Archive for January 5th, 2018

So, after the exile of the Jews in Babylonia when Ezra returned, the Holy Spirit had worked thorugh a number of players in the drama to bring the event to pass (1:1, 1:5):  Moses in the book of Leviticus, Jeremiah the prophet (2 Chronicles 36:22), Daniel, who remembers Jeremiah’s prophecy, King Cyrus, Ezra and others.

We still look for the stirring of the Holy Spirit before beginning any work of God, because without Him the workers labour in vain.  The difference between a God idea and a good one is perhaps there should be many witnessing to it in their spirits, not just the odd individual.  So, for instance, many on the church council witnessed to a stirring about the idea of our Nativity outreach event.

Chapters one and two demonstrate the level of commitment that ‘going up’ to Jerusalem to do this work would entail.  Many stayed behind for the good life they had made for themselves in Babylon (a picture of the world), but we see how many were committed to returning, both in making the journey but also financially.

The importance of this return to Israel for the Jews cannot be overstated. Resting on it was their trust in God, that he would fulfil the promises in his word.  For us, the forgiveness of sins rests on the finished work of Christ on the cross, for them it was on an altar in their temple.  We can see from our passage, that building the altar was the FIRST thing the returners concentrated on doing (3:2).  They understood that without sacrifice there was no forgiveness of sins.  Although the Jews do not yet accept this, post the cross, there is no forgiveness of sins without trust in Jesus who died on it for us.

Furthermore, they were very strict and precise in faithfully following the ordinances as laid down in Leviticus for worship (3:4-6), such was their level of commitment to restore a relationship with the Lord. Likewise, our relationship with God through Jesus needs commitment, since all relationships need maintenance work.

  1. 11 speaks of the people worshipping ‘responsively’. Our worship should not just be singing, but a heartfelt response to all that has happened in our relationship with him. Interestingly, worship follows the word in Jewish synagogues so that reasons to worship are brought to mind before worship.

Chapter four brings with it trouble and resistance delaying the progress of the work (4:5). More of that tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Before worshipping pray for God to inspire you to do so responsively.

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