Ezra 3 … Consider Him Who Is Good

They sang, praising and giving thanks to the LORD, saying, “For He is good, for His lovingkindness is upon Israel forever.” And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the LORD because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid, (3:11).

As the returning exiles found themselves amidst the ruins of what had once been the majestic and glorious temple, it may have been tempting to slip into despair. But, instead, they turned their hearts in faith to the truth of His promises, to see Him Who Is Good, even against the backdrop of their uncertain future.

As they found themselves standing in what resembled very little of the former glory days of their beloved Jerusalem, they were compelled to immediately build an altar in order to offer burnt offerings, an act of both repentance and surrender.

Then Jeshua the son of Jozadak and his brothers the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and his brothers arose and built the altar of the God of Israel to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the law of Moses, the man of God. 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, (3:2-3).

From NIV Study Bible: Burnt Offerings: “Voluntary act of worship; atonement for unintentional sin in general; expression of devotion, commitment and complete surrender to God.”

And in their devotion, commitment and complete surrender to God, before they set out to do any work of rebuilding the temple, they determined to set aside time to worship Him, as it was written in the law of Moses and as each day required.

They celebrated the Feast of Booths, as it is written, and offered the fixed number of burnt offerings daily, according to the ordinance, as each day required; and afterward there was a continual burnt offering, also for the new moons and for all the fixed festivals of the Lord that were consecrated, and from everyone who offered a freewill offering to the Lord, (3:4-5).

From NIV Study Bible: Feast of Booths: “a week of celebration for the harvest; living in booths and offering sacrifices. Memorialize the journey from Egypt to Canaan; give thanks for the productivity of Canaan.”

The Feast of Booths was a celebration of remembrance. And as they were reminded of all He had done, of how very much they indeed had to be grateful for; they would also realize that each day requires a renewed dedication to devotion, commitment and complete surrender to Holy God, to Him Who Is Good.

Consider Him Who Is Good

He Is Good, because He Is the LORD.

They sang, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, saying, “For He is good…”  (3:11).

Simply because of Who God Is, He is Good. All the time. All that He Is, all that He does, all that He speaks is Good. All the time.

How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
O fear the Lord, you His saints;
For to those who fear Him there is no want.
10 The young lions do lack and suffer hunger;
But they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing,
(Psalm 34:8-10).

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow, (James 1:17).

And in this chapter of Ezra, we are reminded, in the midst of a fallen world, in the good and the bad, because of Who He Is, He Is Good. All the time. Period.

  • He Is Good, as revealed in His eternal and unchanging covenant.
    • They sang, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, saying, “For He is good, for His lovingkindness is upon Israel forever.” … (3:11).
  • He Is Good, in the midst of fear.
    • So they set up the altar on its foundation, for they were terrified because of the peoples of the lands, (3:3).
  • He Is Good, in the midst of success.
    • …And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid, (3:11).
  • He Is Good, in the midst of disheartening change.
    • Yet many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ households, the old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes… (3:12).
  • He Is Good, in the midst of joy.
    • … while many shouted aloud for joy, (3:12).
  • He Is Good, in the midst of weeping and rejoicing.
    • so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the shout of joy from the sound of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard far away, (3:13).

How do we respond to Him Who Is Good?

Today as we consider and meditate on how absolutely, perfectly Good He Is, let us pray He will stir up our spirit to respond with renewed dedication.

Before we set our hearts to any work or service on His behalf, let us choose repentance, to wholeheartedly turn in renewed devotion, commitment and complete surrender to Him Who Is Good.

From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the Lord, but the foundation of the temple of the Lord had not been laid, (3:6).

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship, (Romans 12:1).

In the midst of this fallen world, we too must remind ourselves, daily; He Is Good. As we boldly speak the truth of God’s lovingkindness over the lies of the enemy, we will be encouraged and strengthened in our faith.

… we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, (Ephesians 4:14-15).

  • Let us proclaim He Is Good, as revealed in His eternal and unchanging covenant.
    • “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people,” (Jeremiah 31:331-3).
    • Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death, (Romans 8:1-2).
  • In the midst of our fears, let us proclaim He Is Good; for He gives us His peace.
    • The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace,
      Because he trusts in You,
      (Isaiah 26:3).
    • “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful,” (John 14:27).
  • In the midst of our success, let us proclaim He is Good; for He gives us His great grace.
    • The fear of the Lord is the instruction for wisdom,
      And before honor comes humility,
      (Proverbs 15:33).
    •  But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you, (James 4:16-17).
  • In the midst of disheartening change let us proclaim He is Good; for He provides His hope.
    • For You are my hope;
      O Lord God, You are my confidence from my youth,
      (Psalm 71:5).
    • This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, 20 where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek, (Hebrews 6:19-20.)
  • In the midst of our joy, let us proclaim He Is Good; for He is the true source of every joy.
    • This is the day which the Lord has made;
      Let us rejoice and be glad in it,
      (Psalm 118:24).
    • and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, (1 Peter 1:8).
  • In the midst of our weeping and rejoicing, let us proclaim He Is Good; for He is faithful to fulfill His perfect will.
    • For His anger is but for a moment,
      His favor is for a lifetime;
      Weeping may last for the night,
      But a shout of joy comes in the morning,
      (Psalm 30:5).
    • Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing, (James 1:2-4).

He is Good. Period. And He is always working for our good. Period.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose, (Romans 8:28).

May we continue to seek Him daily in His Word, to be reminded and proclaim His truth, that we will be strengthened in our assurance and conviction that truly, He Is Good.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen, (Hebrews 11:1).

And may we so trust His Good work in our lives, even when it brings trials; knowing that when we do, our lives will bring praise, glory and honor to Him Who Is Good.

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; (1 Peter 1:6-7).

Let’s Grow Together!

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