And on that day they offered great sacrifices, rejoicing because God had given them great joy. The women and children also rejoiced. The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away.
The wall of Jerusalem had been finished, and the Israelites had settled in their towns. Then Ezra read the law to the people. They had a feast and celebrated. They made a binding agreement, took part in ceremonies, and rejoiced.
They didn’t just have a pot-luck supper where everyone sat around drinking tea and visiting. They rejoiced. Loudly.
Have you been to a party that was so loud you were sure the police were going to shut it down because it was disturbing the neighbors? The Jerusalem party was like that combined with a large group of junior high girls screaming at a concert. I’m saying it was loud.
They had a right to be loud. They had come back to Jerusalem and had fought to stay there. The city wall, which was destroyed, had been rebuilt. They listened to the law of God and committed themselves to the God who had never left them through all their many problems.
They had come back home.
In this age of mobility, we understand what it’s like to move from home to home. Today there aren’t as many people who live in one place as there used to be. People who, decade after decade, live in the same house next door to the same neighbors.
Many parents want to be in one place to raise their children. They want their children to relax in the place they call home.
God had brought these people through many hard situations. He gave them a victory and a reason to fill their mouths with thanksgiving. And now it was time to celebrate.
The next time God gives you peace, rest, and a reason to celebrate, remember the people of Jerusalem, the men and women and children who responded to God by rejoicing from the bottom of their hearts.