To see any branch of God’s work reestablished after long desolations cannot but open fountains of joy and praise in those who love God. We should be thankful for even the beginnings of mercy though we have not yet seen the perfection of it.
1 And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem.
2 Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God.
3 And they set the altar upon his bases; for fear was upon them because of the people of those countries: and they offered burnt offerings thereon unto the LORD, even burnt offerings morning and evening.
4 ¶ They kept also the feast of tabernacles, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number, according to the custom, as the duty of every day required;
5 And afterward offered the continual burnt offering, both of the new moons, and of all the set feasts of the LORD that were consecrated, and of every one that willingly offered a freewill offering unto the LORD.
6 From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt offerings unto the LORD. But the foundation of the temple of the LORD was not yet laid.
7 They gave money also unto the masons, and to the carpenters; and meat, and drink, and oil, unto them of Zidon, and to them of Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea of Joppa, according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of Persia.
8 ¶ Now in the second year of their coming unto the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, began Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the remnant of their brethren the priests and the Levites, and all they that were come out of the captivity unto Jerusalem; and appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to set forward the work of the house of the LORD.
9 Then stood Jeshua with his sons and his brethren, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together, to set forward the workmen in the house of God: the sons of Henadad, with their sons and their brethren the Levites.
10 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.
11 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.
12 But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy:
13 So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off.
Ezra 3:1 – J. Vernon McGee
Ezra 3:2-3 – J. Vernon McGee
Ezra 3:4-11 – J. Vernon McGee
Ezra 3:12-13 – J. Vernon McGee
Ezra 3:1-7 – The Building of the Altar
The first act of the restored Jews was to set up the House of God. For this they gave willingly, and after their ability. The altar was the center of their religion. So the Cross of Jesus is the center of our life and worship, reminding us of His work for us in justification, or His claims in sanctification. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Ezra 3:3—And they set the altar upon his bases.
This is the first thing that must be done before our temple-building or other undertakings can be crowned with success. It was well that the returned remnant made this their care; it augured well for their future. The new start that God Himself was giving would have been invalidated without that altar, which meant forgiveness for the past, and renewed consecration for the future.
Where is the altar in your life? Where the burned sacrifice which betokens entire surrender of consecration? It cannot be too often insisted on, that since Christ died for all, all died in Him. We were not only saved by His death, we were included in it, but we must appropriate and identify ourselves with it. We must look up to God and say, “I desire that this death should be mine, to the world, to sin, to the flesh; make it so by the power of the Holy Ghost, that in Jesus I may be truly dead unto sin, but alive unto Thee.”
Perhaps that last clause will help some souls most. Do not perpetually dwell on the dying side, but think much of the living side. Yield yourselves to receive God’s life, which is the life of the Son of God in the surrendered nature. Be very sensitive, and “quick of scent,” to every movement and prompting of the Holy Spirit. Seek the things which are above, where Christ, your life, is seated. So you will find your energy drained away from self to Christ. Because He lives you will live also. A maple tree planted on a barren soil sent out one of its rootlets to a richer patch not far away, and ultimately all its roothold was there, till finally it was bodily moved and transferred from its first position to this more salubrious one. —Our Daily Homily
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4 ¶ They kept also the feast of ______________________, as it is ______________, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number, according to the ____________, as the duty of every day ________________;
5 And afterward offered the __________________ burnt offering, both of the new __________, and of all the set ____________ of the LORD that were ______________________, and of every one that willingly offered a ________________ offering unto the LORD.
6 From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer __________ offerings unto the LORD. But the ____________________ of the temple of the LORD was not yet laid.
Ezra 3:8-13 – The Foundation of the Temple Laid
Foundation-laying is not always pleasant work. It means toil under ground, down in the trenches, unnoticed and unknown, and those who begin are often not permitted to finish. But amid all, the minstrel Hope brought her harp, and sang her sweet strains of encouragement. In spite of the fewness and poverty of the builders, the voice of Inspiration had assured them that the glory of the latter house should surpass that of the former. So by the reckoning of faith, in sure anticipation that God would keep His word, the builders encircled their foundations with their songs. But the same event excited tears and shoutings. The old men looked back, and as they contrasted the impoverished and diminished condition of their people with the opulent crowds that had thronged the courts of Solomon’s Temple, they could not restrain their tears. The young, new generation had not the same retrospect or ideals and, filled with hope of that which was to be, they could not restrain their shouts, which were heard afar off. “We have been,” said the graybeards, “and the good old times were better than these.” “We shall be,” said the young, “and we will make the coming days better than any that have been since the beginning of the world!” —Through the Bible Day by Day