Summary: A Homecoming Sermon: Joy comes from the satisfaction of hearing God’s Word, understanding and applying it to our lives in the community of fellowship.
10) Then he said to them, "Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."
(11) So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, "Be quiet, for this day is holy; do not be grieved."
(12) And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.
Robert Louis Stevenson once entered in his diary what he considered to be an extraordinary thing. He said, "I have been to Church today, and (surprisingly) I am not depressed."
Joy comes from the satisfaction of hearing God’s Word, understanding and applying it to our lives in the community of fellowship.
Home is the place where, when you have to go there, They have to take you in. - Robert Frost
I find myself completely wired up for Homecoming!
This is my fourth one with you, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. There’s something special about Homecoming.
I’ve gotten to know many of you who attend Prospect's Homecoming on this Sunday each year. Many of you I haven’t seen since last year. It’s so good to see you!
A pastor friend was invited to preach at a Church’s homecoming. He saw a little old lady who said, "Preacher, since I last saw you, I had all my teeth pulled and a new refrigerator put in."
A lot has happened since last year and the Lord has been good indeed! New teeth, new appliances, all manner of blessings! We’ve seen some joy, we’ve seen laughter. We’ve also experienced some sickness, heartache and tears. Some of us have lost loved ones. But through it all…
God is so good! Today we celebrate! Through all the seasons of our lives, the Lord takes care of His children.
I believe Homecomings fill a great need in our lives. It’s a time and an occasion to consider the past, our heritage, to go back to those wonderful memories and to be grateful for the blessings of God on our lives! I honestly believe it’s a God-given gift to be able to remember and long for those “good days”, and it’s also His gift to help us forget those days that weren’t so great!
It’s a quality that is distinctly human, to be able to consider our days in light of eternity, and to celebrate the goodness of God.
This idea of homecoming is nothing new; it goes way back to the Old Testament, at least twenty- seven hundred years ago to the days when the children of Israel were restored to their land from having been exiled in Babylon for seventy years.
It’s a long story and it covers several years. The short version is that by God’s provision, the King Artaxerxes of the Medes and Persians has released the captive people of Israel and allowed them to return to their homeland with his blessing and sponsorship. He did it in several phases, and the first round he sent about fifty thousand people back equipped and with his blessing to rebuild Jerusalem, which lay in ruins.
There were several key players. Nehemiah was the governor, great architect and leader who implemented the rebuilding of the great wall surrounding the city. Ezra was a scribe and priest who was the theologian and very much a pastor to Israel during this time. There was the high priest Zechariah who was used by God to lead His people back to the worship that He desired, and there was a governor named Zerubabbel who God had placed as the head of the newly re-formed state. The prophet Haggai preached and prophesied during this era as well.
Today in Nehemiah Chapter Eight, we find the Great Homecoming.
After months of hard work the wall had been rebuilt around the ruins of Jerusalem and a platform had been erected ; it was the first step in re-building God’s Temple. It was a far cry from the glory days of Old Jerusalem, but it was a start and the returning exiles had worked very hard to bring it about.
Many of the older ones were very young in the “old days.” They remembered the glory of the Lord shining brightly as the sacrifices were made in the former Temple. They had worked feverishly to prepare for the Feast of Trumpets this day, and it was a Homecoming. It was a whole new generation who had taken charge of God’s House, to re-construct it and to bring back worship as God had directed His people. They couldn’t wait to revisit their roots. Many of them had only heard their parents and grandparents talk about the old days, some of the older ones remembered the former days and glory.