When I read through Ezra 3:7-9, I almost can’t take it all in. There is so much said in so few words. Today I want to read between the lines a bit. I pray you understand that this is the Bible according to Carol and you need to sit at His feet and prayerfully read through it yourself to see what God has for you in it. When you do I hope you will share it with us. That is my favorite way to read the Bible. I love what God gives me about Him and about me when I sit with Him and read His Word but we are all unique and individual and though we share our Lord our relationship with Him is unique to each of us. Ok! That said….
Verse 7 tells of money given to the masons and carpenters and food and drink given to the people of Sidon and Tyre so that they would bring cedar logs by sea from Lebanon to Joppa as the king Cyrus had authorized. Then in verse 8 it says that in the second month of the second year after their arrival back in Jerusalem they set up the crews to begin building. They had taken 7 months from their arrival to the time they met and built the altar to the Lord. So basically it took another 7 months to get the building materials together and organize their work crews with the Levites 20 years and older supervising. In my mind it seems they weren’t in a big hurry but when you think about it they had to bring the logs by sea from Lebanon to the seaport of Joppa and then bring them across the 40 miles to Jerusalem.
Were these people slow? What did their lives look like on a daily basis? In our fast paced world of trains, planes and automobiles it looks like they were moving at a snail’s pace. Do you think they were glad to be there? Did they doubt the choice to return was a good one? Or….were they doing everything right and waiting on God for each step. They were a rebellious people (just like me) and God had allowed them to be taken captive and driven from their homes to a foreign land to live as strangers. Was this a feeling they had come home or does verse 3 again tell us more. Maybe they were just living in so much fear that every step forward was difficult.
We don’t get to know all of the details but put yourself in their place and think about it. What does this tell us about who God is? For me it is that He is a patient and loving God. He gives us courage to face our fears and move forward. He is gracious when the movement is slow. He has a promised land for us that we may not get to live in all the time if we decide to go our own way instead of His. I am not talking about when we get to heaven but a promised land on earth. His love is so huge that He gives us second chances at our promised land and we need to be courageous and go for it when He does. Have a blessed day! Get in His Word. Sit at His feet and let Him speak to your heart wonderful things about Him and about His love for you!
When I look at chapter 3 there are several things that stand out to me. The people had settled into their towns, they all came together in Jerusalem and the first thing they did was build the altar of the God of Israel to sacrifice burnt offerings on as Moses had told them to do in the Law. The sacrifices were for the atonement of sin and for thanksgiving and worship to God. I wonder whether verse 3 holds a key as to why they started with the altar. “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.” My Revell Bible dictionary says the burnt offerings signified complete surrender to God. It goes on to say they celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles. Again, my Revell says it was celebrated to commemorate the 40 years of wandering. God had not only brought them through the 40 years of wilderness wandering, He had brought them to their promised land. As they return after many years of exile how fitting is it that they first offer sacrifices as surrender to Him and then take the time to remember where they had been and all God had done for them. They needed to remember what He had allowed to happen to them due to their lack of love and obedience. In their state of fear maybe they knew they couldn’t do this alone. They knew that they needed to have God’s forgiveness, protection and relationship.
What do I learn about God from these few verses? He gives us work to do for Him but He allows enough fear to be involved so we know we need Him. If we don’t sacrifice the time to spend worshipping Him for who He is and remembering all He has done for us and has allowed in our lives to grow us, the work will be fruitless. I am so very grateful that my God loves me enough to require sacrifice and worship of Him in our relationship. I am so glad for the fear that creeps in when I am just doing it on my own.
I love you Lord and I am so blessed to be your child! I am so very grateful when I blow it, you are there to forgive me and allow me a fresh start. I love you and worship you the God of creation who spoke and put this world in place. There is nothing you can’t do! You my God are Holy, High and Lifted up! You are omnipotent, omniscient, all knowing, all seeing, all doing, all in all! My God I am humbled by your awesome love for me and for all people. I am humbled that you not only love me you like me and smile on me. I am so humbled at your patience and that you don’t tire of watching over and protecting and providing all I need. My God you are the one true God and you alone are worthy of praise honor and glory. I so love you! I so, so love you! May my life be lived as a praise to your glory. Lord please bless all who want to grow in knowing you with a deeper knowledge of who you are and who they are in you. In the name of my precious Savior Jesus Christ I pray.