Once the Israelites had settled back in the Promised Land, they began rebuilding their city, Jerusalem. But they first rebuilt the altar for offering sacrifices to the Lord their God.
When the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled in their towns, the people assembled together as one in Jerusalem. Then Joshua son of Jozadak and his fellow priests and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel 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 the man of God. Ezra 3:1-2
You need to know that no one except the Israelites themselves was excited about this project. Judah was one of the most feared kingdoms. Their neighbors feared them because their God was the greatest God of Heaven. As we will soon see in this chapter, opposition was present from the time they begun rebuilding the temple. Even King Nebuchadnezzar who conquered Judah and destroyed the city of Jerusalem understood that God handed Judah over to him.
But why did the Israelites choose to begin by rebuilding the altar of God? If you remember from the book of Jeremiah, captivity was announced as a punishment for the people of Judah because of their worship of other gods. By choosing to begin with rebuilding the altar, the people of Judah were demonstrating to their God that they had learned their lesson. History tells us that since coming out of captivity, idolatry has never been a problem to the nation of Israel to this day.
Here is why they needed to rebuild the altar.
Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the altar on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and evening sacrifices. Ezra 3:3
They wanted to worship God. They were interested in making sure that they did not repeat what happened to them 70 years earlier. Worshipping God was the reason why they first rebuilt the altar of God. They were very careful to make sure that they were doing all these according to what God had prescribed.
Then in accordance with what is written, they celebrated the Festival of Tabernacles with the required number of burnt offerings prescribed for each day. After that, they presented the regular burnt offerings, the New Moon sacrifices and the sacrifices for all the appointed sacred festivals of the Lord, as well as those brought as freewill offerings to the Lord. On the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the Lord, though the foundation of the Lord’s temple had not yet been laid. Ezra 3:4-6
These Israelites had learned that failure to worship God brings all kinds of problems. They lost too much. A generation of their people perished in Babylon. The temple that was built by King Solomon was destroyed. As we will soon see, when the foundation of the new one was laid, it brought tears to the older generation who knew and had seen the temple that king Solomon had built.
1. How do you rank the worship of God in your priority of things to do daily and weekly?
2. Do you know the importance of worshipping God in your daily life and in church? It took me many years to realize that worshipping God is more than just singing. Worshipping God brings down the presence of God. While God is present everywhere because He is omnipresent, He will manifest His presence to those who worship Him. And whenever God manifests Himself, He touches the worshippers in a special way.
3. Have you seen people crying while worshipping God? Have you ever asked yourself why they do that? This happens when God touches their lives. If you have not experienced this, it is very difficult to explain. There is something that worship does to your spiritual life that nothing else can do for you.
4. If worship is not a priority for you, I suggest you begin doing that today because you are missing out on some incredible blessings for your life.
a. Learn to worship God daily. If you are not a singer, play CDs, cassettes, video, DVDs, or play songs on You Tube. As I write this devotion, I am listening to some wonderful gospel songs from Zimbabwe on You Tube.
b. Take serious the worship of God on Sunday or whenever you go to worship God weekly. Prepare yourself to meet God during worship time. Go to church with great expectation to meet with your God.
c. Set a time when you can worship God alone. This can be daily or at least once a week. This must be intentional, intense time of worship.
d. Study the worship Psalms and other worship songs written in the Bible in order to learn from the godly men of the Bible.
5. Last but not the least, worship of God is so crucial to Him that if we failed to worship, He will cause the stones to worship Him. If that happens, then woe be unto us! Here are some verses to always keep in mind:
When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” Luke 19:37-40
There is a choir of angels who are worshipping God day and night.
This should inform us that worshipping God is very important.
Here is a question for you
IS THIS A PRIORITY FOR YOU?
Read: Ezra 3:1-6
Pastor Shadrack [email protected]