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Summary: Sermon 4 of the series. The Jews are now back in their land. They have built cities, built houses and raised crops. Now it is time to get busy in the work and worship of the Lord!

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The Book of Ezra

Study #6

(Ezra 3:1-7)

Rebuilding the Altar!

INTRODUCTION:

If given the chance, would you return to your home place to rebuild it, even if it lay in total devastation?

What are some of your earliest memories of church?

What buildings come to your mind?

What parts of those buildings come to your mind?

When do you remember coming together to get something done for God?

SUMMARY STATEMENT:

• God raised up a new leader named Cyrus.

• He is led to send to Jews back to their homes.

• At his request, a large offering is given for the rebuilding of the Temple.

• Now, the Jews are back in the land.

• There is a time gap between chapters 2 and 3 (we do not know exactly how long).

• Some estimate that it has been approximately 3 months since their arrival.

• The Jews have settled into their cities, built homes, raised crops.

• Now it is time to get busy in the work of the Lord.

I. The Fervency Restored (1)

And when the seventh month was come [or, was coming], and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem.

A. The Month

• The text tells us that this occurred on the seventh month.

• This would be the Hebrew month Tishri, corresponding to our late September, early October.

• This could refer to either the seventh month after the people left Babylon or to the seventh month after they arrived in Jerusalem.

• Or it could just be the seventh month of the calendar.

• The year would be 537 B.C.

• In years past, the seventh month had been a great month religiously for Israel.

• Three religious festivals were held in the seventh month:

1) The Feast of Trumpets on the 1st day (Lev. 23:23-25),

2) The Day of Atonement on the 10th day (Lev. 23:26-32),

3) The Feast of Tabernacles on days 15-21 (Lev. 23:33-36, 39-43; Num. 29:12-39; cf. Ezra 3:4).

B. The Meeting

• Word is published throughout the land that the leaders are calling for a convocation.

• The people, recently settled in their cities, revive a centuries-old tradition.

• The annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem as commanded by the Lord.

• The people are united in taking this divine requirement seriously.

QUOTE: The idea was that they gathered in unity for the same purpose. Unity is one of the basic foundations for accomplishing a work for God (Phil 2:1-4). Lack of unity is one of the hindrances to revival in the twentieth-century church. (KJV Bible Commentary)

Philippians 2:1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

• Nothing could cause more sincerity than the 70 years of captivity they have just endured.

• The people know that the altar and the offerings and the feasts must be restored.

• And they united to get it done!

II. The Fire Restored (2-3)

A. The People (2A)

[2] Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren,

• The men who headed up the constructing of the altar were Jeshua, the religious leader (a descendant of Aaron). He is mentioned first because this is a religious event!

• and Zerubbabel, the civil leader (a descendant of David),

• along with fellow priests (other descendants of Aaron)

• and associates (other descendants of David, as well as heads of families in chapter 2).

B. The Purpose (2B)

[2B] and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God.

• It strikes me that they studied the Word of God to determine what to do next.

• Once they saw the clear command of God, there was no controversy over what to do next.

• The consequences were not important.

• Conformity to God’s Word and will were what mattered. (That is how it should be at Calvary)

• They built the altar so that they could offer sacrifices in accordance with what was written in the Law of Moses.

QUOTE: There is an application here for us. What men say and think is not important. The Scriptures are all-sufficient and contain all of the instruction that is needed for the guidance of those who would be faithful to God in any particular period of church history.

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