What was all that? (Ezra 1-3)

13 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.

A young couple got back in their car after attending a very upbeat worship service. As soon as the husband started the car he turned toward his wife and asked, “What was all that?” The backstory is that this man had never been in church before. He had been too many rock concerts and even a few country music concerts, but never had he been to church.

His wife had been to church before, but it had been a long time. As they sat in silence, considering all that had just happened, the Holy Spirit was at work in them.

I wonder, have you ever left a worship service with the question: What was all that?

As we consider the first three chapters of Ezra, it could be that the worship service at the end of chapter 3 was such a service that left some asking, what was all that.

The book of Ezra begins with the reminder that God’s power to save reaches even to pagan kings (1:2-3). The King of Persia came to realize that God was the creator and that everything he had was a gift from God. When God saved him, He gave the king an assignment. He was to lead in getting God’s people back to Jerusalem for the rebuilding of the temple.

It took 7 months for the almost 50,000 people who returned to get settled in. At the 7 month mark they built an alter for worship. The enemies of God’s people were still there, but at the 13 month mark the people poured the foundation of the temple. When the foundation was completed, the people had their first worship service standing on the foundation.

They sang, they praised the Lord, and some in the group wept. The question could have been, what was all that? The people who sang were worshipping the God who was “good and steadfast in love.” Together the people praised God. But then it got intense as some of the people, those who were alive when the first temple was destroyed, began to weep because God was a God of a second-chance.

Oh what a wonderful worship service it must have been.

Brothers and sisters, worship is redemptive when people join in honor and love for true and living God. This is exactly what the young couple experienced on that Sunday morning. As they sat in the car, suddenly their eyes were opened. The wife said, He is God! The man said, I need Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

What happened next in the car caused people walking by to wonder, what is that all about. The couple began to worship God with all of their hearts. Oh that this would happen both inside the walls and outside the walls of churches everywhere this weekend.

2 questions:

  1. How important is worship in your life?
  2. How are you preparing yourself to participate in worship this weekend?

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