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Summary: Continuing Study on the Book of Ezra. First Things First. Build the altar (worship) Praise God Don’t be distracted by whiners.

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Title: First Things First (Ezra #3)

Text: Ezra 3:1-6; 10-13

Introduction

1. First things first…

This is a common saying…

To remind us to make sure we get things in the proper order…

We enjoyed a wonderful vacation in Weston, FL…

But, we knew that we couldn’t just jump in the van and drive 6 hours to South Florida and enjoy our vacation…

We had to make some needed repairs on our van…

We had to fill up the tank with gas…

We had to get packed…

We had to make preparations for our pets and our home…

First things first…

Let’s do all our prep work…

And then, we will be able to enjoy our week long vacation.

2. There is certainly a spiritual application to “first things first” as well…

And we find it nicely illustrated in our study of Ezra.

Read Text: Ezra 3:1-6; 10-13

Body

1. First Things First vv. 1-6

A. Zerubbabel had led this group of exiles back to their homeland…

When they got there and they saw the rubble of the city…

I’m sure it broke their hearts…

Their homes destroyed…

Their Temple desecrated and demolished…

In fact, Jerusalem was so completely destroyed…

That when Cyrus issued the proclamation in Ezra Chapter 1,…

He made the point of saying. “Jerusalem…in Judah”…

Jerusalem was in such disarray…

That, in order to make sure people understood where it was…

Cyrus specifically pointed out that it was in Judah.

B. In any event, in spite of the condition that they found Jerusalem to be in…

While it might of broke their hearts..,.

It didn’t break their spirits…

They set right to work to rebuild the Temple…

C. It is certainly telling…

As we look at the first 6 verses of this chapter…

That, before they started work on the foundation of the Temple…

Before they started to erect the walls of the Temple…

Before they started to build the walls of protection around the city…

They rebuilt the altar….

First things first…

Verse 2 says, “Zerubbabel … and his associates began to build the altar of the God of Israel to sacrifice burnt offerings on it, in accordance with what is written in the Law of Moses”

And verse 6 says, “they began to offer burnt offerings to the LORD, though the foundation of the LORD’s temple had not yet been laid.”

Evidently they had learned the error of their ways…

Last time, they got into trouble in their relationship with God because they rejected the One True God…

And worshipped the gods of their neighbors…

They followed Baal…

Instead of turning to the God who led them out of Egyptian captivity…

They followed Asherah…

Instead of turning to the God who provided for their food and water during the wilderness travel…

They followed the gods of fertility and prosperity…

Instead of following the God who was with them in the pillar of fire and the cloud…

They had abandoned the God who had led them and guided them…

They had abandoned the God who had loved them and cared for them.

Perhaps a few of them didn’t actually worship other gods…

But they were more interested in their activities of daily living…

Pursuing pleasure and financial prosperity…

there was no room in their lives for God…

Which, in and of itself is a type of idol worship.


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Sylvester Dunn

commented on Feb 3, 2007

This msg expilcates the need of constantly making sure that God is first and not our own hidden agendas camouflaged under the auspices of the Holy Spirit.

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