“The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.”
Haggai was a prophet during the time that the new temple was being built. When the foundation of the new temple was laid, the Scriptures say that the old men wept while the new generation shouted for joy. The verse above is a rebuke to the older men who wept because they looked at the new temple as no comparison to the temple in Solomon’s day. God told them that this new temple would one day “be greater than the former.” In other words, God was trying to get this older generation not to discourage the younger generation from seeing God work in their day.
The past can always seem bigger and better than the present. We often look at the past selectively and through a magnifying glass. In other words, we selectively look at the past as if it had no bad, and we make the works of the past seem bigger and better than the works in the present. Our view of the past may be right, but that doesn’t mean that God can’t work in the present. Let me give you several suggestions about how you can make the present better than the past.
First, realize that God is not dead. The same God who performed mighty works in the past is still alive today, and He desires to do the same mighty works through your life and ministry. The only reason God doesn’t do as great of works in the present as He did in the past is because of the lack of vision and faith in the present. God can do greater works today if our vision and faith is big enough to do greater works.
Second, the past is to be a motivator for the future. The past is not to be a discouragement that it can’t be done today; rather, it should motivate us to want God to do the greater works today. Instead of using the past as an impossible measurement, use the past as a faith motivator to see God doing something greater in your life today.
Third, you rob the future when you compare to the past. God was admonishing these people who thought the past temple was bigger and better because He knew they were letting the past rob the potential of His power working again in Israel. My friend, the past may presently be bigger than the works of the present, but it doesn’t mean that God can’t take the works of the present and make them greater than the former works. Don’t allow the past to rob you of God’s potential working in the future.
Fourth, you will never know how great the present is until you are looking at it in the past. The past is a history book, but the present is a book in writing. It’s foolish to compare the present with the past because the present is not a finished book. Until your present becomes the past, you can’t compare what is going on today in God’s work to the works of the past. Because you always live in the present, you will never know what works God is doing in your life compared to the past works.
Fifth, work and pray to make the present greater than the past. The best thing you can do is work hard and pray earnestly to see God do greater works in the present than He did in the past. Instead of wasting your time comparing generations, use your energies to work hard, and use your time to have an earnest prayer life of faith that gives you the vision for God to do greater works today.