When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of YHWH, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise YHWH, as prescribed by David king of Israel. With praise and thanksgiving they sang to YHWH: “He is good; His love toward Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to YHWH, because the foundation of the house of YHWH was laid. But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. – Ezra 3:10-12
When Ezra led the remnant of Judah to rebuild God’s temple in Jerusalem, it was a great achievement; however, those who were old enough to have seen Solomon’s Temple prior to its Babylonian destruction could only grieve over what had been lost. In fact, those who wept in sadness were as loud as those who shouted for joy.
Isn’t it true that when we consider the past we often “sugarcoat” those early experiences, remembering only the good things? In fact, one of the greatest deterrents to enjoying the “present” may be the vivid (though erroneous) remembrance of “past” joys or victories. For some, it seems, nothing compares with those “glory days” and everything good in life has already come and gone. Remembering what God has done prohibits the ability to consider what God might do.
We should regularly celebrate all that God has accomplished in our history, but only as a reminder of His faithfulness and impetus for attempting more in His name. Our Lord is ever faithful and with each succeeding generation He can and will work through us again if we, right now, are ready and willing to trust Him.
While others longed for Egypt, Caleb longed for Hebron. While others looked back, Caleb looked forward. – Greg Laurie