But many of the priests and Levites and heads of the fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this temple was laid before their eyes. Yet 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 sound was heard afar off. (Ezra 3:12–13)
It had been seventy years since Solomon’s temple had been destroyed. The people had finally been allowed to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their Temple. They had only gotten as far as laying the foundation when they decided to stop and celebrate what was happening. It was a milestone on the road to change.
It’s not hard to understand why the younger people were shouting for joy. This was a great moment in the history of the Jewish people. God had kept His word and the work had restarted.
Perhaps the old men were weeping for the same reason the younger men were rejoicing. But to tell you the truth, some of them were weeping because the new temple wasn’t anything like the glory of the old. Sometimes “old men” get stuck in the past.
Change is inevitable. Time marches on and stops for no one. It might seem appropriate to mourn the past, but don’t neglect the joy of what the future may bring. Don’t be that weeping old man.