ODJ: after the apocalypse

July 1, 2015 

READ: Ezra 3:1-13 

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 (v.12).

Popular films like The Hunger Games and Divergent explore what the world might be like on the other side of the apocalypse. These gritty films try to imagine how those who have suffered through a cosmic catastrophe could pick up the pieces and rebuild their lives.

The Jews faced a similar problem when they returned from captivity: the temple was in ruins. The young people shouted for joy when they laid the foundation of the new temple, while the older priests wept for what had been destroyed (Ezra 3:12). That pile of rubble over there? That used to be the wall of Solomon’s temple. I tell you, it was something!

The young people couldn’t fully appreciate these stories. They’re a lot like us. We may not realise it, but we’re living on the other side of an apocalypse. This world is broken in ways we can scarcely imagine. Because this is the only world we’ve known, we’re used to it. We rejoice when God answers prayer, as we should. But if Adam and Eve visited our celebration, they’d counter our joy. They would have a long memory—long enough to remember how good this world once was, and to realise how far it has fallen in a relatively short time. So will it ever be like it was?

Yes, because we have God’s word. He promised the discouraged Jews that He would return to live in Jerusalem. The streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls at play. “All this may seem impossible to you now, a small remnant of God’s people. But is it impossible for me?” (Zechariah 8:3-6). Faithful Jews still wait for that day. So do we. As much as we enjoy this broken world, we know we haven’t seen anything yet. God is faithful and He will restore what has been broken! (Ezra 3:11).

—Mike Wittmer

365-day-plan: Matthew 6:1-18

Read Revelation 21:5 and consider what Jesus said He will do one day! 
What aspect of your life has been ruined by sin and left you discouraged? What promise from God can you claim today?