The Glory of the Future Days: The Snare of the Old Days Pt 2.
The Glory of the Future Days:
The Snare of the Old Days Pt 2.
“The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,” says the Lord of Hosts, “and in this place I will give peace,” declares the Lord of Hosts.
It is right to remember the triumphs and joys of the past. Part of the gift of memory is remembering the pleasant events that happened in the past. A gift from God is that our natural tendency is to remember the good and forgive the bad. The appeal of nostalgia is that it brings back pleasant events that mark our life. Furthermore, it is good to reflect on and remember the work of God that was manifested in the past. Remember, God’s past deliverance from adversity is essential to finding hope in the present. In Joshua 4, after the Israelites crossed the Jordan to enter the land God promised, Joshua commanded the people to make a pillar of stones to serve as a constant reminder of God’s salvation and faithfulness to his promises (Joshua 4:1-8). They were to be a memorial for the generations to come. Remembering the past activity of God gives us perspective and hope in present circumstances.
However, the danger is that in reflecting upon the past, we can become so enamored with what God did back then that we lose sight of what God is now doing in the present. When the Israelites started to rebuild the temple, the past glamour and beauty of Solomon’s temple blinded them from seeing what God was doing in the present and future. Because it did not have the brilliance of the gold-plated temple of Solomon, they degraded the new temple. In their discouragement, they quit building.
In response to their discouragement, God redirects their focus. The absence of the gold and silver that bedazzled Solomon’s temple was not because God could not return these precious metals to Israel again. God makes this clear when he states, “The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine” (2:8). In other words, if he desired to have the outward beauty of the new temple match the wonders of Solomon’s temple, he could. But God wanted something different. Solomon’s temple became famous for the outward glory of its dazzling beauty. But it became devoid of God’s presence as the people embraced idolatry. In the New Temple, God desires to put his glory on display. The new temple would be greater than the old Temple, not because of the size of the temple, but because of what God was going to do in the temple. The old temple had become an empty shell of the worship of God, but in the new temple, God would display his works.
When we become snared by the “ol’ days,” we can become blinded in seeing what God is doing today. We look at the church and remember the “ol’ days” when the pews were full, and everyone in the community came. But it is not the size of the church or the number of people in the pews that make the church vibrant and dynamic. It is the presence of God. Even though the numbers may be fewer, God’s presence may be more significant as people walk in obedience to God and experience the reality of God in their lives. This is equally true for us as well. Life may have been good in the old days, but God is still working in our lives in the present, drawing us closer to him. This makes our lives “good,” not just the nostalgic remembrances of times when life was easy. So instead of looking past and comparing the present with the past, look for ways God works in the present. When we see what God is doing, we testify of God's glory, which is what makes life good.