January 17, 2021
Alex Kennedy, Senior Pastor
Carmel Baptist Church
Ezra: Rebuilding What Matters Most
In Ezra chapter 3, we see that the people “gathered as one man”, which is a Hebrew idiom for “unity of mind and heart.” The unity they had was that what mattered most was rebuilding the alter. The alter of burnt offering was that first place they came to when approaching the temple. It was where the sacrificial animal was laid and burned-totally consumed-representing the forgiveness of their sins. It had been destroyed along with the temple, and it was a picture of consecration and commitment to the LORD. It identified them.
Once the alter was complete, they sacrificed. Two lambs were offered every day at 9am and 3pm (Exodus 29:38-46). Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice when he died at 3pm on Passover.
The people also kept the Feast of Booths to remind them that life is fragile as they remembered Israel’s wilderness wanderings. God continues to remind them (and us) that we are always in a dependent situation as His people.
In verse 7 we see that they have an alter but no foundation, so they gave money to the masons to build the foundation of the Temple. They gave out of what they had. Finally, after 7 months, they began to rebuild the Temple. It took so long because they were gathering supplies and making a plan. This Temple was much more modest than Solomon’s Temple that had been destroyed, but it was the Temple that Herod built upon and the one that Jesus entered. It was important!
The people’s response (v11) was, “For He is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel. (1 Chron 16:34,41; Psalms 136:1-26. The response of worship is a respone BACK to Him.
LORD – YAHWEH – Covenant Name
Steadfast love – CHESED – Covenant Love
Verse 12-13 show us the people’s response in that there was joy and weeping. It was a very emotional time. Jeremiah 33:10-11 prophesied about this. The people worshipped!