Ezra 6 is the climax of Israel’s return. They were sent home to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem; now it is complete. And with the restart of worship comes its natural outflow: joy. In Ezra 6 we learn that worship renews our joy.
1. Our Joy Is God’s Agenda
In this story, God reveals what he is most interested in. He uses the most powerful empire in the world to decree and finance the reconstruction of the temple in Jerusalem. Politics, economics, wars and civilizations are not ends in themselves. God bends them all in the direction of the worship and joy of his people (see James 1:2-3 and Romans 8:28).
2. Our Joy Is Word-Produced and God-Directed
No building methods are discussed in this chapter. We don’t know how many people it took to build the temple or what they built it with. But Ezra 6:14 says that “the elders of the Jews built and prospered through the prophesying of Haggai… and Zechariah.” God’s Word is what built his house of worship and gave such joy to his people (Ezra 6:16). And when the Word came centuries later, He gave abundant joy to his people (John 10:10, 15:11).
3. Our Joy Comes From Obedience
God’s people had great joy when they obeyed God’s commands and celebrated the Passover (Ezra 6:17-22). Obeying God meant they had to have a party! Our joy comes from our obedience to Him in Christ.
Reflection & Application Questions
What do you think God is most interested in the world? Why?
Why is God’s agenda our joy? What does that tell you about the kind of God he is?
How does God’s agenda give us hope in the midst of trial?
Where do we tend to look for joy? Why are worldly sources of joy bound to fail us?
How does this passage show us that God is our source of joy?
We can’t control our circumstances, but we can control our obedience to God. How does God use our obedience to give us joy?