Danger of Comparisons

Then all the people gave a great shout, praising the Lord because the foundation of the Lord’s Temple had been laid.

But many of the older priests, Levites, and other leaders who had seen the first Temple wept aloud when they saw the new Temple’s foundation. The others, however, were shouting for joy. The joyful shouting and weeping mingled together in a loud noise that could be heard far in the distance.

Ezra 3:11b-13 New Living Translation

The laying of the new temple’s foundation brought a great amount of emotion among the people that were there. Many shouted for joy at the prospect of having a new place to worship Yahweh. The older priests who were there wept, though. There was a deeper emotion in them because they were among the few people who would have remembered the first temple built by Solomon.

It’s uncertain why the older priests wept. Their tears may have been tears of joy at remembering the good old days and the role the temple played in their culture. It is generally believed that this temple was smaller and more basic than the one built by Solomon. So, there may have been a certain amount of lament in the tears of the older priests. They may have remembered the grandeur of the old temple and the prosperity it represented. Zerubbabel’s temple was built in a time of poverty. They didn’t have the wealth they had before. Whatever the reason for the weeping of the older generation, God was doing something new in Jerusalem. God was still at work carrying out His plan for the redemption of the world He created.

A good question to ask ourselves is how we respond when we think about the past. Do we look back with nostalgia at the good old days when things were better? Do we lament that things are not like they used to be? Or do we look ahead with anticipation of what God may be doing in the future?

God, thank you for the good memories of the past. Thank you also that you are always at work no matter the appearance of things from the outside. Help us not to get so fixated on the past that we lose sight of what You are doing now and in the future

Published by llongard

I grew up in northeast Wisconsin. After high school, I moved to Minneapolis, MN to attend North Central University and graduated 1992 with a degree in Biblical Studies and Humanities. I spent most of the next fifteen years in the Twin Cities area until my family and I moved to Indiana in 2007. For most of the first seventeen years after college, I was involved in university ministry either as a volunteer, bi-vocational, or full-time campus minister. Through those years, I also worked in the main street marketplace as a retail manager/trainer and as a service representative in the insurance industry. I've also worked in various education roles. Most recently, I have been working on various projects addressing homelessness in Indianapolis and as team lead for Diakonos Community, a Communitas International missional initiative. Through this ministry, we seek to build missional communities in Indianapolis that serve and bring the life of Christ to those on the margins of society. Our strategy is to collaborate with community agencies that serve those in need and share Christ through meaningful relationships. I am blessed with a wonderful wife, three amazing daughters, and two cats (can't forget the cats, LOL). As a family, we enjoy camping, hiking, gardening, and going to the YMCA together. I also enjoy fishing, riding bicycle, and being involved in whatever my daughters are doing. Though I have not lived in the Green Bay area for over 20 years, I am still a major Packer fan.

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