Rebuilding the temple Ezra (1)
A man in his fifties was suffering from depression. Some arsonist set fire to his house and it was completely burned down. When his neighbours saw him he was smiling and happy. They thought that he had completely lost his mind. He greeted them with a smile and they commented, “You must be very strong to be able to smile after having your house burnt down.” He responded, “Actually the depression has lifted. I can`t stop smiling because the insurance has paid out and I can build a brand new house!”
It is not easy to rebuild a damaged house. Many of the houses in Chiba that were damaged in the typhoon at the end of October still have blue sheets protecting their roofs with no repairs started yet. Even though three months have passed, the houses remain in their damaged state. It is said that Shuri castle on Okinawa island which was burnt down at the end of October will take ten to twenty years to be completely restored. We can see from these examples just how difficult it is to rebuild a damaged building. Rebuilding Solomon`s temple in Jerusalem was not an easy task.
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, invaded Jerusalem, the capital of the southern kingdom of Judah and transported many of the survivors back to Babylon, the Babylonian captivity. Captives were taken there three times in BC 597, 587 and 582. The people were exiled to Babylon for seventy years. After that time, in the first year of the reign of Cyrus king of Persia the Jewish people were allowed to return to their home country and begin the rebuilding of the temple. Behind this was the prayers of many righteous people such as Daniel. It was not long before the locals opposed the rebuilding and the work was halted. The Jewish people appealed to Darius, the king after Cyrus and he warned those who were opposing the rebuilding. “Let the temple be rebuilt as a place to present sacrifices. Let the Jewish people rebuild this house on its site.” Ezra 6:3-12. Eventually the rebuilding of the temple was completed.
The prophet Isaiah had prophesied the rebuilding of the temple many years before saying, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up, do you not perceive it?” Isaiah 43:19. Let us take this prophecy as a word from God for us individually as we enter a new year.
The Bible tells us that we are the temple of God. “We are the temple of the living God.” II Corinthians 6:16. “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God. You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body.” I Corinthians 6:19, 20.
We should therefore not use our bodies for evil purposes. “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies and the like.” Galatians 5:19, 20.
Not just in the physical realm but also in our intellect, emotions and will we should be purified and maintain that purity. Also, in the spiritual realm we should repent of things that are not pleasing to God, believe Jesus as the Son of God and be built up as the temple of God where His presence is evident.
As the new year start, let us ask God that our heart and mind be renewed. And may we dedicate our body which is the temple of the living God. Just as God Himself is perfect we should make that perfection our goal, become more and more like Jesus, turn from sin and allow God to change us.