My family lives in Oregon, however, after college my husband and I moved to Alabama for about a decade.
Every summer I would pack up my trusty Ford Escape with our Golden Retriever and however many kids we had at the current time (between one and four) and we would head out on the 2,500-mile journey to visit our family in Oregon. (One trip even included a chicken.)
I became an expert packer. Here’s my secret:
When going on a long journey with a lot of people and very little space it is absolutely vital that you only pack the essentials.
When God’s people were returning home after their 70 years in captivity (as recorded in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah) they could only pack the essentials that they would need to rebuild Jerusalem.
King Cyrus generously sent them the articles from the temple that King Nebuchadnezzar had taken, they brought gold and silver to use as currency, livestock, people to do the work of rebuilding, glorified building permits (letters from the king), and permission to get timber out of the king’s forest. All of this was very practical.
What we might find interesting is that they also brought a choir. (Ezra 2:41)
The Hebrew people were going back to absolutely nothing. Their temple was destroyed, there weren’t any houses to live in, no crops were growing for them to eat, the protective wall around the city was rubble- they were going to have a hard time even surviving in these conditions, were singers absolutely essential?
They brought a choir because they unconditionally intended to praise the Lord.
Their praise was not dependent on their resources or their circumstances, it was based solely on the worthiness of their God.
How about you and I? Are we planning to praise the Lord? Are we leaving a margin of time and energy dedicated to it, no matter what’s going on in our personal lives?
Psalm 51:15 says, “Lord open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.”
Today, let’s lift up some praise to our God.