When I was reading in Ezra a strange question came into my mind, “when was the last time you exclaimed ‘Finally!’ about the work of God”? I can say I never have, although I am tempted to put in a joke here about waiting for my wife before going to church. What I find interesting about this concept is that when God’s plan is executed it is always right on time. Whether I have stressed out about it, whined and cried, when God moves I always look back and see how His timing was perfect.
At the beginning of Ezra it seems like the work of rebuilding the temple is going well, the foundation is laid and people are pretty excited.
When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the Lord, as prescribed by David king of Israel. 11 With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord:
“He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever.”
And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.
However, something changed and the work stalls. I am tempted to look at this situation and claim that some bad apples spoiled the bunch. 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 3:10-12
Reading in a commentary, the older members of the congregation wept because they remember the glory of the original temple and are disappointed at the small beginnings of the work. My thoughts jump to blaming them for the delay in the temple completion soon to manifest in the story.
In the past, I have looked at what I thought was the work of the Lord being stalled and tried to identify it as someone involved causing the problem, maybe looking back thinking it was my judging of others that was the cause. What a way to claim to have power over God’s glory, do I really believe that my failings will cause the work of my Father to be delayed in any way? That’s a rhetorical question, of course, I know that my actions do not hinder the work of God. Why would I judge someone else in that ability?
Truth be told, what I think of as a gap, or even a complete closure in the work of the Lord, is part of the miracle of His perfect timing. God’s timing is beyond the understanding of us to know, but that is why faith in our God is so important. I recently heard a story of a missionary from the turn of the 19th century with an inspired quote.
“Christ never was in a hurry. There was no rushing forward, no anticipating, no fretting over what might be. Each day’s duties were done as each day brought them, and the rest was left with God.” – Mary Slessor
What a liberating knowledge to know we do not control God’s timetable, we can be comfortable with the knowledge and the faith that He is going to make everything happen at the perfect moment.
– Jeff Gilbert