“Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? … Does it not seem to you like nothing in comparison? But now take courage … all you people of the land take courage … work; for I am with you.” *– Haggai 2:3-4 NASB*
As the Israelites returned to Jerusalem from exile, they saw the new temple. To many, this might have seemed impressive, but those who had seen Solomon’s temple knew the new temple did not compare. It reminded them of all they had lost as well as their past sins and mistakes.
God wanted them to “take courage” and get beyond their disappointment. He wanted them to think less about their failures and more about Him and His plans for their future.
If they focused on the past, they could not move forward and fully embrace the future. While they were preoccupied with their failures, they could not focus on God. When they were negative, they could not be positive. He wanted them to be courageous and move forward boldly, with faith.
It is easy to be obsessed with our mistakes and lost opportunities or be dominated by questions. We ask ourselves, “What if?” We wonder, “If only …” While learning from the past and our mistakes, we need to have the courage and faith to move forward. As God said to His people through Haggai, He wants us to “work,” trusting that He will be with us.
Don’t allow your past to keep hold of you. Be honest with God. If you have sinned, ask for His forgiveness. Then take courage. Boldly move forward in faith, confident that He has a great plan for you.
Write out a go-to script to recite when you’re tempted to focus on the past.
Father, I acknowledge my mistakes from the past. Forgive me. Help me serve You faithfully with the time and resources You have given me. I trust You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Today’s Bible Reading