Haggai 2:3-4. 3 ‘Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Is it not as nothing in your eyes? 4 Yet now …Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the Lord. Work, for I am with you, declares the Lord of hosts.
The Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem was once a thing of divine majesty. It is still considered to have been one of the most beautiful structures in all of ancient history. But that glorious temple was destroyed by the Babylonians as they took the Jewish people into captivity. And now the prophet Haggai will stand in Jerusalem 70 years later, as the people return from exile to rebuild the temple, watching them weep because the “Second Temple” is pitiful compared to what they once had. The newly rebuilt temple is nothing in their eyes.
Nostalgia can be a deceptive and dangerous thing.
“Things just aren’t what they used to be.”
“The world is so much worse today.”
“Back then we would never…”
“People today just don’t appreciate…”
“Remember the good ole days when we would…?”
“I used to love it when the church would…”
“This nation needs to return to the Lord.”
“Why don’t we sing any of the old songs?”
“Whatever happened to the ___, those were so good?”
“Pastor Jones never did it that way.”
There’s all kinds of very serious problems with nostalgia:
Nostalgia deceives us into thinking that there was a time in history when things were better. But the truth is that since Genesis 3 things have pretty much been the same amount of cursed.
Nostalgia is a drug that keeps us from confronting our own sin. It’s a form of escapism. Things were better “back then.” Before getting married, before the kids, before relocating, before the new job, before the new pastor. So rather than placing our faith in Christ and in his future grace, we return to a false past.
Nostalgia might be the biggest danger to faith and love in the church today. It prevents us from reaching out in love beyond ourselves. It prevents us from trusting God with our present and our future. In Haggai’s day it almost prevented the temple from being rebuilt. All they could see was the former glory of Solomon’s Temple and it made them so sad and angry that they were paralyzed.
So how do we overcome the bondage to nostalgia? By realizing that our nostalgia for the past is actually a deep longing for a perfection that is yet to come. The former glory that we long for is actually the glory that is yet to come.
Haggai 2:5-9. Fear not… I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts…The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts.
Christian, the best is yet to come!
Haggai is prophesying about Christ and the church. You and me! The glory of the Lord has filled the church. We are the glorified temple of God in Christ. His indwelling life has brought the greater glory to our hearts. You see the truth is that, with Christ, there’s always something better coming.
“To live is Christ” is to fear not. It is to be strong. It is to keep working for the Lord is with you. Knowing the latter glory will be greater than the former glory. Forever. From glory to glory to glory. Life with Jesus just gets better and better. So let’s stop clinging desperately to the nostalgic past and hold fast to a future in Christ that is greater far than anything we could hope or imagine.
Where has nostalgia become your escape recently?
You in Christ
In Christ you have a glorious future that starts right now. Do you believe this?
Christ in you
How can your future glory produce a continuing work for the Lord today?
Playlist: Future Glory.
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