August 10, 2017

When Should We Celebrate?

Ezra 3:8-13

All the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.

—  Ezra 3:11

My son and daughter-in-law recently celebrated the 100th day of their daughter’s life, an important custom in the Korean culture.

For many of us, life is full of celebrations. Every year we celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. We also celebrate important milestones, such as graduating, coming of age, getting a promotion or a pay raise, or breaking ground for a new building project.

God’s people had returned to their own land after seventy years of exile. They had worked hard to prepare for rebuilding the temple of the Lord. And when they completed the foundation for the new temple, it was time to celebrate! Ezra writes that “with praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord.”

What can you celebrate today? Perhaps you just learned to ride your bicycle. Maybe you received a letter of acceptance into college. Have you just finished eating a delicious meal? God’s Word says, “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Why not celebrate as Ezra and the people of God did by shouting out your praises to the Lord? As the Bible also teaches, “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4).

Lord, you remind us in your Word that because of all that Christ Jesus has done for us, we can give thanks in all circum­stances. May our songs of praise and all our celebrations be acceptable to you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

About the author — John Van Schepen

Dr. John Van Schepen is a retired pastor who served churches in Washington, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oregon and California. He and his wife, Willie, have been blessed with five children and several grandchildren.

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