"Then in accordance with what is written, they celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles with the required number of burnt offerings prescribed for each day. After that, they presented the regular burnt offerings, the New Moon sacrifices and the sacrifices for all the appointed sacred feasts of the Lord, as well as those brought as freewill offerings to the Lord. On the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the Lord, though the foundation of the Lord's temple had not yet been laid." NIV translation
Even though they did not have a building yet, the people offered sacrifices and celebrated the feasts of the Lord. This was a picture of what was to come through Jesus Christ. He fulfilled all of these sacrifices on our behalf and gave us the meeting place of our hearts. Today, we often get caught up in a fancy building for a place of worship but, as we see here, it is not about the building.
"Then they gave money to the masons and carpenters, and gave food and drink and oil to the people of Sidon and Tyre, so that they would bring cedar logs by sea from Lebanon to Joppa, as authorized by Cyrus king of Persia." NIV translation
Not only did the people worship God through sacrifices burnt on the altar but also through giving. The money was then used to pay the skilled workers that would build the temple. Some was given to the carpenters and we are reminded that Jesus was a carpenter and, just as these carpenters rebuilt the temple, Jesus was building the temple in the hearts of men.
"In the second month of the second year after their arrival at the house of God in Jerusalem, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Jeshua son of Jozadak and the rest of their brothers (the priests and the Levites and all who had returned from the captivity to Jerusalem) began the work, appointing Levites twenty years of age and older to supervise the building of the house of the Lord. Jeshua and his sons and brothers and Kadmiel and his sons (descendants of Hodaviah) and the sons of Henadad and their sons and brothers - all Levites - joined together in supervising those working on the house of God." NIV translation
It is very interesting to note that God's people were supervisors in the building and not mere laborers or craftsmen. There are many today that act as if God does not use people that have not yet accepted Jesus Christ but, as we see here, that is not so. We do not know how many came to faith in God while building this temple but surely there were some. The same principle applies today; if we allow the lost to serve the Lord alongside us, they will hear about Jesus and some will believe and be saved.