Reading through the Bible together

Monday, July 7, 2014

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This is a chapter of movement, but unlike chapter 8 where Ezekiel is transported from locations in Jerusalem and the Temple, this movement is of God’s glory.  God’s glory moves from the Most Holy place, to the east gate of the Temple and then the glory of God leaves the city altogether.  Without God’s glory present, Jerusalem is doomed.  It seems more than coincidence that Judah had given up God for idols and now God appears to give up Judah to her empty hope offered by her idols.  God had been in their presence in the Most Holy place for centuries, but now He’s gone because the people were disobedient. 

How would you respond to finding out that God had decided, because of your rebellion and idolatry, to vacate your place of worship?  How would you feel if you discovered that despite your hymns and prayers on Sabbath morning, God wasn’t in your church?  I would like to think that I would humble myself and that I and all of the leaders of the church would throw ourselves upon God’s mercy.  We will see in chapter 11 that Judah did not respond with humility to God’s glory leaving the Temple.

However, despite God leaving,  Judah’s leaders were not humble before the Lord, Ezekiel describes the movement of God’s glory in terms to indicate that God is not recklessly abandoning them. As His glory and the cherubim move, at each location there is a pause in the movement.  Their movement can be described as haltingly, or hesitatingly. 

My family loves to visit with other families where the adults spend hours in conversation and the children play.  But, when the time comes to leave for home, it takes almost just as long.  We begin our goodbyes in the living room and pause in the hallway and then pause again in the foyer.  We go and stop and go again multiple times because we don’t really want to leave.

God moved away from Jerusalem reluctantly because He didn’t want to leave them without giving Judah multiple opportunities to call out, “Lord, please don’t go.  We don’t want You to leave.  Can You stay longer?”  God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  He’s longing to hear His children today call out to Him and plead for His presence.  Praise our God forever.

Dr. Eric Bates, Senior Pastor
Arden Seventh-day Adventist Church
Carolina Conference