Gaining perspective: Ezra 3

Recently I was reading the book of Ezra, and I came across an important reminder: Pure hearts take precedent over pure projects.

While the Jews were in exile, a man named Cyrus became king of Persia. The Holy Spirit stirred Cyrus to issue a decree that the people should return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple that had been destroyed. God birthed this vision in the hearts of many people, and around 50,000 or so Jews made the journey back to Jerusalem.

Their purpose in returning was to rebuild the temple. This was extremely important to them, because the temple was the literal house of God. As long as it laid in shambles, the rest of the world would look at Judah’s God in disgrace. On a personal level, it probably made the Jews question God’s power, faithfulness, and presence.

Now, with that in mind, here’s what’s interesting: Their first order of business when they arrived in Jerusalem wasn’t the temple… it was their heart. Instead of getting right to work, chapter 3 describes how they set up the altar, celebrated the Feast of Booths, and each offered sacrifices are required in the Law of Moses. “6From 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 was not yet laid.” Ezra 3:6 ESV

Before they even started the project God called them to, they got on right terms with Him. They were sent to Jerusalem by the most powerful man in the world to rebuild the temple of God. Talk about a pure objective! But, they recognized that pure hearts take precedent over pure projects.

The same is true for us today. It’s easy for me to become so obsessed with dreaming, planning, and critiquing the projects I want to do for God someday, that I neglect my relationship with Him. It’s easy for good things to get in the way of developing a good heart. Don’t let that happen to you today.

Pure hearts take precedent over pure projects. What are you working on today that might cause you to neglect your heart?

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