Read Ezra 3
The work began! Check their priorities — the Altar was rebuilt and then burnt offerings were offered (Ezra 3:2-3). The foundation was finished (3:10-13), and enemies slandered and complained to Darius the king (5:8).
When Zerubbabel and the returning Jews left the pleasures and prosperity of Persia, they faced the hardships of a long, treacherous journey in order to rebuild a destroyed Jerusalem. They could have assumed that the first thing to do was build their own homes. But instead, they set aside personal necessities until they had builded the Altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon (Ezra 3:2). And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the House of the Lord was laid. But many of the priests . . . who were ancient men, that had seen the first House . . . wept with a loud voice (3:11-12). Undoubtedly they realized that their sin had caused the destruction of the first House. The burnt offerings were more than mere religious rituals, because these Jews had forsaken everything in Persia in order to restore fellowship with their God in Jerusalem and worship Him.
When our heart's desire is to be obedient to God and His Word, the Holy Spirit will witness within us the need to abandon our dependence on self and material things and rely instead on our Savior and Lord. Sacrificial giving, devoted work, and faithful attendance in a local church are outward manifestations of restored fellowship with God.
Deciding to serve the Lord and do His work does not guarantee a life of ease and freedom from problems. To the contrary! Once Satan sees that we have set our hearts on pleasing the Lord, he will use everything and everyone in his power to keep us from the task we have set out to accomplish. His purpose is to divert our attention from reliance on the Word of God and prayer. So let us purpose in our hearts to finish the work the Lord has called us to do. No one else can do it for us since each Christian is individually responsible to God for accomplishing what He has ordained for us to do (Eph. 2:10).
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed. (For after all these thing do the Gentiles (unbelievers) seek:) for your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek . . . first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:31-33).
Thought for Today:
Each Christian is individually responsible for accomplishing what God has for him to do.
Through the great (huge) stones used in building the Temple of God (Ezra 5:8). Jesus Christ is the Stone which the builders refused (rejected), and He has become the Head Stone of the Corner (Cornerstone) of our faith (Ps. 118:22; Matt. 21:42).
3:3 his bases its original foundation; 3:8 set forward oversee; 3:11 by course by the assigned divisions of priests; 4:4 weakened the hands of discouraged and frightened; 5:10 certify inform.
Pray for Staff: Chris Robison • Government Official: Rep. Michael Rogers (MI) • Country: Israel (6.1 million) in the Middle East • Major languages: Hebrew and Arabic • Witnessing to Jews about Christ the Messiah is actively discouraged • 80.2% Jewish (mostly secular); 14.6% Muslim (largely Sunni); 2.1% Christian; 1.6% Druze; 1.5% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Praise the Lord for His redeeming love (Rev. 5:9).
Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 4
Memory Verse for the Week: John 15:12