Bible Commentaries
Ezra 3

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

Verses 1-13

  1. Intro:
    1. So, how do I restore things after Gods chastening is complete...after I’ve blown it so bad?
      1. Israel...repented (in Babylon) then Gathered, Worshiped, Celebrated, Worked & Sang.
      2. Might be a good model for us?
    2. Upon their return the Jews soon accomplish 3 of their goals:
      1. The Altar is rebuilt (1-3) & daily sacrifices are immediately resumed.
      2. The Festival of Tabernacles/Shelters is observed (4-6).
      3. The Temple construction is begun (7-9).
    3. Outline: Gathering Together. Worshiping Together. Celebrating Together. Working Together. Singing Together.
    1. Gathering Together (1)
    2. Uniting together as one man is the 1st key.
    3. Worshiping Together (2,3)
    4. It would have been very easy to be content with their arrival & resettlement.
      1. But they immediately go to work on the central feature of the Temple…the Altar (w/o this they could not approach God or expect His blessing)
      2. They placed Worship 1st…this is a great illustration of Mt.6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
        1. So they did.
    5. (3) Fear had come upon them because of the people of those countries.
      1. Because of this they were acutely aware of the need for God’s protection.
      2. In the following chapters we’ll see their fears were completely justified.
    6. Celebrating Together (4-7) [Tab/Shukkot/booths/Feast of Ingathering (as it was at the completion of the Harvest)]
      1. This was a joyful feast of thanksgiving. [It’s actually a Jewish Thanksgiving of sorts]
      2. To remember their time in the wilderness in tents, so they would always remember not to dig in to this world, but to view it as a temporary place. So they’d stay in tents/make shift lean-to’s for a whole week.
      3. This was the most joyful feast of the year. A festival packed with Joy & feasting lasting 1 whole week.
      4. This came right after the Day of Atonement.
        1. True Joy comes only when we know we are right w/God.
        2. Ps.51:7,8,12 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice…Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, & uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
      5. Parents: next camp-out you take your tikes on, use this as a mini-devotion, a reminder that we are pilgrims also, we’re just passing through.
    7. Cedar Logs from Tyre/Sidon to Joppa/Jaffa. Perhaps an echo of Solomon’s preparations.
    8. Working Together (8-10)
    9. How did they know how to build it?
      1. The Scriptures told them all they need to know to rebuild the temple.
      2. They simply followed God’s plan.
    10. The foundation (10) is the most important part of the structure because it determines the size, shape, & strength of the structure.
    11. Do you have the right foundation for your life? Do you know how to build it? Are you following God’s plan?
    12. Singing Together (11-13)
    13. Sang responsively - The structure of Psalm 136 suggests that it was used anTIPHonally.
      1. Antiphonal = is a short sentence that is sung, recited, or played alternately by 2 groups in worship, with one part of the congregation making a statement or phrase and the other part responding with the refrain.
    14. Wept – remember some of the men watching all of this, were alive when Nebuchadnezzar burned the Temple to the ground.
    15. Read Haggai 2:3 it let’s us know that this Temple was kind of plain compared to the last
      1. There was no ark, no visible glory, actually even no temple at this point...only some beginnings, and small beginnings at that.
        1. Thus Haggai & Zechariah were the prophets of the day, in the same context (Temple being rebuilt) Zechariah adds in 4:10, For who has despised the day of small things?
    16. Do you despise the small things God is doing in your life? [always look back to the foundation]
      1. These small things add up. Small things are ordained by a very big God.
      2. Instead of despising & becoming discouraged with the small & the ordinary, rejoice!
        1. God is working in & through them for His everlasting glory & your eternal joy.
      3. Here are some examples:
        1. Don’t despise the small things of prayer, by means of which God changes people’s hearts.
        2. Don’t despise the small things of service in the local church, by which God is glorified and people encouraged.
        3. Don’t despise the small things of working in the seemingly insignificant place like the church nursery, by which you reflect Christ like love and compassion.
        4. Don’t despise the small things like daily bible reading, by which your heart is transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
        5. Don’t despise the small things of daily obedience and sacrifice through which your heart is trained and molded after the Savior.
        6. Don’t despise the small things of putting sin to death, by which you are responding to the victory Christ has won for you.
        7. Don’t despise the small things like gospel joy, these things indicate you are alive and God is thrilling your soul with his son.
        8. Don’t despise the small things like not getting bitter and walking in the Spirit, by which you promote the power of the gospel.
        9. Don’t despise the small things like daily loving, leading and learning your wife, through them you begin to more clearly reflect Christ’s love for the church.
        10. Don’t despise the small things like respecting and submitting to your husband, by them you showcase the beauty of Christ’s submission to his Father.
        11. Don’t despise the small things like honoring your parents, by them you demonstrate that there is a God who is bigger than you, whose authority you value.
        12. Don’t despise the small things like working hard at your job or school everyday, in these things you show that there is something more profound, more powerful, more worthy than the fluctuating value of the American dollar.
        13. Don’t despise the small things like speaking of Christ to others, by which unbelievers may come to trust and treasure Jesus.
        14. Don’t despise the small things of corporate worship, the singing of songs and preaching of the word, through which there is an announcement of the kingdom of our Lord Jesus.
        15. Don’t despise the day of small things, but Rejoice! Rejoice!
    17. Temples in Scripture:
      1. Solomon’s – David’s Heart to build God a home. Destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 586bc, at the destruction of Jerusalem.
      2. Zerubbabel’s – Completed & dedicated (516bc). Desecrated in 169bc by Antiochus Epiphanes.
      3. Herod’s – was actually a restoration of Zerubbabel’s. It was built from 19bc-to nearly complete in ad70, when Titus destroyed it. Since then, no physical Temple.
      4. Present Temple – In the heart of the believer. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you. You are the temple of the living God.
      5. Temple of Rev.11 – Will be constructed during the Tribulation, then desecrated by the man Anti-Christ. Then destroyed at end of trib.
      6. Millennium Temple –Ezek.40-42 gives the details. The builder the Messiah Himself.
      7. Eternal Temple – Rev.21:22 syas there is no temple in New Jer. Because, the Lord God Almighty & the Lamb are its Temple.
      8. Haggai 2:9 says, The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former (i.e. Zerubbabel’s remodel of Solomon’s) Why? Because Jesus visits it personally.
    18. We need to be careful looking back to the past though.
      1. The old looked back & wept. The young looked ahead & rejoiced. [Tears & Cheers]
      2. Be careful not to concentrate on your past, least you rob yourself of a glorious future.
    19. You can’t change the past, but the past can change you.
      1. Either for the better or for worse. Example? [makes you bitter or better]
      2. The Past can be a rudder that guides you or an anchor that hinders you.
        1. Or an iceberg to sink you (pstr Todd)
      3. Leave your past mistakes w/God & look to the future by faith.
    20. The spiritual building process is just like the physical building process…it is a process.
      1. ​​​​​​​The project won’t be complete until we get to heaven.
      2. Meanwhile, many around us are watching our spiritual building going up.
      3. 1 Pet.2:5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
      4. Yes we are under construction…but the project is in the hands of the Master Builder. That means, the building will one day be complete…& it will stand forever.
    21. Where are you in the spiritual building process?
      1. Just laying the foundation? Well into the project?
      2. Have resistance or opposition? Maybe you’ve put things on hold?
      3. Are you just coming out of captivity...and thinking about starting fresh?
      4. How would you describe where you are right now in your spiritual life?
    22. As they Sang Responsively - so will we as Romulo leads us in Psalm 136.
      1. Our response will be, His love endures forever.
      2. The word love (ḥeseḏ) is God’s covenantal loyal love which exists forever with His people Israel & with us.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Ezra 3". "Bell's Commentary". 2017.