“And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because He is good, for His mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy: so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off.” Ezra 3:11-13
The people of the captivity in Babylon had returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple.
Now the foundation was laid, and there was praising and shouting for joy; however, the ones who had seen the original temple (the “ancient men”); saw the new foundation and wept because they remembered the beauty of the old one.
There can be rejoicing, singing, and praising when there is a return to the land of Promise. It should be that way.
There should also be weeping because of the peril of sin. It was the people’s sins and their forsaking of God and the Sabbaths (2 Chronicles 36:19-21; Jeremiah 25:1-11) that brought them to this point in their lives. It could be that that was part of the reason for the “ancient men” weeping.
It does us good to remember our past; lest we be doomed to repeat it. It does us good as well to rejoice in today, and God’s good blessings, and to love Him every moment; to rejoice with singing, praising and giving of thanks for His wonder mercy and grace.
Weep for your sins. Rejoice in God’s forgiveness, and praise Him.