Saturday, February 18, 2017


Ezra 3

Each of us has gone through a 'unique to us' set of circumstances.  Each experience colors our perception of current situations and in turn influences our response.  What can be a moment of extreme gladness to one might be a trigger of intense sadness for another.  Neither is right or wrong but simply dependent on where we have been, what we have seen, and how it effected us.

As Cyrus king of Persia gave the Israelites the go ahead to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, the young priests are celebrating the foundation being laid.  With praise and thanksgiving, they sing of God's goodness and enduring love.  At the same time, the older priests who had seen the former temple wept at the completion of the new foundation.  Both groups are participating in a God~ordained activity, so why such contrasting responses?

From the perspective of the young priests, this temple gives them hope.  Likely hearing the stories of the faithful God their elders knew, the construction of this building embodies progress for the people in overcoming the adversity they experienced during their captivity.  They are embracing the forgiveness of God through the restoration of the temple and see it as a sign of reconcilliation.  They will again have a proper place to offer their sacrifices and a visual of what a right relationship with Him is meant to be.

However, the older priests, the ones weeping, see this foundation of a new temple differently.  They are remembering what was and why there is a need to rebuild it in the first place.  This reconstruction phase is giving them the opportunity to grieve what was lost, repent of the sins that lead to it, and likely overwhelm them with both sorrow and gratitude for the second chance, the second chance they probably wish wasn't needed in the first place.

Most of us have probably found ourselves in similar situations.  We see where our relationship with the Lord is growing and vibrant and then somehow it slips or regresses.  When we get back on track, we are both relieved and sad.  We are thankful that we have found our way again to where we were never meant to leave, but also upset with the progress we feel we lost or the ground we think we would have gained had the detour not occurred in the first place.  But just like we read in Esther, our time and place is this......wherever 'this' is, regardless of how we ended up here.  God planned for our sidetrips, distractions, and stumbles and so wherever you are is exactly where you are meant to be.

No matter what brought you to the place you are now standing, He is right there with you.  And whether you are breaking ground for the first time or the tenth, the foundation is always God, the cornerstone is always Christ, and His faithful love continues to endure forever.

Father, it's easy for us to forget that what we see varies so much from what You see.  Open our eyes to see things from your perspective and to believe that every experience is meant to deepen our dependence on You, grow our faith, and increase our trust.  May our song always be one that recounts Your faithful love that endures forever.  Amen

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