Most of the time, Florida is a wonderful place to live. After all, they don't call it the "Sunshine state" for nothing! Hurricane season is an exception to the previous sentences of course and when the wind blows here, hang on for dear life!!! Yet, Florida is where I live and where I will stay, but at times I miss upstate New York. Especially when I know that the fall season has arrived with all its splendor and its at times like this that I remember what it was like to live there....
Ezra 3:1-13 (WEB)
1) When the seventh month had come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem.
2) Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brothers the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brothers, and built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God.
3) They set the altar on its base; for fear was on them because of the peoples of the countries: and they offered burnt offerings thereon to Yahweh, even burnt offerings morning and evening.
4) They kept the feast of tents, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number, according to the ordinance, as the duty of every day required;
5) and afterward the continual burnt offering, and the offerings of the new moons, and of all the set feasts of Yahweh that were consecrated, and of everyone who willingly offered a freewill offering to Yahweh.
6) From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt offerings to Yahweh: but the foundation of the temple of Yahweh was not yet laid.
7) They gave money also to the masons, and to the carpenters; and food, and drink, and oil, to them of Sidon, and to them of Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea, to Joppa, according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of Persia.
8) Now in the second year of their coming to the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, began Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the rest of their brothers the priests and the Levites, and all those who were come out of the captivity to Jerusalem, and appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to have the oversight of the work of the house of Yahweh.
9) Then stood Jeshua with his sons and his brothers, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together, to have the oversight of the workmen in the house of God: the sons of Henadad, with their sons and their brothers the Levites.
10) When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of Yahweh, they set the priests in their clothing with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise Yahweh, after the order of David king of Israel.
11) They sang one to another in praising and giving thanks to Yahweh, “For he is good, for his loving kindness endures forever toward Israel.” All the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised Yahweh, because the foundation of the house of Yahweh was laid.
12) But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ households, the old men who had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy:
13) 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 noise was heard afar off.
Deportation, living in a strange land and homesickness must have been hard on the Jews. They loved their homeland and longed for their GOD! Now, the time had arrived to restore the temple and fully return to the GOD of their fathers. Some wept for joy and some for sorrow because the memory of past times was a hard thing to deal with. Yet, even for those who wept, there must have been something wonderful, because God blesses you right where you are and with what you are capable of handling. Just like the picture evokes mixed emotions in me, so the sight of the new temple must have done the same for those at the rebuilding. I have learned over the years that GOD never takes away something without putting something these in its place. Oh, it may not look the same (the colors or shape may be different), but the blessing is there nonetheless! Remember, God is not a God of the dead, but of the living and life with God is life indeed. Bring on the change!!