The Lord, being gracious and merciful, would not let his beloved nation continue in their sin. So He raised the Babylonians to conquer them, taking them into captivity. God’s people had mingled themselves with the other nation’s, adopting their formalities of religion, and inter-mixing it with the worship of Jehovah, The One true God Who delivered them from Egypt in the days of Moses. The Lord removed them from their temple, which was central to their worship, for the offering up of sacrifices. He sent them away as captives for seventy years to the land of Babylon to live around a people whom they could not identify with nor understand. It was here that they would have to begin to seek The Lord through prayer and re-establish their relationship with the Lord based upon His principles and His laws.
When their captivity was complete, God moved upon the heart of King Cyrus, and he released the Jews to go back to Jerusalem to rebuild their temple. So 50,000 Jews, by the power of The Lord’s hand, embarked on a journey from Babylon to Jerusalem that would take up to four months, traveling around 900 miles through the grueling country. Upon their arrival, their hearts were moved with great trepidation because of the evil people that surrounded them; ”So they set up the altar on its foundation, for they were terrified because of the peoples of the lands; and they offered burnt offerings on it to the LORD, burnt offerings morning and evening.”
May we take notice of what the people did when their eyes were opened to the danger that was surrounding them. They immediately built an altar where the old temple once stood 70 years earlier, and they begin to worship The Lord through prayers. Morning and evening they sought God with great supplication. They were offering sacrifices acceptable to God, bringing themselves into conformity with His word. Unlike before, when their hearts indulged in the sin around them, they sought The Lord with great affection, praying that He would deliver them from the hands of the people.
Today many professing Christians do not have a reverent fear of the Lord. They entertain and coddle sin in their lives as a mother does her newborn infant. There is no fear of stumbling into the hands of Satan; for the eyes of their hearts have become blinded to their lust. They set themselves up for moral failure by the environment they put themselves in, like taking part in things like concerts where illicit lyrics penetrate the mind like venom from an adder. They become taken captive by the atmosphere and find themselves lured away in lust, casting their eyes upon provocative and sensual dancing that incites damnable passions within their imagination. Many also go to certain restaurants where the human body is exploited in an ungodly manner, used to manipulate the mind for sinful indulgence, opening the doors of the mind for sexual promiscuity, violating the seventh commandment of God’s holy law. O Christian, shall we not fear these things rather than entertain them. I pray The Lord would strike fear in the heart of every believer today. May The Lord bring us to a place of offering up prayers to Him day and night, mourning over every sin. Shall we seek or have anything to do with that which crucified our Savior to a tree? Have we become so lackadaisical in our understanding of God that we play in the devil’s playground for fleshly satisfaction and then return to Him in the evenings for holy prayer? My brothers and sisters, this should not be, we must fear God, hating that which The Lord hates, and abstaining from every form of evil.
“So they set up the altar on its foundation, for they were terrified because of the peoples of the lands; and they offered burnt offerings on it to the LORD, burnt offerings morning and evening.” Ezra 3:3 NASBS