International Subject: Restoring the Temple
U.H.S.C. Subject: Our Foundation is Spiritualism
Lesson Text: Ezra 3:8-13
8. Now in the second year of their coming unto the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, began Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the remnant of their brethren the priests and the Levites, and all they that were come out of the captivity unto Jerusalem; and appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to set forward the work of the house of the LORD.
9. Then stood Jeshua with his sons and his brethren, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together, to set forward the workmen in the house of God: the sons of Henadad, with their sons and their brethren the Levites.
10. And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the LORD, after the ordinance of David king of Israel.
11. And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. 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.
12. But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy:
13. So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off.
I. Laying the Foundation (Ezra 3:8, 9)
II. Celebrating the Completion (Ezra 3:10, 11)
III. Contrasting the Responses (Ezra 3:12, 13)
Time: 538 BC
General Theme: “Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” — Psalm 106:1
Israel remained in a constant cycle of disobedience. Moses warned Israel, before his transition, that if they continued in disobedience God would scatter them abroad. Israel found themselves reaping what they had sown. The beautiful Temple of Solomon was destroyed and most of the nation was being held captive in Babylon. A group of Israelites were allowed to return to Jerusalem. Eighty years later, Ezra is allowed to lead a group of about 42,000 back to Jerusalem.
The first step to restoring the temple was to build a new foundation. A structure is only as strong as its foundation, which serves a number of purposes. A foundation keeps a structure stable, prevents it from shifting, protects it from different climate conditions, and maintains its value. A spiritual foundation serves the same purposes. A saint may have many talents and show promise. But without a foundation, that saint will eventually become a disappointment to themselves and their leaders.
When the foundation of the new temple was completed both joy and sorrow filled the air. The elder priests cried out in sorrow. They remembered the first temple—its beauty and splendor. How did the elders know the new temple wasn’t as great? The foundation was smaller than Solomon’s Temple. The younger generations cried out with great joy. They were excited about what God was doing for them. The elders failed to remember that their disobedience led to the destruction of Solomon’s Temple. Look forward. Forge ahead. Be blessed.