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‘And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the LORD…’ (Ezra 3:10).
With the completion of the foundation, persons were ‘praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good …’ (Ezra 3:11). The people were thankful to God for the progress that had been made.
But wait a minute, that was not all that was going on. In the midst of the praises there was also weeping.
How could it be? The older men who had seen the previous temple ‘wept with a loud voice’ (Ezra 3:12). There was sadness that the new foundation did not show prospects of the magnificence of the first building. I can imagine that as they wept that they thought of the glory days of times past and some even may have wanted to return to those days. Yet in the midst of the weeping there were others who were just so thankful that they had reach that far; thankful that they had been able to rebuild a foundation on which they could move forward.
A few things came to mind as I read:
- there would have been valuable things of the past that the older men would have cherished;
- there were valuable things of the present that the persons praising were thankful for.
From the older men’s responses, there was pain and maybe even regret about the things and circumstances that would have caused them to have to reach the point of rebuilding a new foundation. Thankfully, there were persons among the group who were able to hold onto the vision of the possibilities in God of what could happen with the new foundation; they were ready to continue the rebuilding process.
In this story there are lessons for us all. To:
- be thankful for what we had in the past;
- not forget the past, but learn from the past;
- with God’s help be careful with the resources that we have been given, to avoid losing the important things;
- not allow the pain from regret to prevent us from enjoying the blessings that God has for us today and tomorrow;
- embrace the present foundation that God has provided and be thankful for all the rebuilding that God has been doing and continues to do in our lives.
So now, as you move forward, I encourage you to:
- learn from the past and with God’s help seek never to repeat past mistakes;
- lean on God’s wisdom and not your own;
- in God’s strength cherish and embrace every opportunity that He has provided for you to build on, recognizing that ‘the foundation of God standeth sure’ (2 Timothy 2:19), the only foundation that cannot fail and will never need rebuilding.
In Psalm 34:1 we are told, ‘I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth’. So let us remember at every stage of our lives to praise God continually, and not wait until the tasks are done or the goals are accomplished.
(Please note that Scripture quotations are from the King James Version. Public domain.)