King's Business - 1917-10



a great deal of shouting that is unreal and hypocritical and that is an abomination before God; but that does not prove that there is not a time to shout, a time when shouting is the only proper thing to do. It is well worth our notice and our careful thought, what they shouted about, “because the foundation of the house of Jehovah was laid.” They loved Him and so they loved the place of His habitation (Psalm 102:13, 14). It is a very bad sign when one has no enthusiastic regard for the building that is set apart for the worship of God, and where He peculiarly manifests Himself. Do we have a similar delight in the house of God today? It is a bad sign if we do not. vs. 12, 13. “But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient (heads of fathers’ houses, the old) men, (om it ,) that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy; so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off.”' It was not unmixed joy that was manifested on this occasion. There were those present who remembered the more splendid edifice of the past and wept at the comparative insignificance of the present temple. But God’s servant and a messenger, Haggai, bade them forget the past and to look forward to the still more glorious future (Haggai 2:3-9). The true Christian look is ever forward and not back (Phil. 3:13), the golden age of God’s people lies ahead of us and not behind us, and however dark things may look at the present moment the glorious days lie in the future. The real golden age of the Church and of the earth lies in that glad day when the Lord Jesus himself comes to reign. No one who really studies and believes the Bible can be anything but an optimist: but his optimism will not be of the modern shallow type that is optimistic because it shuts its eyes to indisputable facts, but the optimism that comes from

knowing all the facts, especially the facts revealed in the Bible about our Lord’s coming back again when the darkness is blackest to set straight the things which man with his vain philosophies and futile sciences has made utterly wrong. ch. 6:14, IS. "And the elders of the Jews builded, (omit ,) and they prospered (add ,) through the prophesying of Hag­ gai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, (omit ,) and fin­ ished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment ( decree) of Cyrus, and Dar­ ius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia. And the house was finished on the third day of the month Adgr, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.” The completion of the temple had been greatly hindered and greatly delayed through the cunning and bitter opposition of the adver­ saries of God’s people (ch. 4:1-6, IS). The people of the land had weakened the hands of the people of Judah (ch. 4:4), but God raised up His servants Haggai and Zech­ ariah, who prophesied in the name of the God of Israel, and helped them (ch. S:1, 2) ; and so God had given great victory to His people, as He always does if they trust in Him and listen to the voice of His prophets. We see here again how accurate and exact Ezra was in his dates: and it was this same Ezra who had so prominent a part in compiling the hooks of the Old Testament. vs. 16-18. And the children of Israel, the priests and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy, (.) And they (omit, they) offered at the dedication of the house of God an hun­ dred bullocks, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs; and for a sin offering for all Israel, twelve he goats ( he-goats), according to the number of the tribes of Israel. And they set the priests in their divisions, and the Levites in their courses, for the service of God, which is at Jerusa­ lem; as it is written in the book of .Moses.” What a bloody time it was! How repug­ nant it must have been to the lovers of

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