Tears of Joy, or Sorrow?

Today’s Reading – Ezra 3 – 7 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – Romans 13 – 16Psalms 131 – 135Proverbs 28)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 Timothy 1:17

Read the “0528 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read previous posts from today’s passage – “Leave Them Alone,” “The Heart of the King,” and “Stop Living in the Past

“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 chapter 3 of today’s passage, we see the children of Israel (or at least some of them) back in their land after a long captivity in Babylon and Persia. Eventually they begin the process of rebuilding the Temple of God that had been completely destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar years earlier. Remember, the Temple that had been built by Solomon was perhaps the most beautiful piece of architecture that has ever been constructed, with literally tons of gold covering much of the building itself and also the furniture and instruments used in the temple. The building that they were in the process of constructing now could not possibly compare to the old one. Only the foundation for the Temple had been laid at this point but the congregation of Israel was super excited about what God was doing. I remember when our church pulled the trigger on our recent building addition. We did not have the money that we needed to finish the project, but we did have enough to get started, so we cleared the land and poured the foundation. That foundation stood there for almost a year before we could add a building to it, but we were all still excited because we could see something tangible on that spot of ground. The process of building had begun and we rejoiced because of it.

In our text, we see that some of the very old folks that had actually seen the old Temple that was built by Solomon and destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, were weeping. It very well could be that they were weeping for joy because they were seeing the beginning of the rebuilding of God’s House. They had witnessed the savage slaughter committed by the Babylonians decades earlier; they had seen their beloved Jerusalem completely destroyed; but perhaps worst of all, they had watched as the armies of Nebuchadnezzar pulled the Temple completely apart and stole any thing of value. But now, God was giving His people a second chance, and they were seeing the beginning of the construction of a building which represented the very presence of God.

Or, it could be that some of these old timers were upset because this new building could not possibly be as beautiful or extravagant as the former one built by Solomon. However, it is important to note that these elder men who may have been despondent over the lack of luxury in this new temple had actually never seen the presence of God at the old one. At the time that they were there (before the captivity), the glory of God had long since departed because of the falling away of the people of God. So these elders were upset simply because of a building. They failed to see that this new building, though not nearly as ornate and expensive as the old, had the potential for being a place where God would actually meet with His people.

In my many years of being saved, I have observed this same mentality. I have seen church buildings that were absolutely gorgeous with large auditoriums, countless classrooms, fellowship halls, and even landscaped gardens. However, many of these buildings, though beautiful, have “Ichabod” written all over them. But on the other side of town there is a storefront building with no classrooms, where a preacher and church are boldly proclaiming the Truth, with the Spirit of God all over them. Yet, most people in the world, and even some Christians, would say that the church with the beautiful facility is the “real” church.

One more thought from this passage: Sometimes, those that have been saved for a while and have seen the power of God in previous years, tend to live in the past. God does not live in the past. Actually, He is way ahead of us. We are supposed to be following Him. This is partially what Paul meant when he said, “leaving those things which are behind.” I believe the greatest movement of God is yet to come.  I believe the greatest days of Jersey Shore Baptist Church will be in the tomorrows, not in the yesterdays. While I rejoice over what God has done in the past, I am looking for “greater works than these.”


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Bob Fenton
Bob Fenton
27 days ago

Amen Pastor. Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision ,the people perish: but he that
keepeth the law,happy is he.like the post.

Deb Leatherman
Deb Leatherman
27 days ago
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