Shouts of Joy

Shouts of joy are common in American culture, e.g., at sporting events, but what about resounding cries of anguish?

I had never witnessed loud crying from adults until I attended a funeral procession in Africa, where the wailing mourners who walked behind the body, carried on a bamboo stretcher, could be heard from one end of the village to the other. A similar outpouring of emotion happened back in Ezra’s day when the last brick was laid on the foundation of the new temple in Jerusalem. Some shouted for joy, and others, the elders who had seen the first temple, wept. Those who heard them “could not distinguish the sound of the shout of joy from the sound of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard far away.” (Ezra 3:13)

Officials from Babylon said, “What right do you have to build this temple?” The people responded, “We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth and are rebuilding the temple that was built many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and finished. But because our fathers had provoked the God of heaven to wrath, He gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this temple and deported the people to Babylon.” (Ezra 5:11-12, emphasis mine) I admire their transparency in confessing sin.

Fortunately in today’s reading, we find a way to avoid and minimize sin in our lives. “For if you cry for discernment, lift your voice for understanding,”… “wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul,” … “to deliver you from the way of evil.” (from Proverbs 2:2, 10, and 12)

Lastly, my attention lingered on I Timothy 2:3-4, in which Paul writes that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

That calls for a shout of joy!

From August readings for Days 2, 3, and 4
Ezra 3, 4-5, and 6
Proverbs 2, 3, and 4
Luke 13:10-21, 13:22-35, and 14:1-14
I Timothy 1:12-20, 2, and 3:1-10

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s