In the first chapter of the book of Ezra, Cyrus the king of Persia was stirred up by God to set the people of Israel free so they could go back and rebuild the temple. God had also stirred up the hearts of many of his people to undertake this task. The Israelites were given many gifts of silver, gold and other expensive items before they left. The second chapter is a detailed list of all the people who went back. It also mentions how many of the families donated what they could in order for the temple to be built. In the third chapter, the people erect an altar on which they offer many burnt offerings to God. Later in the second year they laid the foundations of the new temple. It says that while many people shouted for joy some of the old men who had seen the first temple wept with a loud voice.
Ezra 1:5 Then rose up the heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, everyone whose spirit God had stirred to go up to rebuild the house of the Lord that is in Jerusalem.
Vision of God
Through this reading, we have an example of God’s justice and mercy. Because of their extensive wickedness, God had exiled His people, but He does not forget them forever. Instead He stirs up their hearts to do His will and to once more be a Holy people.
Vision of Self
I am encouraged by the people’s enthusiasm and joy. It talks about how the people donated what they had so that the temple could be built. They were working for something that was greater than themselves and so it became very important to them. I want to be someone with that kind of attitude.
Go with God
I will do my best to remember how this life is temporary. Too often I lose track of this, and then start living for myself. Everything starts to revolve around what I want to do, instead of how I can do God’s will and be a positive influence on the people He has put in my life.
The 2nd temple did not last forever. It was destroyed by the Roman Empire a little while after Jesus’s death and resurrection. However, because of Jesus, a new temple is now being built within us!