Ezra 3:11 open_in_new
Notice four marks or features in the book of Ezra.
I. The faithful people of God set up the altar on its bases. The foundation of the Temple was not yet laid; the walls were all down, the houses in confusion: that was the condition of Jerusalem. There was the altar standing solitary, there the Israelites offered the daily sacrifice, and thus they began on their return to build up the Church of God.
II. Having secured the altar and the daily sacrifice, they proposed to build the Temple, but not without great opposition, not without great misrepresentation as to what their intentions were.
For twenty years they laboured on, sometimes stopped, sometimes returning, but at last it was accomplished and finished, and the prophets who had encouraged them, Zechariah and Haggai, knew that though the Temple looked outwardly less glorious than the Temple of Solomon, it was really in the sight of God to be marked with a more precious glory, for that He who is the glory of all temples would come Himself to dwell in it.
III. Though there was an altar restored and a temple built, yet Ezra was miserable because the Israelites were not pure in heart themselves. He told the people that they must cut off their false alliances if they were to have God for their Friend. The third mark is the great moral reformation which Ezra wrought.
IV. Some thirteen years after, we find Ezra entering on another work: that of teaching the people. We find him with the Law, in a pulpit of wood with others, expounding, and reading, and giving the sense. It was a great doctrinal instruction to the people which he gave.
Bishop King, Two Sermons at Oxford,1872.
Reference: Ezra 3:11-13. J. Menzies, Christian World Pulpit,vol. xv., p. 260.