With the okay from the Persian king Cyrus, over 42,000 Jews made the long trip back to Jerusalem. Can you image such a caravan? After all those years of living outside of their homeland, emotions must have been high as they walked day after day, mile after mile. Did the tired travelers sing songs of joy as they neared their beloved land after four months of walking? Provisions had been made to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem and a Jewish teacher and scribe named Ezra (still living in Babylon) recorded correspondence about the progress as well as the opposition.
Prophets Haggai (an older man) and Zechariah (a younger man) tag-teamed to get the attention of God’s people who had now returned from exile. God said, “Give careful thought to your ways” and He pointed out how the people were busy making their own homes luxurious while the Temple still remained in ruins. Something needed to change. What changed was the attitude of the people, and they began in earnest to start the Temple restoration project.
Prosperity would come from their commitment to go forward with building the Temple. Up until this time, crops had not produced their yields. God then said, “But from this day on I will bless you.” And He did. And He still does! It is not that big of a leap for us to picture our lives and our priorities today. Are we spinning in circles thinking that the next new thing is going to bring lasting satisfaction? Let us be content with what we have, being sure to give attention to what draws us closer to God. There is always blessedness in the peace we have when we are near Him, when we give careful thought to our ways.