Posts Tagged ‘Ezra’

Sorrowful; Yet Rejoicing

But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and 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 noise was heard afar off.

Ezra 3:12-13

In these verses, we find people shouting for joy and we find people weeping.  The Temple is here being rebuilt, which gives them great cause for happiness and rejoicing.  But they also know that it will be never be rebuilt to its former glory, when built in the days of David and Solomon.  It was the “ancient men” who were weeping, because they had seen the glory of the first Temple.  The other people were “shouting aloud for joy”, and they had good reason to: God had been merciful to them and had allowed them to go back and rebuild His Temple.  These two sounds mingled together to the extent that you would have had trouble discerning the two.  All of this makes me think of a II Corinthians 6:10 “as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing…”

That phrase was one of many in that passage used to describe Christians.  When you think about it, we are almost always “sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing.”  We are sorrowful because of sin:  sin in our lives and in the lives of others.  My own sinful flesh is the source of the vast majority of my sorrow.  We also sorrow for those who do not know the Saviour.  We know their end, and their rejection of Jesus Christ gives us sorrow.  But in the midst of that sorrow, we are “always rejoicing.”  We know that, while our flesh may be weak and we may sin, Jesus is the only way to be forgiven of sin.  We know that, while not everyone will accept His perfect sacrifice, some will.  In essence, we know HIM.  And that is all the cause for rejoicing anyone ever needs. 

Keep fighting the flesh.  Keep striving against sin.  Keep reaching out to those who need Jesus.  And keep rejoicing in Him and because of Him!

Thankful for the Foundation

And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the Lord; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel.  And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.

Ezra 3:11

After dealing with God’s judgment, the Israelites are thrilled to have the opportunity to rebuild the house of the Lord.  They are, in this verse, thanking and praising the Lord for a couple of different things.  And the things that they thanked Him for are things that we can all thank Him for.

The first thing they were thankful for is the fact that “His mercy endureth for ever…”  If we have any reason to be thankful, it would be that He has been merciful to us.  The Israelites had rejected God over and over and had brought down judgment upon themselves.  But even in the midst of God’s judgment, He still had mercy on them.  He never forgot them.  It is the same with us: there are times when we reject the Lord and find ourselves being chastened and judged by Him.  But, even during those times, He is still merciful and longsuffering toward us.  That should give us reason to be thankful.

The second thing they were thankful for was the fact that “the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.”  I Corinthians 3:11 tells us that “…other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”  He is, as the song says, “our Rock; our hope of eternal salvation.”  The fact that we know the Foundation and the fact that we are building on the true Foundation should give us a great reason to thank Him and praise Him.