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Weeping and Shouting

Today’s reading: Ezra 2:1-3:13

My selection: Ezra 3:11-13

And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, 

“ For he is good,  for his steadfast love endures forever 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. 12 But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first house, wept with a loud voice when they saw the foundation of this house being laid, though many shouted aloud for joy, 13 so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people’s weeping, for the people shouted with a great shout, and the sound was heard far away.

My reflections: When Cyrus the Persian conquered Babylon, he, though presumably not a believer, was moved by God to send the captives of Judah back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. The return was carried out under Zerubbabel. The returnees soon rebult the altar and began making sacrifices.

Not long afterward, they set about to rebuild the temple itself. When the temple foundation was laid the people lifted up their praises to God. But there were among them some old men who had seen the original temple. When they saw the new foundation, they wept. These elders wept because they realized that the new temple would be nothing in comparison to the old. [You can read Haggai 2 to find out how the Lord comforted these weeping senior saints.]

In this world, hope is always mixed with disappointment. At the rebuilding of the temple, some rejoiced and some wept. Both were right in their response because it was a hopeful day and yet a sad day. It was sin that brought down the first temple, a sad thing. But that new temple would one day see the Messiah come and declare to the Jews that He was the true temple of His people, a temple that would endure for eternity. (John 2:18-22)

My challenge: The earthly temple in Jerusalem is gone but that is all right. The true High Priest has entered into the heavenly temple with a perfect sacrifice for sin [Hebrews 9:24]. Bring yourself, corrupted and hopelessly stained by sin, to Him and be forgiven.

Maybe you too will weep and shout alternately.

Tomorrow’s reading: Ezra 4:1-7:28

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Portrait Photography by Tess Dryzmala