From a place of exile, to a place of return, the Israelites were called by God to rebuild his dwelling place in Jerusalem.
Their hearts had been moved and “Despite their fear…. They built the altar on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the Lord.” (Ezra 3:3)
The Israelites started the process of rebuilding the Lord’s temple despite their fears – faith.
Without even a solid foundation, they worshipped, thanked, and sacrificed.
“When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites with cymbals, took their places to praise the Lord, as prescribed by David king of Israel. With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord:
“He is good; his love to Israel endures forever.”
And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.” (Ezra 3:10, 11)
Over 2500 years later, the Cunningham family purchased a little English Tudor cottage in Garden Hills to begin their exodus from OTP to ITP (outside to inside the perimeter of Atlanta).
For 4 months, this house has been in surgery. Cutting it open, removing the broken bits, repairing its crippled parts, and stitching it up.
There have been unknowns, overwhelming decisions, moments of panic.
It’s a beautiful mess, but one full of blessing and opportunity.
On one October night, we came with sharpies, pens and the Word of God. We covered every possible piece of infrastructure with Scripture.
Some verses were humorous in their placement: “Guard your heart” (Proverbs 4:23) over the future security system, “Clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus” (Romans 13:14) in a closet.
Others were well-loved words or specific prayers for our house.
I have come that they may have LIFE and have it to he FULL. (John 10:10)
The Lord is my Shepherd; I lack nothing. (Psalm 23:1)
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)
Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. (Psalm 90:1)
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber…
The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand…
The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and goingboth now and forevermore. (Psalm 121)
As David danced before God, “I will celebrate before the Lord! I will become even more undignified than this.” (2 Samuel 6:21)
Your attitude should be of the same as that of Jesus. (Philippians 2:5)
It was a holy, Spirit-filled night. There was a rejoicing in the words of our God, in his promises, in the works of Jesus, and his nature.
I love what the Israelites sang to the Lord after they laid a physical foundation, because their song was truly their firm foundation.
While we may not have laid a foundation for our house, we did lay a spiritual foundation that night.
In dozens of variations, we wrote out what they sang in thanksgiving when we prayed over and blessed our house.
“He is good! We have a good father! His love is a sure foundation – it endures forever!”
As we moved into 234 Rumson Rd NE (the NE is very important) a few weeks ago, it was my prayer that our move would be full of joy and loud thanksgiving – “no one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.” (Ezra 3:10-13)
There is no ‘but’ in this story, but (ok, that doesn’t count) there is a take heart. The people of God faced opposition after their foundation was laid – there was tension, a struggle, a pause and waiting period in their building.
The voice of the accuser came: “Who authorized you to rebuild this temple and restore this structure?” (Ezra 5:3)
The Israelites response is beautiful: “We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth.” (Ezra 5:11) As the Scripture notes in Ezra 5:1, God is over, under, and in us.
As my family enters into this new season and new house, let’s be noisy. Let’s live in the identity that we are servants of the most High. Let’s walk with confidence in who He is.
The voice of the accuser will come (almost wrote ‘may’, but come on, it’s a given). But let our foundation be so solid in the Lord that nothing can tear us from joining our hearts to His, joining in on this mission he has for our neighborhood, for our street.