10 When the builders completed the foundation of the Lord’s Temple, the priests put on their robes and took their places to blow their trumpets. And the Levites, descendants of Asaph, clashed their cymbals to praise the Lord, just as King David had prescribed. 11 With praise and thanks, they sang this song to the Lord:
“He is so good!
His faithful love for Israel endures forever!”
Then all the people gave a great shout, praising the Lord because the foundation of the Lord’s Temple had been laid.
12 But many of the older priests, Levites, and other leaders who had seen the first Temple wept aloud when they saw the new Temple’s foundation. The others, however, were shouting for joy. 13 The joyful shouting and weeping mingled together in a loud noise that could be heard far in the distance.
Dear God, this passage resonates with me today. I was listening to the Bible in a Year Podcast from Ascension Press this morning and this was one of the things Father Mike read. It took me back to five or six years ago when I was at a retreat at Laity Lodge. The leaders were talking about the rebuilding of the Temple, but he was telling the story from Haggai. One of the things Haggai told the builders was that this Temple would not be like the old one. It would be a new Temple. It might not be a grand and ostentatious as the first one, but it would be good and it would please you. At the time, things had really fallen apart for my family, and I felt your Holy Spirit say the same to me. You told me that I was obsessed with trying to go back and build the Temple in my life that I had ten years before. But that Temple was gone and destroyed. What I needed to do now was work with my wife to build a new Temple. To start over.
Over the years, that’s what we’ve tried to do, under your authority. And things are still not the perfect way we would want them. There are still deficiencies when I compare my life to the dreams I had for it. But the truth is, life is good. A couple of days ago, my wife and I were in our couples group from church and we were going around the circle and giving our “highs and lows” from the month since we last met. My wife said that just the enjoyment we are having in each other is a high for her. It’s one of the nicest and most affirming things I could have heard. Goodness knows I want to be everything you need me to be for her sake.
Father, Holy Spirit, there will come a day when the Temple my wife and I have currently build will take damage and maybe even be destroyed. I went to a funeral for a woman yesterday who left behind a husband of 55 years. That man is going to have to start building a new Temple. I came across some people over the last few days who lost children too young. They have new Temples to build. I have another friend who has seemingly averted getting a divorce, but now the long task of Temple building under your authority is ahead of them. I have another friend whose divorce will soon be final. He has a new Temple to build as well. So my prayer for these friends, for my wife, for me, for my children, and for the rest of my family is that we will go about building the Temples you have us to build. Temples that will glorify you and see your Kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Temples for our good, but also for your glory. Temples that will require us to be submitted to you and molded by you as we build them. Humble Temples that will point others to you and you alone as the God of the universe.
I pray this through the ultimate new Temple/Covenant, Jesus,