Vol.5, No. 45 – November 22, 2020
Shout of Joy
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, 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. –Ezra 3:10-11
Perhaps you had a mom like I did. My mom used to say (among other absolutes). “Larry, do not cry over “spilt milk.” What is past is past. Let bygones be bygones.
James Michener wrote I am not a Luddite, nor could I be one. Luddites were those frenzied traditionalists of the early19th century who toured English districts, around Nottingham, wrecking new weaving machines on the theory that if they were destroyed at the start, old jobs and old ways of life could be preserved. At certain times in his life, each man is tempted to become a Luddite; for there is always something he would like to go back to.
Have you ever felt that way?
Some of these “old men” saw Solomon’s Temple, and now they submit to the emotions of tears, weeping with a loud voice. However, the younger men shout aloud for joy.
The patriarchs wanted to return to the “good old days.” The contrast of the past glories and the present poverty was painful to them.
The “enthusiastic” younger people were glad and happy. The old men looked upon them as those moving in their ignorance. The sober elders, “who knew much more, could only weep.” The sober elder is the one who lives in bygone days, with his face ever set to the irreparable past. The elder who vainly regrets retreating memories. The elders are not like that today. Or are they? Are they simply uninterested in the present ways; despondent about the future?
Sad memories gather, like the evening mists, gather around aged lives, and the temptation of the old is unduly to exalt the past, and unduly to depreciate the present. Young lips shout for joy and can care less for the [unimportant] glory of what used to be. –Maclaren
The “senior-seniors” think the “young ins” are revolutionary and irreverent; the “juniors” think the seniors to be fossils. So, the question is can there be a uniting of the shout of joy and the cries of the weeping?
The Luddites ask what has happened to the stately and majestic hymns of the church? The Young ins (younger generation) say, Give us the up-beat, foot stomping, hand-clapping choruses.
Luddites say, Give us that old-time religion with its stained-glass windows, soothing organ music, and robed preacher with the Scofield Bible, and a choir with robes. The Young ins say, give us that beat of the drum, guitars, string base, a swinging and swaying key board player, and the leaders in jeans and occasionally a sport jacked, with a contemporary English Bible.
Our problem is that we do not easily put up with either-or. So, the people cannot distinguish the shout of joy from the sound of weeping, for the people shout with a loud voice, and do so more at home and in discussion with each other.
What God expects of His people is that they would join hands and hearts. Worship. Read God’s Word – it is the voice of God spoken clearly to us. God expects that we would join to sing His praises.
It is the way we can reach into our world, joining our hands and hearts, to make much of Jesus, to treasure our Treasure, right where we live and around the world.
How are we doing?
NOTE: beginning November 29th, we will enter a season of looking back at how God provided His one and only Son for our benefit of eternal life. We also look forward to the time of Christ’s return, that all who believe in Christ are gathered in heaven to live eternally with the God the Father, the Savior, and with the Holy Spirit. This is a great season as we read, hear, and sing of His coming.
During this Advent season, this blog will expand to include devotionals each day with a focus on Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love (November 29-December 31). Hopefully you will find time to use these devotionals for yourself and for your family. Do not hesitate to forward these devotionals to your friends and family. Especially to those who do not know the treasure of knowing Christ. .
It will be my joy to share these with you. The Advent season is not entirely about the past work of Almighty God, it is a season to be encouraged with Christ’s soon return for all who believe in Him. God’s good news is needed in our world. You can be a part of sharing that by using technology that is in your hand.
Join with us as we celebrate Christ’s coming, and the sure hope of His coming again. And celebrating the joy as we sing of our thankfulness.