"Then arose Jeshua the son of Jozadak, with his fellow priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel with his kinsmen, and they built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the Torah of Moses the man of God. They set the altar in its place, for fear was on them because of the peoples of the lands, and they offered burnt offerings on it to Yahweh, burnt offerings morning and evening." - Ezra 3:2-3
At Cyrus's command, many Jews returned from Babylonia to Judah. Under the courageous leadership of Jeshua the priest and Zerubbabel a descendant of David, they built an altar in Jerusalem where the former temple had been. There was no temple structure, no ark of the covenant, and no walls. The place was a shadow of what it once had been. And yet these brave men led the returning Jews in the worship of God. This was a sign of better things to come. A ray of hope had dawned on Israel.
Father, in what way do we need to restore the ancient worship? What ray of hope is possible today?
"Prayer. It is chiefly prayer that must be restored. The model for your church is the book of Acts. Follow the pattern you see there. Prayer and preaching focused on the cross. Tireless activity spreading the gospel message to a lost and dying world. Work among the young, especially university students and high school youth. Pray for revival in your city. But don't just pray. Be a catalyst of revival. Get with other leaders who are passionate to restore the ancient worship. Jeshua and Zerubbabel worked together and had a team behind them. Start with pure worship. The buildings and walls come later. It is people that matter most now. Focus on prayer and people. Rebuild the Christian home. People use to talk about the 'family altar.' There aren't many family altars in Dunedin today. May each family in your church build a family altar."
Thank you, Father. Help us to do a work of rebuilding. Our marriages, our homes, our churches need strengthening. We need real worship, not entertainment or therapy. Help us to focus on prayer, people, and rebuilding family altars throughout our city and region. In this way may we restore worship of you in our land. Amen.
- Jeff Coleman