Ezra, who was sent to teach the scriptures to the exiles, spent his first stint in Jerusalem, separating families to purify the people rather than letting God deal with His people.
When God guides our paths, all the arrangements are made for us. Ezra did not have to worry about the finances for his trip or the funds for the temple sacrifices and ornaments or even to gather his troops, everything was prepared by God.
Fifteen years after the work on the temple had been halted due to numerous oppositions that the exiles faced, God sent his word to the people of Israel. First through the prophet Haggai (Haggai 1) and then two months later through the prophet Zechariah (Zechariah 1), God spoke to the people commanding them to restart the work on the temple.
While the returning exiles continued work on the temple, the natives took notice of their new neighbors’ plans and offered help to Zerubbabel and Co.
…something was missing as in the midst of the shouts of joy, there was mixed, the sound of weeping also. No one could distinguish between who were shouting with joy or who were crying, overcome by their sorrow. God’s presence was missing which could only be felt by the older generation, the ones who had witnessed the glory of the previous temple before their land was conquered.
The intentions of the returning exiles were noble, leaving everything behind to rebuild the city of Jerusalem but as we will see in the following chapters, they did little to rebuild their broken relationship with God.