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).
Unity is very important in everything we do in this world. It is also an attitude that God always wants his people to develop. A look at the creation of story in Genesis 1 reveals that the creation of the entire universe was possible because of the bond of unity that exists between the Godhead. This is evidenced in Genesis 1:26 where we find that the universe was created by the plural BEING.
“THEN GOD SAID, “LET US MAKE MAN IN OUR OWN IMAGE, IN OUR LIKENESS, AND LET THEM RULE OVER THE FISH OF THE SEA……..””
Jesus also mentioned the importance of unity among believers and encouraged believers to pray in unity because when we do, we can receive everything we ask for. These and many more places in the Bible give clear evidence that when God’s people unite, they can make better impact than when we divide our front. In this edition of Spiritual Nourishment for Today, we want to look at the importance of unity in the building of the altar of the LORD after the Jews had gone back to Jerusalem and Judea.
We realized from Ezra chapter two that the leaders of the various Jewish clans offered freely to support the rebuilding of the Temple. This was part of their gratitude to God for bringing them back to their land and to also show that they had forgotten the reason for which God set them free from captivity and sent them back safely. After settling in their various towns for seven months, the Jewishs leaders decided to build an altar for the LORD to ensure that they had a place for the offering of sacrifices to the LORD. Altars were the places God’s people gathered together to worship the LORD by sacrificing prescribed animals to Him. They realized the need to do that as a step towards the rebuilding of the Temple. This implies that the Jews understood why God sent them back home and made the conscious effort to ensure that it was realized. Unfortunately, some of sometimes forget why God has brought us thus far. They also thought about what could be done to draw the hearts of the people to God. They did not want the people to forget the LORD. They wanted to re-institute the worship of God which had eluded them for centuries. They wanted to begin their life with God.
Many of us put God second in our scheme of things. We sometimes invite God when are faced with a crisis situation.
WE DO NOT USUALLY CONSULT GOD ON WHAT TO DO IN THIS LIFE. WE MOSTLY CONSULT GOD AFTER WE HAVE ENCOUNTERED PROBLEMS WHICH COULD HAVE BEEN AVERTED IF WE HAD CONSULTED HIM EARLIER. THIS IS HOWEVER WRONG.
God should be given the first priority in our lives at all time. The Jews realized that if they eliminated God in their scheme of things, life was going to be unbearable for them. They knew that they were surrounded by several enemies and detractors and the only way to be successful in anything they did on the land was to allow God to rule in the hearts of the people. Do you put God first in everything you do in this life? Do you always begin your day with God? Let us think about this.
Having understood the need allow to allow God to take precedence over their whole lives, the Jews, led by Jeshua, Zerubbabel and their associates began to build the altar for God. They were afraid of the many enemies around them and therefore could not have built the altar without a united front, backed by faith in God. What it means is that the environment was very unfriendly for the building of the altar, but because they were united with one purpose to build the altar of God, they were able to overcome the fear surrounding them and eventually succeeded in building an altar for God. Indeed their faith in God was very paramount but without unity, they could not have reached their goal. This is supported by what Jesus said in Matthew 18:19-20.
“AGAIN I TELL YOU THAT IF TWO OF YOU ON EARTH AGREE ABOUT ANYTHING YOU ASK FOR, IT WILL BE DONE FOR YOU BY MY FATHER IN HEAVEN. FOR WHERE TWO OR THREE COME TOGETHER IN MY NAME, THERE AM I WITH THEM.”
This means that when God’s people gather together physically as well as unite spiritually, he is always in our presence. We also know that if God is with us, there is no mountain we cannot surmount in this world. It is therefore necessary for all believers to realize the need for unity in the building of the Kingdom of God. When we divide our front with unnecessary issues, we cannot help in ensuring that the Kingdom of God is fully established in our life time. Let us therefore stop the backbiting, the jealousy, the bitterness and the hatred we harbor against one another and move together in unity as one people of God. It is only through unity that God’s people can build the body of Christ and conquer more territories for Christ.
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie
Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.