Ezra 3 – February 3
Welcome to our studies in Ezra and Nehemiah! These books will shine the light on God being in control of our world, moving us to do His work. Join our study by following along with the reading plan then reflecting and journaling on each day’s reading to humble yourself before Him and listen. Below is the NIV version of today’s reading followed by a SOAP journal note from one of our study leaders. If you’re wondering what SOAP is…it’s a method of Bible study that focuses on applying scripture to our every days. Read more about it on our website.
Rebuilding the Altar
3 When the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled in their towns, the people assembled together as one in Jerusalem. 2 Then Joshua son of Jozadak and his fellow priests and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and his associates began to build the altar of the God of Israel to sacrifice burnt offerings on it, in accordance with what is written in the Law of Moses the man of God. 3 Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the altar on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and evening sacrifices. 4 Then in accordance with what is written, they celebrated the Festival of Tabernacles with the required number of burnt offerings prescribed for each day. 5 After that, they presented the regular burnt offerings, the New Moon sacrifices and the sacrifices for all the appointed sacred festivals of the Lord, as well as those brought as freewill offerings to the Lord. 6 On the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the Lord, though the foundation of the Lord’s temple had not yet been laid.
Rebuilding the Temple
7 Then they gave money to the masons and carpenters, and gave food and drink and olive oil to the people of Sidon and Tyre, so that they would bring cedar logs by sea from Lebanon to Joppa, as authorized by Cyrus king of Persia.
8 In the second month of the second year after their arrival at the house of God in Jerusalem, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jozadak and the rest of the people (the priests and the Levites and all who had returned from the captivity to Jerusalem) began the work. They appointed Levites twenty years old and older to supervise the building of the house of the Lord. 9 Joshua and his sons and brothers and Kadmiel and his sons (descendants of Hodaviah) and the sons of Henadad and their sons and brothers—all Levites—joined together in supervising those working on the house of God.
10 When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the Lord, as prescribed by David king of Israel. 11 With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord:
“He is good;
his love toward Israel endures forever.”
And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. 12 But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. 13 No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.
Hope and Foundation | Dyea Rowland
Back to where God wanted His people, good things began to happen. Though there were some people who did not want the Jews back in the country, many others were extremely generous and gave money and materials for this new temple (the second temple) that was to be built. The Jews were blessed to have King Cyrus, as he was a very supportive king (in most regards), and allowed many things to happen (many good things). He, along with this new temple gave God’s people hope. Now with the base for the house of the Lord set, it was only the beginning of our true foundation that was to come.
I can only imagine all of the mixed emotions going on. Some were happy; some were sad, but out of it all, You gave them hope. It was a start to a new nation, a new obedience. And all because You loved them enough to bring them out of judgment. Though, reluctant to put my hope in man, it seems as this is happening modern day — new people in power, big changes happening, and fast. I am hopeful that good things will come. My hope is firm in the foundation that was laid for me when You went to cross. So whether there’s a good “king” or a bad “king”, You’re my ultimate King. Let me find a new obedience through all the change and be happy because all of Your promises are true.
Father, my hope, my foundation, is in You. Whether in exile or happiness, I want to always praise You and give You thanks. I’m excited to see the good things happen. I love You…Amen.
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