- The returning exiles
wanted to start things off on the right foot with the Lord. They wanted to
begin at the altar offering sacrifices exactly as prescribed by the Law of
- They began the
construction with the altar! They began with sacrifices! They began in
spite of fear of those around them and what they might think.
- The Jews refused the help
of those that were outside of the community of God. Far too often the
Church today relies more on the help of outsiders than they do on the help
of the Lord. We look to grants, governments, and businesses in the
community to help build the Kingdom when the Kingdom belongs to the Lord.
- Separation from the world
comes at a price! Often that price is extremely high. That does not,
however, mean that it is not a price worth paying. Our help comes from the
Lord. The church is too willing to loosen its stance on sin in order to
accommodate outsiders. God will build His Church and He will build it with
those that He has chosen. We can never be so desperate that we look for
those outside of the faith to build the Kingdom for Him.
- God used the preaching of
the prophet Haggai to inspire the people to renew their efforts to rebuild
the Temple even though they had previously received an order to halt
- The celebration that took
place at the completion of the Temple must have been something truly
amazing to have been a part of. The sacrifices alone included: 100 bulls,
200 rams, 400 male lambs, and 12 male goats. All of these sacrifices took
place surrounding the instillation ceremonies of the priest and Levites as
well. The next thing that takes place in Ezra is the celebration of the
first Passover in the newly reconstructed Temple some 70 years after the
Temple of Solomon had been destroyed.
- Ezra was a gifted Teacher
of the Law of God and ‘the hand of the Lord was upon him.’ Artaxerxes instructed Ezra to teach all
of the people of the area to obey the Law of God.
- The unbelievable generosity on the part of King Artaxerxes caused Ezra to burst forth in praise for the grace and mercy of that God had bestowed upon him. Without the hand of the Lord none of this would have been remotely possible.