Posted by Deborah Elum

I could see “under construction” signs for miles. They had been posted for at least two months before the construction actually began. I enjoyed driving down this particular road because there was always less traffic. However, I knew all that would change once the construction project started. There would be slow moving traffic, more noise, and construction equipment everywhere along the route.

When the project started, two construction workers were holding up signs that told one lane of traffic to stop and the other lane to proceed. As I looked around, I realized that this project could take months if not a whole year before it is actually completed. I guess that I’ll have to put up with the construction until the road is finished.

Well, God had a time in mind when He would not put up with the sins of His people any longer. He repeatedly sent his prophets to warn his people to stop following the pagan practices of the surrounding nations and turn back to Him. After they would not listen, God caused the King of Babylon, King Nebuchadnezzar, to invade their land and carry them off to Babylon and destroy the Temple of God that had been desecrated (2 Chronicles 36:14-21).

Years later, when Cyrus of Persia became king, the Lord stirred his heart and the hearts of the priests, Levites, and leaders to rebuild the temple. The king allowed 42,360 people to go back home, including 7,337 servants and 200 singers to return to Judah to rebuild the Temple of God.

After the foundation was laid, all the people gave a great shout, praising the Lord. Many of the older priests, Levites, and other leaders who had seen the first Temple wept aloud. No walls had been constructed, no furniture had been moved, and it would be years before it was completed. Yet, there was joyful shouting and weeping mingled together. It was so loud that it could be heard far in the distance.

As a people, they went through much suffering, pain, and loss all because they refused to worship, obey, and served the Lord with gladness. They had to be taken from the land God had given them in order to realize how good and merciful God had been. What a lesson to learn the hard way.