Laying the foundation stirs joy and sadness, worship, and weeping for the Israelites. 

The older men wept, the younger ones praised and worshiped together as one. 

Ezra, Chapter 3 

Dearest Reader,

Autumn has made an appearance in the south. Sweaters, pumpkin scented candles, lattes with toasted marshmallows, and cooler temperatures are here. I cannot help but think of Ezra’s words in chapter nine:

“But now we have been given a brief moment of grace…” Ezra 9:8 (NLT)

Autumn feels like a brief moment of grace.

***

Last week we saw the Israelites return after seventy years of exile in Babylon. We watched as they were named and counted. We saw the Author and Maker and Finisher of all things fulfill his promise to his chosen people.

Laying the foundation for the new temple is where we pick up our story. 

The Israelites return and set about rebuilding their homes. In the seventh month, the people gathered as one to Jerusalem. Jeshua, with his fellow priests, built a temporary altar. Worship and the Jewish Calendar resumed on the sacred site of the old foundation of a makeshift altar.

But the foundation of the temple of the Lord was not yet laid.” Ezra 3: 6b (ESV)

Where the original temple lay in rubble, a new temple will be rebuilt.

Therefore, a new foundation is needed.

The Work did not begin until the second year and the second month. Seven months pass from the first offerings to rebuilding the foundation, during which they gathered materials and workers.

Masons and carpenters hired, given money and supplies to begin rebuilding the temple, first, with the foundation.

“And Jeshua with his sons and his brothers, and Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together supervised the workmen in the house of God, along with the sons of Henadad and the Levites, their sons and brothers.” Ezra 3:9 (ESV)

When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests worshiped and sang responsively:

“For he is good, for his steadast love endures forever toward Israel.” (V11a)

Let’s pause here and notice God’s steadfast love again. I can’t help but point you back to Jeremiah 29:10-11, where God said he was going to do this very thing.

Therefore, we can trust in God’s steadfast love. We can trust in his promises. God does as he says he’s going to; however, his timeline and our timeline are different. The Israelites waited seven months from their first sacrifice to the laying of the foundation.

Are we willing to wait in the wilderness of unanswered prayers? Honestly, I struggle to wait for my drink at the local coffee shop, let alone the prayers I have poured out to God twenty years or more.

Laying the foundation stirs joy and sadness, worship, and weeping for the Israelites.

“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. But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first house, wept with a loud voice when they saw the foundation of this house being laid, though many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people’s weeping, for the people shouted with a great shout, and the sound was heard far away.” Ezra 3: 11b-13

Weeping and worship, joy, and sadness among the peoples heard far and near. The older men wept, the younger ones praised and worshiped. Why? The older generation had seen the grandeur of Solomon’s temple, and they knew this temple was smaller and less grand.

Where once a great nation, Israel is reduced to a remnant.

They had seen the glory of God and realized his presence was missing. Likewise, the younger men had no point of comparison.

We can observe three things from Ezra, chapter three:

  1. The starting point
  2. The work
  3. The result

When the exiles returned to Jerusalem, they had to start over from ground zero. There was work to be done, and the result was the foundation where the new temple would stand.

What does laying the foundation of a new temple have to do with us today? What can we take away from this passage?

To begin with, we need a starting point for the process of sanctification. The starting point is accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior; we move forward and start laying a solid foundation.

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” Romans 10:9-10 (ESV)

Subsequently, we lay that foundation by doing the work.

We do the work of daily meeting with God in his Word in communion and fellowship and prayer. Fellowship with other Believers and corporate worship is necessary. We’re not meant to walk alone. Instead, we require fellowship; fellowship with God, and others.

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 (ESV)

Lastly, the results of beginning, followed by laying the foundation, will be deep roots in a steadfast God.

Growing deep roots in Him and his Word, bearing Kingdom fruit.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5 (ESV)

When we abide in Christ, we lay a foundation that will not crumble beneath us.

I am here to encourage you, equip you, and guide you as you redefine your wilderness. You can comment below or send a private email to tlmashburn@yahoo.com.

Your Wilderness Guide,

 

*Scripture quotes are from Bible.com

PS: Catch my in-depth teaching: What We Have In Common With the Disciples from Mark 8!!

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“There is no space to live well or love well, much less pursue the God who created us to be in fellowship with Him. We close the gap between what we need and what we want with more. Our spinning lives and broken hearts are empty while appearing full. We paste a smile on our face and tell anyone who asks we are okay while inside we are shattering a million different ways.” -Mornings In The Word