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The Joy and Sorrow of Worship

Ezra 3:12-13

But many of the older priests, Levites, and family leaders, who had seen the first temple, wept loudly when they saw the foundation of this house, but many others shouted joyfully. The people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shouting from that of the weeping, because the people were shouting so loudly. And the sound was heard far away.

When Ezra and Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple, they found many discouraged and helpless people. Through their leadership, the people banned together and began the work of rebuilding. Once the foundation of the temple was finished, the people began to praise God with great shouts of joy that could be heard from miles away. Some of the older people, however, could still remember the glory of Solomon’s temple and wept. Some of these tears may have been tears of joy that God was restoring His people, and some could have been chords of sorrow over what was lost. In either event, the sound of praise was so loud that no one could distinguish the shouting from the weeping. It was all the same sound.

We often associate praise and worship with songs of joy, but worship is simply pouring out your heart to God. At times, all you have to pour are tears. Give them to Him anyway. God does not distinguish the joy from the sorrow; He sees it all as praise when we give Him what is in our hearts and allow Him to work. Weeping acknowledges our weakness and dependence upon Him for strength. Worship involves surrender and can be found in both rejoicing and in weeping. Don’t hold in your sorrow when you can pour it out as a form of praise to God in recognition of His power to overcome your grief.

If you find yourself in a re-building phase, you can expect to encounter emotions of joy and of sorrow. The hope of something great in the future may cause you to shout with joy while you experience pains of loss at the same time. Since we have a relationship with our heavenly Father through Jesus Christ, we can share both the feelings of great joy and great sorrow and be accepted in His presence. He cares about what makes you happy and what makes you sad because of relationship. Religion looks only for the right ritual or action. Relationship involves the entire individual – feelings and all. Share whatever is on your heart with God, and know He sees it as worship. If anything in your heart is not right, His Holy Spirit can heal your heart and change it if you give it to Him. A sacrifice of praise can be joyful or painful, but it is all the same to God. He wants your real self and not what you intend to be.

Have a blessed day!

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