God Provides for the Worship He Requires
“And let each survivor, in whatever place he sojourns, be assisted by the men of his place with silver and gold, with goods and with beasts, besides freewill offerings for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.” —Ezra 1:4
Don’t think this silver and gold is just treasure to be heaped in a storehouse—this is God providing for the people that which they would need to worship him. These are the articles that were used in temple worship by the priests that were being returned to them. God was providing for the worship of his people that which they would need to approach him and worship him in holiness.
In Daniel 5, we see that the pieces from the temple which the Law calls holy, the nations are using to worship their gods. They are profaning that which is holy and set apart for the true worship of God by getting drunk with the golden vessels stolen from the Jewish Temple.
So when Ezra 1 lists the vessels being returned, it is communicating, God is bringing back the true worship to Jerusalem and to the temple so that he might be worshipped the way he requires-- he is restoring his blessing on the people.
We see God providing what is necessary for worship as they go back to build the temple—and it should lead us to ask: How does God provide for worship for us now? We don't have a temple. We don't have any land.
That's what brings us to Jesus.
When Jesus brings in the New Covenant, he moves the place of worship from a physical temple to a spiritual one.
Worship is no longer confined to a place, but can be anywhere—because Jesus stands before God in the heavenly temple and pleads on our behalf. The temple in Ezra is only a shadow of what is coming in Christ.
It points us forward to how God provides for the worship of all people.
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 6:16, “We are the temple of the living God; as God said, 'I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God and they will be my people.'”
Jesus has come and he provides for the worship of his followers—not in a building with golden bowls of incense and with animal sacrifices with a number of priests. Through his death, we are able to approach God in true worship—because we have the Great High Priest who has provided his own blood.
*Image Copyright Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL. ESV Study Bible
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