THE DANGERS OF LIVING IN THE PAST

After seventy years of captivity in Babylon, God makes a way and brings back to Jerusalem a remnant of people to rebuild the Temple and the city. Jeremiah prophesied that God will send them into exile to humble them for their sins of rebellion and disobedience. But the prophet also said that after seventy years they shall come back, to start afresh the public wors…hip. Millions were sent away and now only about fifty thousand return.
In the Book of Ezra chapter 3, we see that the people and the priests prepare to build the Temple that was destroyed by the Babylonians. Before laying its foundation, they wisely chose to re-start the public worship. They rebuild the brazen altar and offer on it burnt sacrifices. Then they begin to praise God saying: ‘He is good! His love endures forever’ Then they lay down the Temple foundation. The reaction to this work of God was mixed. The young people were clapping their hands, shouting, dancing and singing with joy. But the old people, who have seen the mighty temple that Solomon has built, they wept with sorrow. The reason is that this foundation looks so little compared with the one in the past. So the young people were rejoicing, praising God and the old people were weeping, grieving for the past glories.
What are the dangers of such attitude? If you live in the past, you shall lose your joy and your strength, your praise, your leadership influence and ministry. The old people should have encouraged the younger ones to look unto God and to rejoice. Circumstances change, resources change, but God never changes.  They should have led the younger generation in showing gratitude to God for His mercy in their rebellion, for His constant presence with them even in Babylon. They should have encouraged the young ones to praise God even more for a new open door when all hope was lost and for the fulfillment of prophetic utterances.
The past is there for us to learn wisdom, to draw strength, to learn thanksgiving. But the past is not the place to dwell. It is too dangerous. It will make you older before your time. It will kill the hope for the future. It will make you bitter, angry and depressed. Apostle Paul did not stop doing ministry even in prison. He wrote almost all his letters from there. ‘For me to live is Christ…’ For as long as I live I shall continue to praise God, give Him thanks, encourage the brethren and do ministry.
Amen!

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