“God will turn our sadness into joy” – Seeds of Faith – July 19, 2021

The commemoration of Tisha B’Av has just been finished. On July 17-18, 2021, the Jews remembered the destruction of the 1st and 2nd Temple in Jerusalem. It is considered as the saddest day on the Jewish calendar.
What can we learn from this commemoration?
First, we must remember our sad past, mourn it, and learn from it.
1 Kings 9:6 and 8 tells us of a very interesting warning from God after the construction of the Temple. God told this warning to King Solomon — “But if you or your descendants turn away from me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them… This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and will scoff and say, ‘Why has the LORD done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’”
This warning became a reality. Jerusalem was attacked and the Temple was destroyed. Psalm 137 tells us of how the Israelites were so devastated with what happened. In verse 1 of the chapter, we can see how sad they were — “By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion.”
After they mourned, they learned their lesson. Ezra 5:12 tells us that the Israelites learned from their past mistakes. The verse says, “But because our fathers had provoked the God of heaven to wrath, He gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this temple and deported the people to Babylon.”
What happened in the destruction of the Temple reminds us that when we mourn properly, we can learn on why it happened, and then we draw lessons from it as move forward.
Second, as we mourn, let us anticipate the joy that God will give to us.
When the Israelites learned from their mistakes and asked for forgiveness, God put a hope in their hearts that they may once again go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple.
It started to happen when Nehemiah led the construction of the walls of Jerusalem. Then Zerubbabel started the construction of the second Temple.
Zechariah 4:6 reminded them that it is only by the grace of God that the Temple will be rebuilt — “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.”
The second Temple continued to be beautified up to the time of Herod the great. This was the Temple that Jesus went into. Later, in 70 AD, the Romans destroyed it. The only remaining remnant is the Western Wall. They persevered until Israel became a nation once again as prophesied in the Bible.
Amidst our grief and mourning, let us believe that God will restore us. God will turn our mourning into joy.
May God bless us all!
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on
Director, Office of Communications
Central Philippine University
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