God is absolutely brilliant!! It hit me again this morning as I was reflecting on what we was discussed last night in my Life Group. Among other things we were looking at Haggai 1. In this passage Haggai is challenging the people about putting God first (none of us want to hear that we are not putting God first). He is making the point that if we don’t put God first we will never be satisfied. We will never have “enough”. Then he pulls out a “parallel word picture” that cuts through their defensiveness and objections and makes his point crystal clear. No more argument, no more defensiveness, not more denial, just crystal clear application.
The parallel word picture that he uses is, “You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” Well…Duh!! Of course I am never going to have enough if I put all my money in a purse with holes! Who would be dumb enough to intentionally do that? Because they don’t see the parallel word picture as a direct example of what they are doing they are quick to see the insanity of it. Then Haggai says, “Give careful thought to your ways.” In other words that is exactly what you are doing when you don’t put God first and trust him completely to provide for you. You will never have enough if you are not completely defendant on God. To think otherwise is as insane as putting all your money in a purse with holes in it.
This is not the only time that God uses this technique. He also used it when Nathan confronted him about his sin with Bathsheba and uses it often with the prophets (Hosea marry a prostitute, Jeremiah and the linen belt, etc.).
I think it would be wise to learn from God. This technique can be very helpful when teaching our children, confronting a co-worker, or even sharing out faith. When we can get people to consider something while removing their own biases, and defensives we raise the likelihood of them being teachable. I don’t know that I will ever be considered brilliant (I have never been accused of this so far) but I am going to purposely strive to teach the way God does.