Restoration and Renewal in Ezra-Nehemiah
Ezra-Nehemiah Restoration and Renewal
SEPTEMBER 27 Ezra 3:1-13 “Firming Up Foundations”
Right away in verses 1 and 2, we see how the people begin the work of rebuilding by first seeking to obey the law of Moses. As we continue reading through verse 7, we see that the first steps of rebuilding were offering right worship to God.
-When you undertake any new endeavor, do you begin by worshipping God?
-Since we no longer offer burnt offerings to God, what practices shape our worship?
In verse 3, the author notes that “they set the altar on its foundation”. Even though the temple had been destroyed and the people had not worshipped there in a long time, they began again by connecting to the foundations of the past.
-How can we as individuals and as a church body, connect to the foundations laid by those who went before us?
-What is the history of Christ Community Church?
-How do we discern which parts of that history to bring forward and which parts to celebrate but let go of?
“When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments were stationed to praise the Lord…and all the people responded with a great shout when they praised the Lord” (v. 10, 11).
-Do you make it a part of any plan to celebrate completing each step?
-How can the church be more intentional about making celebration a part of our routine?
-How might the church improve incorporating everyone into celebrations?
Chapter 3 sweeps us up in the progress the people are making, and then seems to reach a high point with all the people celebrating the completion of the foundation. And then verses 12-13 knock us down from that emotional high: “but many of the priests and Levites and heads of families, old people who had seen the first house on its foundations, wept with a loud voice when they saw this house…”
-Even though a wonderful new temple was taking shape, it could not erase the history of losing the first temple and suffering in exile. How well do we lament in the church today?
-What might it look like for us to healthily lament parts of the past we have been called to leave behind?
-The picture we get in verse 13 is of people rejoicing and lamenting side by side. How well does the church today create space for this sort of cooperative worship? How might we do better?
-How do both praise and lament keep us grounded in God?
Spend a few minutes as a group praising God for his faithfulness to Christ Community Church over the years, lamenting what has been left in the past, and seeking wisdom on where He will lead us tomorrow.