Tengo una pregunta para todos nosotros esta mañana. Si fueras a reconstruir una comunidad que hubiera visto sus mejores días; un desuso, comunidad en ruinas, ¿dónde empezarías? Qué harías tú? ¿Por dónde empiezas?? He hecho una gran cantidad de investigación esta semana pasada para tratar de responder a la pregunta de cómo reconstruir una comunidad con dificultades. He aprendido mucho. Permítanme compartir algunos elementos esenciales. Primero, necesitas un liderazgo comunitario efectivo. Eso tiene sentido, ¿no?? ¿Cómo puede una comunidad moribunda cambiar las cosas sin un liderazgo fuerte? Segundo, necesitas un sentido de comunidad. Tiene que haber "comprar" por las personas que viven en la comunidad. Tienen que captar la visión. Tercera, usted tiene que fomentar familias sanas y proporcionar servicios para las personas de la tercera edad, familias, así como los jóvenes. Educación de alta calidad y oportunidades recreativas para personas de todas las edades, y los servicios sociales son cruciales. Cuarto, hay que centrarse en restablecer la vitalidad económica de la comunidad. Los líderes comunitarios tienen que utilizar, Público, y sectores sin fines de lucro para crear y atraer nuevas inversiones y nuevos negocios. Quinto, para que una comunidad regrese debe proporcionar oportunidades para que las personas se conecten a través de oportunidades sociales y cívicas. Cuanta más gente se sienta conectada, más entusiasmo tendrá por invertir en la salud de su comunidad. Podría enumerar muchas otras sugerencias para revitalizar una comunidad, de acuerdo con los diversos sitios web que he leído, pero estos cinco parecen aparecer una y otra vez.

No soy un urbanista, pero me parece que el acercamiento de las personas que hicieron su camino de regreso a Jerusalén después de más de 50 años en Babilonia tomó un enfoque muy diferente. Tenían grandes líderes, pero el liderazgo no era su enfoque. Tenían un enfoque singular cuando salieron de Babilonia, hizo que el 3-4 viaje de un mes de regreso a Jerusalén, y comenzó a reconstruir. Vamos a leer nuestra Escritura para esta mañana que se encuentra en Esdras 3.

1 Cuando llegó el séptimo mes y los israelitas se habían establecido en sus ciudades, el pueblo se reunió como un hombre en Jerusalén. 2 Entonces Jeshua hijo de Jozadak y sus compañeros sacerdotes y Zorobabel hijo de Shealtiel y sus asociados comenzaron a construir el altar del Dios de Israel para sacrificar las ofrendas quemadas en él, de acuerdo con lo que está escrito en la Ley de Moisés el hombre de Dios. 3 A pesar de su miedo a los pueblos que los rodean, construyeron el altar sobre su fundamento y sacrificaron ofrendas quemadas en él a Jehová, tanto los sacrificios de la mañana y la noche. 4 Entonces de acuerdo con lo que está escrito, celebraron la Fiesta de los Tabernáculos con el número requerido de ofrendas quemadas prescritas para cada día. 5 Después de esto, presentaron las ofrendas quemadas regulares, los sacrificios de la Luna Nueva y los sacrificios por todas las fiestas sagradas designadas de Jehová, así como los traídos como ofrendas de libre albedi al Señor. 6 El primer día del séptimo mes comenzaron a ofrecer ofrendas quemadas a Jehová, aunque el fundamento del templo de Jehová #8217;no se había establecido todavía. 7 Then they gave money to the masons and carpenters, and gave food and drink and oil to the people of Sidon and Tyre, so that they would bring cedar logs by sea from Lebanon to Joppa, as authorized by Cyrus king of Persia. 8 In the second month of the second year after their arrival at the house of God in Jerusalem, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Jeshua son of Jozadak and the rest of their brothers (the priests and the Levites and all who had returned from the captivity to Jerusalem) began the work, appointing Levites twenty years of age and older to supervise the building of the house of the LORD. 9 Jeshua and his sons and brothers and Kadmiel and his sons (descendants of Hodaviah) and the sons of Henadad and their sons and brothersall Levitesjoined together in supervising those working on the house of God. 10 When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the LORD, as prescribed by David king of Israel. 11 With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the LORD: «Es bueno; 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. 12 But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. 13 No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away. (Esdras 3:1-13 NIVO)

¿No es interesante? The focus of the people who had returned to Jerusalem was to rebuild the altar and the temple. The city had been destroyed by the Babylonians, the wall around Jerusalem was badly damaged, but those who made their way back to Jerusalem didn’t have rebuilding walls or infrastructure as part of their agenda. First and foremost in their minds was the rebuilding of the altar. The altar, the constant reminder of their need for the Lord, His presence with them, and their dependence upon Himit must be set in place as soon as possible.

I was talking to Tim Johnson on Wednesday of this week. Tim is a Civil Engineer who owns Johnson and Associates. Tim and his company have been instrumental in engineering the infrastructure for much of the resurgence of downtown Oklahoma City during the past 25 años. Tim was telling me how the resurgence has happened. Le dije que había estado leyendo sobre los pasos más importantes a seguir en la reconstrucción de las comunidades y que no había visto un altar mencionado en ninguno de los materiales que había leído. Tim me dijo que en Europa, en muchas ciudades, nada se puede construir más alto que el campanario de la iglesia más alta. Le pregunté, "¿Por qué es que?"Tim dijo que le habían dicho hace mucho tiempo que los líderes de las ciudades querían que su gente siempre pudiera ver el campanario, la Cruz, to give them hope.

Llamé a mi yerno, Nils Mueggenburg, que es de Hamburgo, Germany to verify what Tim had told me. Tim is right. Hamburg is a beautiful, modern city with a population of 1.8 millón de personas. Nils told me Hamburg was founded in the 1200s, yet still to this day nothing can be built downtown that is taller than St. Michael’s and St. Nicolas churches. The cross atop the steeple reminds the people that God is with them, it gives them hope. Nils also told me another reason why the city leaders established the law. He said it’s symbolic; nada, for the people of Hamburg, is above God.

Let’s get back to Jerusalem. Quiero mostrarles algunas cosas interesantes que he aprendido esta semana con la esperanza de que te inspiren a acercarte al altar esta mañana. Ante todo, debemos recordar qué acontecimientos llevaron al pueblo de Jerusalén a ser atacado por Nabucodonosor y los babilonios, y se llevaron de sus hogares a Babilonia. Habían abandonado a Dios, habían ignorado a los profetas de Dios que los llamaban a alejarse de su idolatría y volverse a Dios en humilde arrepentimiento. Ahora, después de todos esos años en Babilonia, they did not want to make that mistake again. They wanted to do things right this time. Te voy a mostrar lo que estoy diciendo. Vamos a leer el versículo 2 juntos.

2 Entonces Jeshua hijo de Jozadak y sus compañeros sacerdotes y Zorobabel hijo de Shealtiel y sus asociados comenzaron a construir el altar del Dios de Israel para sacrificar las ofrendas quemadas en él, de acuerdo con lo que está escrito en la Ley de Moisés el hombre de Dios. (Esdras 3:2 NIVO)

They began to build the altar “in accordance with what is written in the Law of Moses the man of God.” En el versículo 4, we read that they celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles “in accordance with what is written.” En el versículo 10, we read that the priests and Levites assumed their leadership roles in worshipping the Lord “as prescribed by David king of Israel.” What we read in Ezra 3 makes it so clear that Jeshua and Zerubbabel were intent on following the instructions God had given to Solomon for the building of the first temple more than 400 año anterior. They wanted to do things by the book, to be obedient to God.

We’re told in 2 Crónicas 5:13, that at the dedication of Solomon’s temple, the people, led by the priests, Levitas, and the singers sang with one voice, «Es bueno; su amor perdura para siempre.» En Esdras 3, the Jews who had returned to Jerusalem followed the lead of the priests and Levites and began to sing, “He is good; su amor a Israel perdura para siempre". Cantaban la misma melodía y las mismas palabras que Salomón y el pueblo de Israel cantaban más de 400 años antes de que Zerubbabel y Jeshua lleguen a Jerusalén. Echa un vistazo a Ezra 3:11 dice.

11 With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the LORD: «Es bueno; 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. (Esdras 3:11 NIVO)

Hay algo más en la canción que el pueblo de Dios cantó cuando ponen el altar en su lugar que es tan importante para nosotros reconocer. De vuelta en Jeremías 33, Dios habló una palabra de esperanza, Dio una promesa a aquellos que serían llevados a Babilonia. Escuchen lo que el Señor habló por medio de Jeremías.

10 «Esto es lo que dice el Señor: ‘You say about this place, «It is a desolate waste, without men or animals.» Yet in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are deserted, inhabited by neither men nor animals, there will be heard once more 11 the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the LORD, diciendo, «Give thanks to the LORD Almighty, for the LORD is good; su amor perdura para siempre.» For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before,’ dice Jehová. (Jeremías 33:10-11 NIVO)

As Jeshua, Zorobabel, y los exiliados que habían regresado a Jerusalén cantaron, estaban proclamando el cumplimiento de la promesa de Dios hablado hace mucho tiempo. ¿Te imaginas la alegría, alegría exuberante que llenó la ciudad mientras cantaban?!

Hay un par de fechas que encontramos aquí en Ezra 3 cuyo significado es fácil de perder si no escacacamos un poco más profundo. Ante todo, en Ezra 3:1 leemos,

1 Cuando llegó el séptimo mes y los israelitas se habían establecido en sus ciudades, el pueblo se reunió como un hombre en Jerusalén. (Esdras 3:1 NIVO)

El séptimo mes…hubo algo significativo en el séptimo mes? Será mejor que creas que había, y sigue siendo para el pueblo judío. El mes Tishri, el séptimo mes para los judíos, was the month when they celebrated Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, also known as the Feast of Trumpets, el día de la expiación, y la fiesta de los tabernáculos. You can read about all of these in Leviticus 23. We don’t read anything about the Day of Atonement in Ezra 3, probably because they had no sanctuary or Holy of Holies which were central for the observance of the Day of Atonement.

The seventh month was also the month when Solomon gathered all of the people together to dedicate the first temple in 1 Reyes 8:2. It was no coincidence that the people in Ezra 3 gathered as one man on the seventh month. They were the people of God who had returned to the land to reconnect with the One who called them as His own and given them the land in the first placethey had returned to worship and serve YHWH God. There is a second date I want to point out to you and it is found Ezra 3:8 donde leemos,

8 In the second month of the second year after their arrival at the house of God in Jerusalem, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Jeshua son of Jozadak and the rest of their brothers (the priests and the Levites and all who had returned from the captivity to Jerusalem) began the work, appointing Levites twenty years of age and older to supervise the building of the house of the LORD. (Esdras 3:8 NIVO)

The altar had been set on its foundation, it was rebuilt on the location of the altar in Solomon’s temple, but the temple work was yet to begin. They chose for the work to begin in the second month, the same month Solomon began to build the temple which took seven years to finish. En 1 Reyes 6:1 leemos, "…in the month of Ziv, the second month, he began to build the temple of the LORD.” God had given Solomon explicit, detailed instructions for building His house and these returning exiles wanted to do things exactly as God had commanded Solomon.

The exiles who were returning to Jerusalem weren’t welcomed with a parade and a party. We get our first indication that the rebuilding of the altar, el templo, and the city walls would not be welcomed or easy in Ezra 3:3. God’s people would face opposition at every turn. If you will turn to Ezra 3:3 dice.

3 A pesar de su miedo a los pueblos que los rodean, construyeron el altar sobre su fundamento y sacrificaron ofrendas quemadas en él a Jehová, tanto los sacrificios de la mañana y la noche. (Esdras 3:3 NIVO)

We’re not certain who is included in “the peoples around them,” but they could include people from Ashdod, Samaria, Moab, Edom, and Ammon who had moved into Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. This could also be referring to those Jews who had been left when the Babylonians carried off the citizens back to Babylon and who now resented these new Jews moving into the neighborhood. De cualquier manera, Jeshua, Zorobabel, and the people were afraid of them and the threats they were making so they resolved to build the altar and the temple on the same spot it had been in Solomon’s day and begin to worship.

If you will remember what happened before the exile, then you will remember that God’s people turned to other nations; the Egyptians, Assyrians, or Babylonians for protection when they felt threatened by stronger nations, even though God told them to trust in Him alone. And where had it gotten them? Those nations only created more problems for them. James Hamilton writes,

Do you know how this applies to you? There is only One who can protect you, and that is not the commander in chief of this nation. There is only One who can guarantee your safety. There is One who can ensure your well being. There is one living and true God. There is none besides Him. And if you die in His service your blood will be well spent. You will be away from the body and at home with the Lord, and on the last day your body will be raised and you will reign with Him. (Hamilton, Santiago. Christ Centered Exposition: Esdras y Nehemías. pg. 20).

Jeshua, Zorobabel, Esdras, Nehemías, and those who came back to Jerusalem from Babylon will face many roadblocks, they will have to deal with such great opposition if they truly want to be obedient to God. In this story we learn that even though they were afraid they fixed the altar in its place and began to worship God. We will learn in the weeks ahead that there will be other times that they gave in to the pressure and took the course of least resistance. And isn’t that still the great challenge for us as followers of Jesus today?

Do you get the sense that the return and rebuilding are off to a great start? I don’t know how things could be going any better at this point in the story of the return to Jerusalem and the resolve to return to the faithful worship of God. Alguien podría decir:, “But what about the opposition?” Yes, there was opposition, but the fear of the people of God pressed them to get the altar in place and begin to worship with even greater resolve. The chapter ends on a confusing note, it’s anticlimactic to say the least. Echa un vistazo a Ezra 3:11-13 dice.

11 With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the LORD: «Es bueno; 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. 12 But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. 13 No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away. (Esdras 3:11-13 NIVO)

With praise and thanksgiving they sang and then all of a sudden they exploded with a great shout of praise! Picture a football stadium erupting when the home team scores the winning touchdown with time running out on the clock. Picture a walk-off homerun in the bottom of the 12th inning of the seventh game of the World Series. Imagine Steven Adams dunking a floor length pass over Steph Curry in the seventh game of the 2020 NBA Finals! You’re going to have to really let your imagination run wild to picture that last one! Why did the people in Jerusalem erupt with such a great shout of praise? Ezra tells us, "…because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.” What a great ending to the chapter! Except it’s not the ending.

At the same time that folks were shouting at the top of their lungs praising God there were others who were there, the older folks who had seen the glory, grandeza, and magnificence of Solomon’s temple, and they were weeping, no, they were wailing so loudly Ezra tells us that “no one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy fro the sound of weeping..” What was going on? Those who remembered the heyday of the past wept at the feeble reality of what they were experiencing. Sí, they were back in Jerusalem. Sí, they had laid the altar. Sí, they had laid the foundation for the temple, but it sure wasn’t what it once was. Compared to the glory of the first temple, “this” was hardly worth celebratingor so the old folks thought. God wasn’t finished, He had only begun His work through this little remnant of faithful folks who had returned from Babylon.

That’s a good reminder for you and me. It’s only natural to look around and compare ourselves to those who have done so much more. Luego, Zechariah would tell the remnant, “Do not despise the day of small things” (Zacarías 4:10). God is at work my friends. Do not despise His work being done in your life. Instead of looking around at what others have done or are doing, go to the altar, fix your eyes on the One who has given you life, called you to faithfully serve Him, and trust Him to complete the work He has begun in your life.

Mike Hays

Britton Christian Church

922 NW 91a

OKC, OK. 73114

Al altar
Esdras 3
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