“Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Is it not as nothing in your eyes? … Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the LORD. Work, for I am with you … My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not.” (Haggai 2:3-5)
Some of the Israelites who had returned from exile, had seen Solomon’s temple before it was destroyed. They remembered how great it had been, and the new temple was “nothing” in comparison. No matter how hard they tried, they would never be able to match up to the splendor of this former temple. That made them sad and depressed.
Having beautiful memories can be a blessing. The Israelites were often reminded of their salvation from slavery in Egypt, for instance. When they remembered how God had guided their people through the desert, this was a great reminder of the Lord’s power and faithfulness. Maybe you, too, have experienced God’s help or presence in the past. Let these memories encourage you.
But sometimes, as in today’s Bible verses, memories of a glorious past make us sad and listless. Our longing for the good old times prevents us from enjoying today’s blessings and working. If you are in such a situation, please take God’s words to heart: “I am with you … My Spirit remains in your midst.” His presence gives strength. Don’t linger in the past, but focus on God’s presence today.
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