To Amy at Split Decisionz for designing the new look of Stiletto Army!! Whoop! Whoop!
Check out her design blog! And her personal blog too!
And a shout out to Lori for sharing her background! I like it so much, I had to "borrow" it.
This week we will finish out study of the Temple. (I warned you that it might be longer than 10 days, but we're close to the finish!) I've had a couple of suggestions for other studys to do after this. If you have anything you'd like to talk about please put a comment over yonder at the suggestions link on the left!
Our story and journey will end in Ezra and Nehemiah at the stories of the rebuilding of the Old Testament temple.
The Hebrew people had gone into captivity under King Nebuchadnezzar and during all the hub-bub the temple took a beating...like to the ground kind of beating.
After years of being in captivity, the people of God returned to their homeland under the decree of King Cyrus, king of Persia. Their eyes were fixed on Jerusalem. Their home. Their Temple. And, boy, did it need some work.
Cyrus is typically considered a type of Jesus. One who delivers people, restores hope, and shepherds the people. Cyrus was the savior of the Israelites as Jesus is the world.
With that being said, two dudes of the exiled nation, Ezra and Nehemiah, took it upon themselves to not only be in direct involvement with the rebuilding of the Temple and Jerusalem, but they took the time to write it all down for us. Isn't that super of them?
We're going to look at two cool things in Ezra today and see how these truths will be an encouragement to us!
First, Ezra 1 tells us that King Cyrus knew that God had given him the authority to build the Temple for Him in Jerusalem. Only God could give out the authority to rebuild the Temple. He told Solomon the first time, and gave the authority to Cyrus this time.
Second, He had all the articles (gold and silver) belonging to the temple of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had carried away, returned and placed in the temple of his god.....uh oh....that just means he brought everything back that was taken. Everything was returned and articles of the temple were brought back to Jerusalem.
Let's look and see what this could mean to you and me as the new "temples" of God.
Last week we looked at ways our temple can be undisciplined (we focused on the body), neglected (without the Word), and taken into captivity by the enemy as a stronghold of sin.
Those things can all be detrimental to the strength and glory of who we are in Christ. If we consider that Christ's Spirit now dwells within us, we can be sure that just as His heart beat loud and proud of His Temple it is no different when it comes to us.
If there is anything in our lives that has caused even the slightest ruin of who we are then Jesus is here to restore, redeem, and rebuild all that has been taken and ruined in us! Our bodies, souls, and minds will not be perfect this side of eternity, but in the meantime, Jesus has died and risen again to make sure we come as close as possible through living a life of NEWness with Him, right here, right now.
Just as Cyrus was appointed and anointed to restore the Old Testament Temple, Christ has been anointed to restore all things to Him. Consider this verse:
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Him (Jesus), and through Him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:19, 20
That could be your broken heart. Your shame you still carry from a past sin. Your anger who hold in against someone. Your insecurities. Your undisciplined strengths. Anything. All things.
For me, it was shame accompanied with sin that I knew was forgiven for, but I couldn't get over the shame of it all. It wasn't until I laid prostrate on the floor before God begging for His forgiveness again that I GOT it. He told me that not only had He forgiven my sin years ago, but He had restored every ounce of dignity I thought I had lost.
Jesus doesn't just forgive, which in and of itself is enough, but He goes beyond and restores, reconciles, and redeems. He makes us new even when we were in sin. He took my sin, threw it away, and did what He did for the Israelites when He brought them out of Egypt:
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high. Leviticus 26:13
He didn't just set me free, He gave me position, pride, a lifted head, and a renewed life!
See if what Jesus said of Himself doesn't fill you with joy that He would do such things for us. But, then again, it's just what He does for those He loves.
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed e to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. Luke 4:18,19
It's exactly what He did when He brought the Israelites out of exile, only this time, the new temple, the place of God's indwelling Spirit would be house in the skin of overweight, lost, unreliable, and desperately in need of a Savior people.
And He did it willingly.
Praise Him. Only Jesus has the authority to not only declare that we be filled with His Spirit, but once His He has the authority to bring back everything that was taken by our enemy.
But I the Lord will answer them...so that people may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it. Isaiah 41:20