“And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD: “For He is good, For His mercy endures forever toward Israel.” Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. But many of the priests and Levites and heads of the fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this temple was laid before their eyes. Yet many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard afar off.”
Ezra 3:11-13 NKJV
I dream a lot. Every night, my sleep is punctuated by many dreams of things in my life, my past and many of the people I have encountered. Often those dreams are of a younger me, a more able me, of a body that could do great things. I could walk, run, and push myself to my limits and beyond. Inevitably, I awaken to the current reality, a fading shadow of my old self. A part of me weeps over that former self, the one alive only in my dreams.
I spent some time in Ezra this morning, and read of the rebuilding of the temple. The children of Israel were fresh from captivity and it was time to rebuild the foundations of what was before it all fell apart. The people had fallen into idolatry and went after other gods, and received due penalty. Now they were back, but the glory of the past was gone. Those who remembered the past wept and mourned.
When I look at that bit of Old Testament bible history, I am reminded of my life as a believer. What they were rebuilding in Ezra was a temple of God built with human hands. We, by contrast, are a temple made of flesh and blood, and made by God. The Old Testament offers so many types and shadows for us, as we go forth in our faith. As I look at the passage, I am reminded of my early walk with the Lord, when I was energized and everything was fresh and new.
Each day in the word was an adventure, filled with new insights and wrought with expectation. God was doing miracles in my life, as He destroyed stronghold after stronghold and established His beachhead in the war for my soul. In the early days, the battle was brisk, and the times were exciting as God got the victory. Like any great victory, there is the transition, the point where one must go from winning to governing. At this point one must live in the new reality.
The danger is always there as we become comfortable in the lives we live. We find ourselves letting down guards, and if we are not careful, old sins reemerge, strongholds rebuild, and we find ourselves backslid. When we do see the danger, we seek to revive, but all too often we do not see the glory we once knew. I am like the old levites in the passage, as I weep over the past glory, now faded.
Lately, I have been using a old bible from those formative years, and I am dazzled at the enthusiasm I had, and the insight. I am glad that I have kept all my Ebenezers, my stones of remembrance to remind me that God was there.
Everyday I am challenged by the young, hungry believer I once was, to keep the fires alit. We who are the called out, have an advantage over those in the biblical times, as our temple is not based on materials that can be torn down, but based on Jesus, who paid for our sins, is forever alive, and at the right hand of the Father petitioning on our behalf.
Brothers and sisters, know that you can renew your walk with the Lord, that He is there for you, waiting. He is there and He has not changed.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
Hebrews 13:8 NKJV
In these days, I am like the young men, as I celebrate the faithfulness of God, as He does not change. The very same Holy Spirit, who took over my life these many years ago, is the same today. I rejoice in His faithfulness. I also rejoice in the fact that the best is yet to come, when someday, we all who call upon the name of the Lord, will be will be with Him for all eternity. The glory will never fade.
Seek the Lord today, and renew yourself in Him!
“Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.”
Psalms 51:9-12 NKJV
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