Monday, 07 November 2022
“But many of the priests and Levites and heads of the fathers' houses, old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this temple was laid before their eyes. Yet many shouted aloud for joy…” -Ezra 3:12
Path of restoration:
This is really a season of restoration for all those who have gone back from their devotion to God. God in His mercy is calling us back!
In today’s reading we have the chronicle of a team of God’s people who returned from their captivity in Babylon under the leadership of Ezra. Upon their return to their inheritance, the first thing they tried to restore was their sacred place of worship. Even though they were few in number and powerless when compared to the people of surrounding nations who were occupying their place in their absence, they took a step forward to reinstate the worship. God was with them in accomplishing this great task, even though the enemy tried to discourage them.
It is good to take a careful look at the facts recorded here. If we can trace a few generations back, we could see vivid pictures of their ancestors being led through the dusty desert into this promised land. Its recorded in the Bible in very vivid ways. Whereas these people returning from exile from Babylon around 800 miles away, through the desert is not in any detail recorded in the Bible. This does not mean that God was not with them. Yes God was with them, but the dusty road of return from exile is less impressive. God in His abundant mercy, forgives and restores us, but the road back is really unimpressive. Once we are fallen from grace then it is really difficult to come back to that position. It is a very obscure path. So let us keep our eyes firm on the Author and Finisher of our faith -Jesus Christ.
Rebuilding the Altar:
For any real restoration it is very important that we need to rebuild the altar and offer our sacrifices according to God’s conditions. As we read in 1Kings 18:30-31: “Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come near to me." So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down. And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, "Israel shall be your name."
Altar always shows penitence and sacrificial offerings—symbol of worship. This cannot be offered according to our wish and will but need to be as per the details laid out in the word of God. No short cuts or man-made ways satisfy God except through the one sacrifice on the cross—Christ’s.
Rebuilding the Temple:
Next important task taken up by the exiles returned was to seek ways to rebuild the Temple of God, which was utterly ruined by the enemy. We need to note one thing, when we open ways for enemy to come in he will not show any mercy or pity. Instead he will destroy the temple to its foundations. Here the temple was lying in utter ruins. But God really encouraged His people and they started from the ruins. If God is on our side, nothing is impossible. Israel under the leadership of Zerubbabel, Ezra and Joshua started the work. Even though the enemy tried to stop it, God made marvelous ways to complete the same. Similarly, as we completely surrender to God’s plan of restoration, we can see how God amazingly builds us and restores us to His original plan.
Prayer: Dear God, here I surrender my life for a total restoration. Please lead me and guide me. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.