The remodeling project
There is only one major remodeling period in the Bible. That is because there is only one house of God in the Bible, and it was only remodeled by the Jews once. Once the Israelites built the tabernacle of Moses, the worship of God became centralized. Before that, people built altars in various locations. After that, the Israelites were to bring their sacrifices to the tabernacle (Lev 17:1-10). God told Moses several times that He would choose a particular place in the promised land to place His name (Deut 12:5-21, Deut 14:23-24, Deut 16:2-11, Deut 26:2). It would be the place where they were to bring their sacrifices. For many years, the tabernacle resided in Shiloh (Josh 18:1, 1Sam 1:3 & 24, 1Sam 4:3-4). Then Solomon fulfilled the plan of David and built the temple in Jerusalem (2Sam 7, 1Chr 29, 1Ki 5-8). That temple was destroyed by the Babylonians because of the sins of Israel (2Ki 25). As Jeremiah predicted, the land sat desolate for 70 years (Jer 25:11-13, Jer 29:10, Dan 9:2). Then the Israelites began to return as prophesied by Moses (Lev 26, Deut 28), Jeremiah, and others. As Isaiah prophesied, Cyrus ordered the rebuilding of the temple (Is 44:28-45:1, 2Chr 36:22-23, Ezra 1). As Daniel prophesied, the wall of Jerusalem was rebuilt also (Dan 9:25, Neh). Later, there was additional work done to the wall, and Herod greatly remodeled and expanded the temple.
The temple project started first and then the wall project followed. We can read about the rebuilding of the temple in Ezra and Haggai and the rebuilding of the wall in Nehemiah. Although these were two separate projects, we see a distinctly similar pattern in both and they overlap historically. The leader gets a vision and burden for the need and seeks to go serve (Ezra 7, Neh 1). Then comes the order by the king for the leader to return to Jerusalem. This is followed by an evaluation and team building by the leader (Ezra 1-2, Neh 1-2). There is an initial burst of enthusiasm and work (Ezra 3, Neh 3). This is followed by opposition from their enemies and interference in the work through the government which resulted in discouragement in the workers (Ezra 4, Neh 4, Hag 1). The leaders and prophets responded with encouragement from the Lord and counter moves (Ezra 5, Hag 1-2, Neh 4-5). God helps the Israelites overcome the efforts of their enemies and continue the work (Ezra 6, Neh 6). The treasury is then refilled (Ezra 7-8, Neh 7). Then the leaders direct the people into a revival of holiness – separation from sin to God which included repenting of mixed marriages (Ezra 9-10, Neh 8-13).
We don’t see this pattern in the original construction of the tabernacle, the temple, and the wall. It is only in the remodeling. Is there a spiritual point to be taken from that? One thing we can learn is a clear pattern that has been replayed many times in many places in many projects whether large or small:
1. The vision of the need
2. The evaluation of what needs to be done
3. The forming of the team
4. The initial enthusiasm and productivity
5. Opposition causing difficulty, discouragement, and delay
6. Encouragement from leadership and counter moves
7. Overcoming the opposition and discouragement
8. Renewal of resources
9. Reconsecration to the purpose and completion of the project
10. Final success