Ezra 3:10-11
And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the LORD, after the ordinance of David king of Israel.  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.

Everything they had known had been destroyed or taken from them.  They had endured the captivity.  But here they have this chance to rebuild.  A new temple will take shape.  It wouldn’t be as big or as spectacular as Solomon’s temple, but a foundation was laid for something new to come, a rebirth of sorts, a second chance.  Restoration could begin, and perhaps they could, along with rebuilding the temple, rebuild their relationship with God.  And it was all because of God’s endless mercy.  He allowed them to go back home.

God always warrants praise.  The people could rejoice in their God, what He had allowed, how He had blessed, and what He was going to do.  The foundation, in a sense, of our relationship with God is a heart of praise to Him, a constant and continual recognition of Him, acknowledging Him for all He is and all that He does for us.  He is the source of our blessings, the source of our new life, the source of our second chances, and He deserves all of our praise.

The truth is, a temple would rise in Israel again.  Faithful people would worship their God there and seek to follow His ways.  But the heart of the people would not remain perfect toward their God.  The history of Israel was that repeating pattern of revival and rebellion.  But isn’t that the course of our lives, too?  We receive that new life when we come to know Christ as our Savior.  We are revived into a right relationship with God, but then we fail and falter at times.  We rebel and go astray.  But then there is a chance for restoration.  There is fresh mercy from our merciful God to bring us back again.

So what is our response to that?  Are our lives filled with praise for our great God who does great things for us?  Do we come together with singing and rejoicing, recognizing God for how He is working in our lives?  Especially at those key moments in our lives of revival and new growth and restoration, may we offer endless praise to God.  May we keep our focus on our gracious God and be sure to thank Him for His goodness toward us.