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Latter Glory

December 7, 2010

Last night I spent some time in Haggai 2 (thanks Paul for teeing that up with your message last weekend!). Haggai 2:9a says this: “The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former…”

The Jews had just returned from exile in Assyria and rebuilt the temple. But those who had been around to see the former temple – the temple of Solomon – were grieved. The new temple was but a shadow of its predecessor. They mourned the “shack” they constructed.

But what the people saw as a shell of its former glory, God saw as the glory yet to come. God promised the people that the new temple would far surpass the beauty and splendor of what once was.

Calvin writes, “It must, indeed, be first observed, that what is said here of the future glory of the Temple is to be applied to the excellency of those spiritual blessings which appeared when Christ was revealed, and are still conspicuous to us through faith; for ungodly men are so blind that they see them not.” (Commentaries on the Twelve Minor Prophets, Vol. IV, 361)

We, too, are shadows, faded, fallen beings. Yet we will be restored. All will be made right in the end. The Gospel of Christ is a gospel of redemption, a story of man reconciled to Christ and the reality of what once was – total dependence on and fellowship with the Father. But, it’s not just a promise that we will return to the relationship known in the garden. It is better than that. It is the assurance that eternity will transcend all that we know or hope for, that His goodness will outmatch anything of which we can conceive. His mercies, His greatness, His power – all will be experienced in greater magnitude every day. The Lord will outshine eternity, and all will stand before Him proclaiming His love forever.

I thought I knew happiness. I thought I knew God’s gifts and blessings. They were good, but they were removed. I sinned, and they were gone. Such great agony, misery like I had never known. But He was there, His presence never left. He showed Himself to me; first His love, then His goodness and faithfulness. Happiness returned, slowly at first, but with increasing beauty.

And now? Now I know God’s nature and beauty even more than I had before. I have seen more of God than I ever thought possible. I have seen His power and provision. When I think back to the God of my youth, the picture I had created, it is a ghost, a phantom of the God now so dear to me.

Who will God be in 25…50…100 years from now? How much more will I understand Him? And yet how much more will I realize just how little I truly know Him? My feeble mind cannot process, cannot even begin to fathom His greatness and the glory He can bestow on us.

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