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Tears and Laughter By Keila Ochoa

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1 Tears and Laughter By Keila Ochoa on Sun Jun 12, 2016 2:07 am

LesBrewer

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Tears and Laughter By Keila Ochoa






Read: Ezra 3:7–13



No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping. Ezra 3:13

Last year at a retreat I reconnected with some friends I hadn’t seen in a long time. I laughed with them as we enjoyed the reunion, but I also cried because I knew how much I had missed them.

On the last day of our time together we celebrated the Lord’s Supper. More smiles and tears! I rejoiced over the grace of God, who had given me eternal life and these beautiful days with my friends. But again I cried as I was sobered by what it had cost Jesus to deliver me from my sin.

I thought about Ezra and that wonderful day in Jerusalem. The exiles had returned from captivity and had just completed rebuilding the foundation of the Lord’s temple. The people sang for joy, but some of the older priests cried (Ezra 3:10–12). They were likely remembering Solomon’s temple and its former glory. Or were they grieving over their sins that had led to the captivity in the first place?

Sometimes when we see God at work we experience a wide range of emotions, including joy when we see God’s wonders and sorrow as we remember our sins and the need for His sacrifice.

The Israelites were singing and weeping, the noise was heard far away (v. 13). May our emotions be expressions of our love and worship to our Lord, and may they touch those around us.




Lord, You welcome our sorrow and our joy, our tears and our laughter. We bring all of our emotions in their raw honesty to You. May we praise You with our whole being.

Both tears and smiles bring God praise.


INSIGHT:

The books of Ezra and Nehemiah focus on the return of Judah—the southern kingdom of Israel—to their homeland following their years of captivity in Babylon. While Nehemiah concentrates on the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, Ezra focuses on the rebuilding and dedication of the temple.


........................................






Ezra 3:7-13 King James Version (KJV)

7 They gave money also unto the masons, and to the carpenters; and meat, and drink, and oil, unto them of Zidon, and to them of Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea of Joppa, according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of Persia.

8 Now in the second year of their coming unto the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, began Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the remnant of their brethren the priests and the Levites, and all they that were come out of the captivity unto Jerusalem; and appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to set forward the work of the house of the Lord.

9 Then stood Jeshua with his sons and his brethren, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together, to set forward the workmen in the house of God: the sons of Henadad, with their sons and their brethren the Levites.

10 And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the Lord, after the ordinance of David king of Israel.

11 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.

12 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:

13 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.

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