THE CHIEF CONCERN
"And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar." (Gen.8:20) The face of the world had just been wiped clean by the Flood. Noah and his family here set foot in a world that was, in virtually every sense, completely unlike the one that had been overthrown. The topography, geography, biology and climate of earth had all been changed. Uncertainties abounded. How would they survive? What should they do first? But Noah was a man of faith (Heb.11:7). When every natural instinct of man would be to first build a home for shelter, Noah instead "builded an altar unto the LORD." Religion was his chief concern. Abram (Abraham), another man of faith, was of a similar heart. When God called him out of his home country of Ur to serve Him in strange new lands, Abram first built an altar unto the LORD (Gen.12:7-8). One of the errors of the Jewish remnant that returned from Babylon is that they had this priority reversed. The great mercies of God had delivered them from both the judgment that befell their fathers at the hands of the Babylonians and then from their exile in Babylon. Yet, the Lord's house did "lie waste," while they had diligently built their own houses (Hag.1:1-11). Their plea was that "The time is not come, the time that the LORD's house should be built" (Hag.1:2). Other things, important things, needful things---they had to be taken care of first. The prophet Haggai had all of this that he could stand. As with David (Psa.69:9) and the Lord Jesus Christ (Joh.2:17), the zeal of God's house had eaten him up. God's people had to be told that "The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob" (Psa.87:2). The concerns of life in this world have always been a challenge to God's people and it is so unto this day. Whether the question is, "Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?" (Psa.78:19) or "Will we be able to nicely furnish our house in the city?", the child of faith should know better than to put personal priorities before God's. Jesus Christ put it this way: "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Mat.6:31-33).