When Babylon conquered Jerusalem they also destroyed the temple. But the temple is just a building. The greater tragedy is the fact that God took His presence away from the people even before the temple was destroyed.

In Ezra, the temple stands as a reminder of the presence of God. When they see the rebuilt temple they remember, “his steadfast love endures forever.”

It is for this reason that the old men who had seen the temple before it was destroyed both wept and shouted for joy. They wept because they remembered the loss of joy in God’s presence, but they shouted because they remembered that God’s covenant doesn’t end with exile, but with steadfast love and redemption.

In Ezra 6 we see the building of the temple completed. The priests and the people are finally able to return to the worship and festivals to which God had called them. They could remember the Passover. They could remember how God redeemed the people out of Egypt. Now they could remember how God had redeemed the people out of Exile. And today we can remember how God has delivered us out of sin and death.

God is clearly moving even deeper into the fulfillment of the third part of the covenant. God is showing how He intends to redeem and restore a remnant of people for Himself. Even greater, God is preparing to show how He intends to bless all the families of the earth.