Ezra 3:2-3 Then Joshua son of Jozadak and his fellow priests and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and his associates began to build the altar… in accordance with what is written in the Law of Moses… Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the altar on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the LORD, both the morning and evening sacrifices.
Fear is probably the greatest weapon in Satan’s arsenal. Fear causes people to change course, when they should remain. It causes some to freeze up, when they should be moving and fluid. Fear creates defensive attitudes and words when people should be kind and loving. Fear is a significant deterrent to our growing in Christ’s image and to our fulfilling God’s plan for us.
Notice that the Israelites were together in their work. They together put aside the fear that many had about moving forward with the rebuilding. The altar, the center of worship, would be the first restoration project. Since the altar was the heart of Temple worship their renewal project would begin with it. On the alter sacrifices were made for the sins of the people, guilt atoned for and forgiveness flows out from. Together they overcame their individual fears.
If you live in fear then you are not unlike the Israelites. The remedy for such a debilitating condition is to commit to rebuild from the center outward. Christians, you are God’s temple and the Holy Spirit lives in you. Jesus Christ has accomplished what the Israelite’s sacrificial system sought. His one sacrifice has made perfect forever those of us who are being drawn to Him and being made holy.
The Lord’s Table is a celebration of the fulfillment of the Old Testament feasts by the work of Christ. At the Communion Table, we celebrate together and feast upon Him who gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins. In communion fear has been destroyed by Him. Rejoice and celebrate your forgiveness.