-Jeshua and his brothers with Zerubbabel and his brothers led the effort to rebuild the Temple when the seventh month came and the sons of Israel were now back in their cities. The people gathered in unity at Jerusalem realizing that they first and foremost needed God for their protection in a hostile environment rather than walls and political protection. They built the altar of the God of Israel to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the law of Moses, “the man of God (Ezra 3:1-3).” At this time they celebrated the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles) and continued in offering burnt offering unto the LORD in repentance and devotion of faith. There was again consecration and holiness of heart in the returned exiles and from everyone who offered a freewill offering unto the LORD (Ezra 3:4-5). This was all done before even the foundation of the Temple was re-laid (Ezra 3:6). Now preparations were being made to bring in resources from the north, just like in Solomon’s time (trade was an important aspect since timber was sparse in this region). The wood was brought down by boat to Joppa and then transported to Jerusalem under the permission of Cyrus, king of Persia (Ezra 3:7).
-In the second year of their coming back to the land and the House of God in Jerusalem, they began the work and appointed Levites 20 years and older to oversee the work on the Temple. “Jeshua with his sons and brothers stood united with Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, and the sons of Henadad with their sons and brothers the Levites, to oversee the workmen in the Temple of God (Ezra 3:8-9).” As the foundation was laid, the priests stood in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites with cymbals to offer in celebration and worship unto the LORD according to the ancient directions of King David of Israel (Ezra 3:10). “They sang, praising and giving thanks to the LORD saying, ‘For He is good, for His lovingkindness is upon Israel forever.’ 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. Yet many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ households, the old men who had seen the first Temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this House was laid before their eyes, while many shouted for joy, so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the shout of joy from the sound of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and sound was heard far away (Ezra 3:11-13).”
-*Application* We must recognize that in a hostile environment where we are tempted to be “terrified because of the peoples of the lands” the LORD is our only rescue and eternal strength. The first thing for you to do in protection is build the Temple of your heart by trusting in Christ and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence. If you have this you don’t need the other, superficial, protections and security. Realize that God is the utmost and primary thing that you need in your life for well-being, soundness, and completion (the Hebrew word for this is Shalom). Further, when the Spirit moves, there will always be a mixture of emotions. The Israelites recognized the sorrow of failing God in their sin and how that taints His glory. The former and first glory of the Temple far surpassed the new rendition, and it made them reflectively sorrow. This is Godly sorrow and leads to repentance. The other emotion in that is pure, unadulterated joy and celebration with intense shouting and praise. This is because of a recognition of God’s deliverance, mercy, and grace to redeem all that was lost. The two coincide and blend together. God loves both and wants all our heart’s emotions poured out on His altar during these times of spiritual growth.
Verse to Memorize: Ezra 3:11-12