Ezra 3: Forgiveness Should Not Be Taken Lightly
Ezra 3 finally brings the people back to Jerusalem, and I have to admit that it seemed like they had their priorities right. Immediately, they began working on rebuilding the Temple, and by the end of the chapter, the foundation had been laid and the altar had been built.
This was obviously a highly emotional time for the Israelites though. There was a lot of joy mixed with a lot of sorrow.
Ezr 3:11 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.
Ezr 3:12 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:
Ezr 3:13 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.
Of course, this was a happy occasion but also one that brought back tears. I am obviously not entirely sure why they were crying, but I have a few potential ideas.
They could have been weeping over the lost opportunity. Maybe they realized how wrong the people had been 70 years ago. Maybe they couldn’t believe how they had allowed themselves to wander so far from God.
Along with that must have come the realization that God is incredibly merciful. Despite all of the wandering and bad behavior, God had not forgotten His people. Recognizing our sin nature and then the forgiving nature of God is certainly a powerful contrast that could have moved their emotions.
You know, this can be kind of a metaphor. We are removed from where we should have been because of our sin nature. It is something that we are born with. We then spend time away from the ideal location and in captivity to sin. However, because of what Jesus did on the cross, we can be brought back to God just like the Israelites were because of His love and mercy.
I know it is not a perfect metaphor, but forgiveness is a huge deal and should not be taken lightly. Realizing that we are separated from God but can be reconciled should be a pretty emotional thought.