“The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house … And in this place I will grant peace …” Haggai 2:9
Before the exile, God promised his people. “When the seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfil my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you … plans to prosper you and not to harm you plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:10-11). But not everyone returned to Jerusalem, not everyone was there to build the new temple. It had been seventy years, some would have died, some would be too old and some simply chose not to leave Babylon.
After their return, we read that the foundation for the new temple was laid. “And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy” (Ezra 3:11-13). Some wept, with all new things there’s a letting go of the past. We mourn our losses so we can move on to the new thing God is doing. Some shouted with joy. There was still a lot of work to be done, after all, only the foundation had been laid. Yet there was much reason to rejoice. God had promised a greater glory in this new temple than in the old one.
Likewise, God’s promise is to grow us to a greater degree of glory (2 Corinthians 3:18) and grant us peace.