which he had loved. For the Psalmist says of the elect Psalm 36:8, "they shall be inebriated with the richness of Thy house," because they shall be filled with such love of Almighty God, that, their mind being changed, they seem to be strangers to themselves, fulfilling what is written Matthew 16:24, 'If any will come after Me, let him deny himself. '"
on Haggai 1 :5