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Sunday, June 12, 2016
Tears and Laughter - Our Daily Bread Ministries daily devotional 12 June Sunday
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.
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.