It Seems Like Nothing Compared To Before

Ezra 3:10 – 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, after the ordinance of David king of Israel.

Ezra 3:11 – And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.

Ezra 3:12 – But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy:

Ezra 3:13 – 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 noise was heard afar off.

Hello readers, been a bit of a break for me between blogs. I’ve had so much to blog about but not sure what one to actually do. I read the book of Ezra over the Christmas period, and during reading it, I noticed that in Ezra, two prophets who have their own books in the Bible played a huge role in the rebuilding of the temple. They told people God’s word, and that’s how they helped the people mobilize to rebuild the temple which had been destroyed when God brought judgment on the nation for its wickedness those many years earlier. The names of  these two prophets are Haggai and Zechariah, so I read those books also, and got so much out of it.

In Haggai, God speaks regarding what happened just here quoted from Ezra. For when they laid the foundation of the temple, many wept while many others shouted for joy. What a confusing time. Some were happy, but some were sad. Why were they weeping? Because they’d seen the first temple… and we know from Haggai that when the foundation was laid they were crying because it was absolutely nothing compared to the first house. Waves of regret and waste washed over their soul as they thought about the lost years and what they’d lost because of their disobedience as a nation, oh how much their sin had cost them.

But humble beginnings are where a life for God starts. And maybe you are in a humble beginning phase. Maybe your life has been waste and ruin but you’ve decided to trust God and build a life of obedience to him. That’s where the Jews were at. Their nation and city had been destroyed and they’d been slaves for many years all because they rejected the word of God and went their own way thinking they knew better. And now in Ezra, God has shown great grace and mercy to the remnant of Jews left and the king has told them any Jew can go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple of God.

And they’d deferred to do it. Because if you read Haggai 1, you see God telling them to consider their ways. They kept saying, oh it’s not time yet to build the Lord’s house. But it sure seemed like there was enough time for them to build their own houses. That’s what we are like. It’s never a good time to read the Bible, pray and obey Jesus Christ… but there’s always enough time to pursue our own interests and goals and pleasures. And Haggai’s message started with a rebuke… hey, God is not blessing us because we have forgotten him, we keep deferring and procrastinating building the most important building in our country. We’re doing the same things already which ruined us time and time again before!

So they finally did get to building because of the urging and exhortation of the faithful prophets of God. God still has men that fear him who carry his word. And often who needs the word the most is the professing Christians. We need to stop waiting for the world to get better and start being salt and light ourselves. If you are saved and you are not salt and light, who will be?

They finally laid the foundation for the new temple. Foundations are important, because the foundation is what you build the rest upon. Christianity has lost it’s foundation, because it’s forgotten the Bible, which is the foundation of our faith. We can’t build anything on top of no foundation, and many professing Christians are trying to build a religion upon no foundation… and that’s why it falls apart. Every good builder knows the importance of a strong, stable foundation upon which to build the rest of the house.

And so they got the foundation laid, but then the Bible tells us that the old men in particular were weeping when they saw it. Because we know from Haggai 2 that they saw it as nothing to which they had in the past. What a small start! And often we don’t ever start because anything we do seems like nothing, so we don’t even do that. Reading that chapter seems like nothing, telling one person the gospel can seem like nothing. But that’s where Christianity begins, it has humble beginnings. Indeed, there is no salvation without you becoming really really small in your own eyes before the Almighty.

And just because your start is small doesn’t mean God cannot do anything with it, nor that it won’t be great in time. Maybe your little life seems so insignificant. Maybe those first steps in trusting and obeying God seem so inadequate. But God addressed this in Haggai 2, and he said the glory of this house would exceed the glory of the first one. Oh that seemed impossible, because they’d seen the house Solomon built, how could you get better than that? Yet there could be. We obviously know that God had something so much better than a physical building planned, because this is also a reference to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, not just his first time when he took upon him the temple of a human body, but the second time when he dwells in us as his temple, and in the future when he returns to this earth to rule and reign as King of kings and Lord of lords.

God had a lot better things than Solomon coming, as great as Solomon was, Jesus Christ is greater. You have him, you have WAY more than a gold and silver and diamond studded building. Maybe you never get started obeying God because it feels so inadequate compared to someone else or something past. But God uses humble beginnings. Moses didn’t think his humble beginning as a shepherd in a desert would amount to too much, his little dialogue with God at the burning bush was a humble beginning to a glorious national deliverance.

Admittedly, there is some cause to weep today, because our Christianity is nothing compared to time past. We seem to have so much less than past generations which feared God, which had the Bible at the forefront of their society and had the light and blessedness that comes with obedience to God’s word. And imagine these old men, who had seen the previous house, who had the perspective that living life can give to contextualize what was happening as finally after all the garbage that has happened… a foundation is laid down to build again.

There are two contrasting emotions in salvation. Weeping and the rejoicing are both involved in salvation. Israel was experiencing national revival, national salvation. God had revived them out of the rubbish and wrath and judgment. And thus you have great sorrow and great joy. Salvation involves brokenness and repentance and mourning over sin and what sin has done and what it has produced and cost, but it also involves indescribable rejoicing and joy and happiness in being saved. And you see both emotions in the rebuilding of the temple here.

So today I just want to encourage you from God’s word, read Haggai 2, God was addressing exactly what was happening here. It seemed like nothing compared to before, but it was something, and it would amount to far more than the previous house. God knew that the ancients were thinking, boy this is nothing to what we used to have. But God is saying, my covenant is still just as true as it ever was. Because God’s word does not change or fail forever. Be strong, I am with you… and he will be with you. You put him first, and God will be with you. As soon as this people got their priorities right and started obeying God’s word, God was meeting them just like the prodigal son who returned home after a life of sin and waste and ruin. In his favour is life, the Bible says. He is way more for you than you are.

What a wonderful part of the Bible this is, because this is a generation that heard God’s prophets, that obeyed God’s word, that rebuilt and repaired. And we are in a time of destruction and darkness that rejecting God’s word brings, but even now, you can still be one of his jewels in a wicked, dark and evil world. Laying the foundation and starting to put one stone upon the other might not seem like too much now, but with God and laying that good and tried and tested and true foundation of repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ, it can and you can amount to something great in your little life here and now in 2022.


Joseph View All →

Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 30 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – :)

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