And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord: “For He is good, For His mercy endures forever toward Israel.” Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. Ezra 3:11
The altar and temple foundations: 3:1-13. As soon as the people are settled, they assemble at Jerusalem. Immediately there is antagonism and pressure from the people around them (3). These peoples are descendants of foreigners imported into the old Northern kingdom by the Assyrians, nearly two centuries ago. But the altar is built and sacrifices resumed “in accordance with what is written” (4). Work is also begun on foundations of a new temple.
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, as it 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.
- 7th months: Tishri corresponds to Sept/Oct. This was a sacred month during which the day of Atonement and the week-long Feast of Tabernacles was celebrated.
11 And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord: “For He is good, For His mercy endures forever toward Israel.” Then 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 heads of the fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this temple was laid before their eyes. Yet 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 sound was heard afar off.
Laying the foundation was a caue of celebration. The old remembered the glory of Solomon’s temple and were heart broken that this temple was less than half as large. The young were excited at the prospect of what lay ahead.
–> Let’s not covet the past. Let’s cultivate the attitude of looking ahead expectantly to what God will do next.