Read: Ezra 3:1-13
The work force was made up of everyone who had returned from exile, including Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Jeshua son of Jehozadak and his fellow priests, and all the Levites. Ezra 3:8
The remnant of God’s people had come back to the region surrounding Jerusalem after 70 years of exile in Babylon. They had a mission to rebuild the temple and that’s what they set about doing and everyone participated.
This wasn’t a spectator endeavor – everyone had a part to play and as they complete the foundation they celebrate what God had done through them with shouts and tears of joy.
I can only imagine the emotion of that celebration. They had learned their lesson and had chosen to follow God alone, and they were home in their sacred city. They were rebuilding the temple of God, which was a symbol of the greatness of their nation, the resting place of God’s presence on earth. They had built the foundation of the temple together – no small feat.
At the end of the passage it says that the older people who had seen the old temple stood and wept while the younger people shouted for joy. I can’t help but think the older folks were weeping tears of joy. For they knew what was and what could be. They had seen the lesson of the exile learned, and they participated in an endeavor that brought all the people together to do what none of them could do on their own.
For me this is a picture of the Church when it’s working right. A bunch of people who have turned to God and from their sin, working together (all of us) on something so big and significant that we could never accomplish it on our own. And as we do this we celebrate with full hearts, songs and shouts of joy, and often tears overflowing from a heart that is full of purpose and unity.
Father – may my life be lived in that kind of endeavor and marked by that kind of celebration. May I spend my days working in unity with others for Your sake, taking ground for Your Kingdom and with my heart overflowing with purpose, unity and joy. I am all in today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.