Thursday, November 20, 2008
Today I began reading in the book of Ezra. I would like to know more of the historical background in these latter books of the Bible - the nations and kings in power and the level of freedom the people had under them. A wonderful book I have found is Chronological and Background Charts of the Old Testament (Zondervan Charts). Browsing the charts is very helpful!
Anyway, as I said, I began reading in Ezra today. Some of the Israelites have returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple.
Ezra 3:10-13 When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the LORD, as prescribed by David king of Israel. With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the LORD : "He is good;his love to Israel endures forever." And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.
The celebration is mixed with weeping. Shouts of joy for the promise of the future, weeping for the loss of the past. So very much like life for us. I think both are necessary.