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”many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy.
-Ezra 3:12-13 NIV
Because of their repeated disobedience to the LORD, the Israelites had been taken captive and moved to Babylonian. The temple in Jerusalem had been badly damaged when Babylon attacked and took them captive 70 years earlier. Now, at God’s prompting, Cyrus, King of Persia conquered Babylon and assisted the Israelites in returning to Jerusalem and rebuilding the temple so they could worship the LORD there again. As the rebuilding began, some of the older Israelites wept, while others shouted for joy. Why? I’ll let you speculate about that. All of those present were there to worship, but the hearts of some were heavy, while others rejoiced. I imagine the same is true whenever Christians gather for worship. There are times when tragedy and trial make our hearts are heavy. There are times when God’s grace allows us to be reasonably happy in this life, and there are occasions when our hearts are bursting with happiness because of some great blessing. On any given Sunday there are people in each of these categories gathered to worship. I’m thankful for the group of Christians at Victory who are sensitive to the status of their fellow worshipers. As people loved and forgiven by God, we are to “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” -Romans 12:15 NIV Continue to be aware of those around you in and outside of worship. Ask them sincerely how they’re doing, and be prepared to rejoice with those who are happy, and to empathize with those who are struggling. It’s one of the blessings of life together as Christians. We have each other. Most importantly, in an unstable and changing world, we share the stability and constancy of a Savior who loves us more than we can fathom. He forgives. He comforts. Whether we weep or rejoice, God is with us and He cares.
January 21 Sermon – Daniel in Exile (and in the Lion’s Den) – Daniel 1-6
Watch the January 21st, 2018 sermon by Rev. Brendan Prigge referencing Daniel 1-6 NIV and find out more about Daniel in Exile.
Sunday Service Sneak Peek for January 28, 2018 – The Return Home – Ezra and Zechariah
God has always wanted a relationship with His people. We’ve seen how God has gone above and beyond to keep a relationship alive with the Israelites. Even while in exile in Babylon, God was blessing His people. Now, God keeps His promise to the Israelites and brings them home to Jerusalem. Find out more about the readings of Ezra and Zechariah this Sunday, January 28 at Victory Lutheran Church.
Sunday Service Sneak Peek for January 21, 2018 – Daniel 1-6 NIV
Today we see how the LORD used the Israelites, even in captivity to glorify His name in Babylon. God desires that you and I glorify His name today as well! Find out more about Daniel 1-6 NIV this Sunday, January 21st at Victory Lutheran Church.