Daily D – Ezra 3:12-13
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. The joyful shouting and weeping mingled together in a loud noise that could be heard far in the distance. EZRA 3:12-13 (NLT)
There is a man of my acquaintance who has what we call great institutional memory. He remembers how things used to be. He has lots of stories about the good old days. To his credit, he is not stuck there. There are many things he prefers about how things get done now.
There are those who have adopted a certain kind of neology. If things are not new and cutting edge, they are obviously hopelessly stuck in the past where things did not work as they should have.
A couple of friends of mine have recently written a book that traces several generations of thought patterns in church life. They show how each generation succeeded the one before it. They make an informed examination of what is emerging.
Which way of thinking is right? They both are. We must learn the lessons of the past. We need to calmly and wisely consider what was right, what was wrong, what was confused, and what is missing. We also need to look ahead and ask, “Twenty years from now when we have failed, what will have caused the failure?”
In today’s text, we see those with institutional memory grieving what was lost. We also see those who were eager to begin again more intelligently. No new venture should begin without looking back. No new venture should continue without considering both what we want to happen and what could deter our best intentions.
The year 2020 is almost behind us. The year we anticipated for so long that would be a year of clarity brought a different kind of focus than what we were looking for. Standing where we do so near to the end of this year and so close to the next, let us again ponder what is right, what is wrong, what is confused, and what is missing.
How can we maximize the good? Minimize the bad? Clarify the confused? Add what is missing?
Let us lean toward 2021 with renewed hope for what may come while calling to memory what has been lost. Let us look ahead not only with hope but with the focused intentionality to eliminate the distractions that would lead us to double down on the failures of this year.
When will you take time to think, to remember, to look ahead? Schedule that time. Protect it. Ask God to speak to you clearly and to give you his perspective.
The year 2021 is composed of dates on a calendar. It involves the orderly movement of seasons. It is full of opportunity. However, there are no promises that it will be better than today. We have to learn the lessons of today so that tomorrow can be better.
Ecclesiastes 3 says, “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. . . A time to tear down and a time to build up,” (verses 1, 3).
Know the season. Know what to tear down. Know what to build up. Let us start now so that 2021 can become the year we had hoped 2020 would be.
I will take time to cry, make time to laugh, take time to grieve, and prepare to dance (Ecclesiastes 3:4).
Our Father, in a year full of spent matches, rekindle a flame to burn away what has been lost and to light the way into a preferred future. Empower us to take stock of where we have been and to lean into the opportunities ahead. Empower us to build a better world upon the bare foundation before us. Give us your vision for the big picture and the action steps to take to turn it into reality. Amen.
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Genesis 26:26-31 Meanwhile, Abimelek had come to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath his personal adviser and Phicol the commander of his forces. 27 Isaac asked them, “Why have you come to me, since you were hostile to me and sent me away?”
28 They answered, “We saw clearly that the LORD was with you; so we said, ‘There ought to be a sworn agreement between us’—between us and you. Let us make a treaty with you 29 that you will do us no harm, just as we did not harm you but always treated you well and sent you away peacefully. And now you are blessed by the LORD.”
30 Isaac then made a feast for them, and they ate and drank. 31 Early the next morning the men swore an oath to each other. Then Isaac sent them on their way, and they went away peacefully.
Genesis 22:13, 14 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.
Genesis 21:1-3 Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. 2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. 3 Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him.
Genesis 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless.
Genesis 6:9 This is the account of Noah and his family.
Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.