SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT FOR TODAY
“1 And when the seventh month had come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered together as one man to Jerusalem. 2 Then Jeshua the son of Jozadak and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and his brethren, arose and built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings on it, asit is written in the Law of Moses the man of God. 3 Though fear had come upon them because of the people of those countries, they set the altar on its bases; and they offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and evening burnt offerings. 4 They also kept the Feast of Tabernacles, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings in the number required by ordinance for each day. 5 Afterwards they offered the regular burnt offering, and those for New Moons and for all the appointed feasts of the Lord that were consecrated, and those of everyone who willingly offered a freewill offering to the Lord. 6 From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the Lord, although the foundation of the temple of the Lord had not been laid” Ezra 3:1-6.
“FOR WHERE TWO OR THREE COME TOGETHER IN MY NAME, THERE AM I WITH THEM” Matthew 18:20 (NIV).
In the previous edition of Spiritual Nourishment for Today, we talked about how the Jews, under the direction of their leaders, gathered together to build an altar for the LORD in Jerusalem. This preceded the rebuilding of the Temple. The building of the altar indicates that the Jews renewed their relationship with the Lord by asking for his guidance and protection in whatever they set their hearts to do. They succeeded in building the altar amidst fear from the surrounding peoples because they were united. Unity indeed is strength! It is therefore important for believers to learn to unite in everything we do irrespective of our theological and ecclesiastical differences. We made the point that it was only through unity that the Jews were able to accomplish the first phase of the project. In this edition, we want to look at the second phase of the project the Jews embarked upon after the completion of the altar.
As mentioned earlier, the Jews, under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Jeshua, initiated the building of the altar. But their major focus was the rebuilding of the Temple which was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar when he invaded Jerusalem and Judea. So after successfully completing the building of the altar, they moved to the second phase of the project. The family leaders had already provided enough money for the rebuilding of the Temple whose splendor could not be compared to the one built by Solomon. This is because the amount of money David provided for the building of the first Temple was about 1,000 times more than what was available for the second Temple according to 1 Chronicles 22:14. No wonder some of the old men wept after the rebuilding of the ‘Zerubbabel Temple’ (Ezra 3:12). It is very important to note that all the able bodied men were involved in the rebuilding of the Temple; no one was left out. All of them put together their various skills and talents for the building of the Temple. This is something we all need to remember as believers. It is important to always remember that in the family of God, everyone is important. No one is useless in the body of Christ. God has given each one some skills, gifts and talents which are necessary for the building of the body of Christ. We should therefore not look down upon anyone in the body of Christ because everyone has a part to play. In Ezra 4:8b we read:
“THE WORK FORCE WAS MADE UP OF EVERYONE WHO RETURNED FROM EXILE, INCLUDING ZERUBBABEL SON OF SHEALTIEL, JESHUA SON OF JEHOZADAK AND HIS FELLOW PRIESTS, AND ALL THE LEVITES. THE LEVITES WHO WERE TWENTY YEARS OLD OR OLDER WERE PUT IN CHARGE OF REBUILDING THE LORD’S TEMPLE” (NLT).
The above clearly shows that no one exempted himself, neither was anyone exempted. They all came together to rebuild the foundation of the LORD’s Temple. This is something which is lacking in the body of Christ Jesus. Let us pause a little bit and think about it.
From the above it is evident that the Jews and all their leaders understood the essence of unity in the rebuilding of the Temple. No one taught he could rebuild the Temple alone or decided to do it on his own. Everyone realized it was an important service to the LORD and therefore became fully committed to it. When they all united to rebuild the LORD’S Temple, they succeeded. This is the power of unity. The same cannot be said of the Church of Christ today. Christians of today have become so divided that we tend to forget that it takes only a united church to accomplish the Great Commission. There is so much for us to do as a body of Christ. We have the task of reaching out to the whole world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have also been mandated to demonstrate the love of God to the world. This can only be achieved when we unite as one body. It is not the task of one denomination or individuals. We all need to come together and accomplish the task assigned to us by Christ.
One thing we should not forget is that God has given each of his children special gifts and talents which are all needed for the building of the body of Christ. Each person is important. No one is above the other when it comes to the building of the body of Christ. We should therefore join hands together with other believers everywhere to ensure that the body of Christ accomplishes the task assigned to it. We should not deny the body of Christ of our gifts and talents. We should also not think that some people are useless. We should all think of what God requires of us and what we can do to accomplish the purpose for which the LORD created, called and adopted us into his family. We should eschew all divisive tendencies because they are not of God, but the devil. If we all join hands together, we can build the body of Christ to his glory. May the LORD help us all!
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie
Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.