Today we look at the restoration of the Temple from the Book of Ezra. Ezra is a scribe and priest who returned to Jerusalem after the 70 yrs. of Babylonian captivity were over. Zerubbabel had preceded him, but the reconstruction of the city and the Temple were being neglected. In Ezra we have the Holy Spirit working in the man of God. Ezra is a scholar in my opinion. He is entrenched with the Word of God. Something happened after the return of the exiles – they began writing down the oral traditions, Targums and Midrash into book form. Up till now the transferring of the Word of God was very limited. The Jews [as the are called because only Judah and Benjamin tribes are left] realized that their history and way of life had been in jeopardy. Like Paul telling young Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:1-2; pass on to faithful men that which you have heard from me. The Jews had to capture the scriptures – 2 Peter 1:19-21; God-breathed Word, so it could be transferred from generation to generation. Ezra is the Spiritual arm of the “Dynamic Duo” of Ezra and Nehemiah. Nehemiah is the administrator, leader and will be the governor.
The first thing that had to be restored was the place of worship – The Temple. Now with the war and devastation that occurred under Babylonian assault, plus the neglect for 70 yrs.; one can only imagine what the Temple and city looked like. How do people go back? I mean with things such as tsunamis, earthquakes, bombings, hurricanes and the like that wreak havoc on lives and life; how do you approach such a scene? There were those who had seen the grandeur of Solomon’s Temple in all of its radiance, but when the saw the restored shambles of the Temple they wept.
In a revitalization scenario, the people of God have to go back to the “ruins” and sift through the ashes and the rubble. What depth must one go to find something worth salvaging? Sin does the destructive work in our lives. Many times people will not return to the point of their failure and sin departure. The deceiver and liar, Satan will guilt us and tell us there is nothing worth restoring – move on and live with your failures! Again like I said Satan is a liar. Like the Parable of the Prodigal Son – the Father is waiting for the return of His children. We all sin, we all have failed in our lives; and we all must return and repent of the sin we know that keeps us in bondage.
Ezra and the rebuilding of the Temple in Chapter 3 -5 is met with opposition. The last thing Satan wants is for the “Place of Worship” to be restored. Satan will fight against rebuilding the Temple – but for you and me the Temple is not made of brick and mortar, Our Temple – this fleshly body that inhabits the Holy Spirit of God. Yes we make a mess of our lives, but God is the Potter and we are the clay – He will break us so that He can re-mold us.
In Ezra we have specific enemies identified – the people of the Land [those who occupied Israel after captivity] discouraged the builders. It is the same today – people will discourage us from “coming home” to Jesus Christ. The wrote letters, the reproached and ridiculed the people as they tried to restore the Temple and Altar of God. People today will tell us it isn’t worth – it’s too hard; quit trying. Being restored through rebuilding, repentance and reconciliation is ALWAYS worth it! “Keep Building” and keep rummaging through the ashes and rubble – there is always enough for God to use to make a beautiful Vessel of Honor to Himself!
Daily work – the Temple and our lives will not be restored and rebuilt in one day – it’s a life time investment. Rebuilding and restoration is a Spiritual matter. I have heard so many times after a natural disaster people who lost everything say – we will rebuild and trust God for the future. If a church or person has been devastated by sin and rebellion, for that matter even neglect of the Kingdom mission, there must be a point of building again. The only other option is to stand there and weep over what use to be and say it’s over – it’s done, and live in the memory of a broken and dismantled life.
I have talked with many a person who has watched their church fall down around them. A consistent thought is we must return to what was before – I’m sorry but that is Wilderness Talk – the nation of Israel always wanted to go back in time, to what they thought were better days. No a thousand times No. Onward Christians soldiers as unto war! believers and Churches will be met with enemies and strong opposition – press on. They will lie, demoralize you and I, they will bring great reproach and ridicule – don not listen. Keep building. When the foundation had been laid, they stopped and worshipped. Temple complete? No, but the Foundation had been laid – Jesus Christ is our sure foundation – the Solid ROck of our Salvation.