First Things First

Verlyn Verbrugge

READ : Ezra 3:1-6

Then [Jeshua and Zerubbabel] . . . built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the Law of Moses the man of God. They set the altar in its place. (vv. 2-3)

When the returning exiles arrived at the province of Yehud (Judah), they each located the towns that had been their ancestral homes, and each family found a place to live. Their next order of business, before anything else, was to assemble in Jerusalem and to build the altar of the Lord—undoubtedly on the very spot where it had stood before Nebuchadnezzar destroyed and burned the temple.

Jeshua the high priest and Zerubbabel the governor had their priorities straight. Before the people planted their fields or set up their businesses, it was important to begin a pattern of worshipping the Lord in the place he had chosen—the city of Jerusalem. They resumed the morning and evening sacrifices and all the other monthly and annual festivals. The Lord was first in their lives.

First things first! Worship of the Lord our God must take a priority in our lives. We owe everything to God—our homes, our families, our jobs, our possessions—and we should acknowledge that daily in prayer to God and weekly by gathering together to worship him and praise his holy name. Is worship at the top of your list, or is it an afterthought?

PRAYER

Lord God, I praise you as I begin this day. May my life today be a living sacrifice to you. Amen.