Rebuild the Temple? Why?

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 2 Chronicles 34-36; John 19:1-22

22 In the first year of Persia’s King Cyrus, to carry out the Lord’s promise spoken through Jeremiah, the Lord moved Persia’s King Cyrus to issue the following proclamation throughout his kingdom, along with a written decree:

23 This is what Persia’s King Cyrus says: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the earth’s kingdoms and has instructed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Whoever among you belong to God’s people, let them go up, and may the Lord their God be with them! (2 Chronicles 36:22-23, Common English Bible)

Christian tradition credits Ezra and Nehemiah with authoring 2 Chronicles. So, this chapter is the sack of Jerusalem. It is the destruction of the temple. It is the beginning of the exile.

This is tough stuff folks. Jeremiah had warned the Israelites this day was coming. In the full Journey Through Scripture reading for today we see God allowed Persia’s King Cyrus to literally destroy Jerusalem. The city walls were torn down. The King’s palaces were burned. Lots of people died at the hands of the Persians. Those that didn’t die were either left for dead our carried away to exile in Persia. They would be slaves of the Persians. And, as if all that were not enough, the temple was completely destroyed and all things of value were removed with it. If there was anything in the city it was either carried off as plunder from the battle or the Persioans destroyed it.

Then in the much shorter lesson for today, King Cyrus is about to undo what he just did. When we read it, it seems like about 15 minutes have passed and King Cyrus is ready to undo the very thing he just did. He is ready to rebuild the temple.

Why would Ezra and Nehemiah think rebuilding the temple was such a big deal? As for King Cyrus, God told him to rebuild, he is just being obedient. What is the deal with Ezra and Nehemiah. It isn’t like they are in Jerusalem to use the temple anyway. The same could be said for most citizens of Jerusalem. Why the big deal?

We can sum it up in one word, HOPE. The Jews believed the temple was the place where one could find the presence of God. Without the temple, they couldn’t see God and if you can’t see God, if you think God isn’t there, there is no hope.

God was giving the people a sign. The sign from God says, “I am still with you. I am right here. In the end, everything will work out.” God was giving the people a clear sign of hope. In the rebuilding of the temple was a clear sign of God’s presence.

Without hope, there is only despair. Without hope, what would be the reason to look forward to the future. It would be a life that was only in the moment because there might not be a tomorrow.

God was with them. The very real presence of God was with them. They didn’t need a temple for that. They needed a temple to represent that and give them hope. Through the rebuilding of the temple God told the Israelites, “I am right here.” And, where God is, there is always reason for hope.

Have a great day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

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