And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD: "For He is good, For His mercy endures forever toward Israel." Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. But many of the priests and Levites and heads of the fathers' houses, old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this temple was laid before their eyes. Yet many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard afar off. – Ezra 3v11-13
It was certainly a time of mixed emotions for the nation. They were, after all, back in the land of the ancestors. The process of reconstruction and restoration had begun. The foundation of the temple was completed.
The people gathered together to praise the Lord for the progress that had been made. Of course the naysayers were there saying through their tears, ‘This is not how it used to be.’ Some were shouting for joy and others were shouting in despair. It was really a mess that makes us wonder if things had really changed in the heart of the people.
I want to note a couple of things here, one today and one tomorrow.
There is an important point that we don’t want to miss. One thing is clear; the foundation for the temple had been laid. We know from history that this new temple will last for almost 500 years until torn down by the Romans in 70 A.D.
The Bible is chock full of example of the importance of a solid foundation. We sing the children’s song about the wise man and the foolish man, for example. The foolish man built his house upon the sand. The wise man built his house upon the rock.
As Christians we are clearly told that only one foundation will do – there is no real foundation apart from Jesus Christ. Unless we build our lives and ministries on Him we are certainly doomed to fail.
The people, no matter what the naysayers said, had built a solid foundation. Have we done the same?