The Blindness of Yesterday
“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:”
When you read the story of Ezra rebuilding the temple, it is exciting to see the hand of God at work. When you examine to the verse above, you see there was a group of people who were not as excited about what God had done as another group. The verse above says that those who “had seen the first house…wept with a loud voice” when they saw this new foundation. They wept because it didn’t compare in their minds to what they had seen in the past. They wept because this new foundation wasn’t as good as the old one of yesterday. However, what they missed was that God was still working. Yes, they were right that this new foundation wasn’t as big as the past, but it was still the hand of God at work.
I have had the privilege in my lifetime to be a part of some of the great church works in American history. I have been in services where thousands of people walked the aisles for salvation and were baptized. God has allowed me to be a part of those days, and to be a member of a church that influenced hundreds, if not thousands of churches for the old paths.
What I refuse to do is to discount what God is doing today because it doesn’t compare to what I have seen in the past. Does this mean that I don’t want to see God do the same thing today? Absolutely not! I would love to see God build large old paths, independent Baptist churches in this present day, but I am not going to allow the blessings of past works blind me to what God is doing today. No, the foundation may not be as big as I have seen, but one day it could if I don’t discourage those through whom God is working.
Christian, don’t let the size of a work cause you to discount what God is doing today. Just because something isn’t as big today doesn’t mean that God is not working. Wasn’t the foundation in the verse above the working of God? Whether God chooses to build a larger foundation or a smaller one is not what we should focus on; what we should focus on is that God is building it.
Moreover, God is ultimately the One Who gives the increase; so if you are discounting what God is doing today, you are discounting God’s power. I’m afraid that our love for those whom God used to build great works in the past causes us to become critical of those whom God is using today. If we are not careful, we will begin to think that it was the man who built the work and not God, and that is pure idolatry. Certainly, God has used men in the past to build great works, but let’s not forget it was God Who did the building.
Furthermore, let me warn those who become tired of those who compare the past to the present not to let their comparisons cause you to forsake the old paths. Don’t let their comparisons drive you to try and reinvent the wheel to prove your own point. Just let the comparisons become white noise and keep letting God work through you as you continue to walk down the old paths.
Finally, don’t let the current foundation be the end of your vision. Just because God built a smaller foundation today doesn’t mean He can’t build a greater one tomorrow. Get a vision for God to do something and keep working, and you may see that He can still build large foundations today.