Today’s Daily Bible Reading is from Ezra 3:1-7. The third chapter of Ezra begins in the seventh month, of the Hebrew calendar, which is the fall of the year. By this time the children of Israel had settled in their cities and then assembled together in Jerusalem as one man with a unified purpose.
Jeshua and his fellow priests rebuilt the altar of the God of Israel to offer burnt offerings on it, as instructed in the Law of Moses. Even though the people were afraid of the local residents, they built the altar, set it upon its base, and offered morning and evening burnt offerings to the LORD. They also celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles, as was prescribed by the Law, by offering daily burnt offerings (Leviticus 23:33-43).
After the feast, they offered continual burnt offerings, for the new moons and all the appointed sacred feasts of the LORD. They also gave freewill offerings to the LORD (Leviticus 23). Even though they had not yet laid the foundation of the temple, they offered these burnt offerings beginning on the first day of the seventh month.
They hired masons and carpenters. They gave food, drink, and oil to the people of Zidon and Tyre to pay them for bringing cedar trees from Lebanon to Joppa by the way of the sea, as Cyrus the king of Persia arranged. They returned to their land, served the LORD, and continued to build the Temple of God.
As we study about the temple and the Old Testament practice of animal sacrifice, we must keep in mind that when Jesus died on the cross, He offered up the final sacrifice for our sin. Now we no longer have to sacrifice animals on the altar as atonement for sin. Because Jesus lives inside those of us who are saved, we are His dwelling place, just as the tabernacle and temple were in times past. Now our sacrifice is a consecrated life yielded for His glory.
Daily Bible Reading:
1 And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem.
2 Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God.
3 And they set the altar upon his bases; for fear was upon them because of the people of those countries: and they offered burnt offerings thereon unto the LORD, even burnt offerings morning and evening.
4 They kept also the feast of tabernacles, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number, according to the custom, as the duty of every day required;
5 And afterward offered the continual burnt offering, both of the new moons, and of all the set feasts of the LORD that were consecrated, and of every one that willingly offered a freewill offering unto the LORD.
6 From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt offerings unto the LORD. But the foundation of the temple of the LORD was not yet laid.
7 They gave money also unto the masons, and to the carpenters; and meat, and drink, and oil, unto them of Zidon, and to them of Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea of Joppa, according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of Persia.
Things to think about:
- Do you need to return to the God of our fathers?
- What do you sacrifice for the LORD?
- What are some ways we can show our obedience to the LORD?
Prayer of the day:
Dear Heavenly Father,
We thank You that in this Scripture we see that the people worshiped, praised, and sacrificed for You. They returned to their land and to the teachings of Your Word. Help us to have the same determination they had to serve You. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
The picture above is a reconstruction of an ancient Israelite horned altar (based upon the remnants of the original one) as it was used to sacrifice animals. The original altar was probably dismantled during the time of Hezekiah, the King of Judah, with the centralization of the Israelite cult in the temple of Jerusalem. Location Tel Be’er Sheva.
This is an excerpt from: The Book of Ezra: A Story of Provision and Protection
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by Deborah H. Bateman
About the Book:
The Book of Ezra: A Story of Provision and Protection by Deborah H. Bateman is a Daily Bible Reading Study of the book of Ezra. The book of Ezra is found in the Old Testament of the Bible. After seventy years of Babylonian captivity God commissions King Cyrus to write a decree allowing the Jewish people to return home for the purpose of building the second temple at Jerusalem.
God is faithful to provide all their needs and protect them on their journey and throughout the process of the building of the temple despite the opposition and their own disobedience.
Each lesson consists of a brief commentary by the author, the Daily Bible Reading Scripture, a few questions for contemplation or discussion, and a prayer of the day. The Book of Ezra: A Story of Provision and Protection is a great Bible study for personal or group Bible study.
For those of you interested in Bible journaling, may I suggest you pick your favorite Bible verse from each lesson and journal about it. This will be a great reminder of the lessons you learn as you read and study this book.
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Have a blessed day,
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For those of you interested in Bible journaling, may I suggest you pick your favorite Bible verse from each lesson and journal about it. This will be a great reminder of the lessons you learn as you read and study the Bible along with us.