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God's Glory Departs (Ezekiel 10)


By Benjamin H. Liles

          Then I looked, and behold, in the expanse that was over the heads of the cherubim something like a sapphire stone, in appearance resembling a throne, appeared above them...As for the likeness of their faces, they were the same faces whose appearance I had seen by the river Chebar. Each one went straight ahead. ~ Ezekiel 10:1-22, New American Standard


          Ezekiel saw and heard that the Spirit of God was going to leave the city of Jerusalem. First by leaving the Temple, passing through its threshold, to show He had been defiled and that the people no longer desired Him. In verses 18 and 19 of Ezekiel 10 we see the glory of the Lord departing from the temple. And this is significant as God's glory didn't return until the person of Jesus Christ, God's Son. So, for 560 years God was silent in the land of Israel. Even though the exiles were able to return under both King Darius and Cyrus to rebuild Jerusalem and it's Temple, God's glory never returned.

          On the whole what we see from chapters four through ten is that God is glorious and sovereign. We also see the depth of human sinfulness. There is also a certainty, nature, and purpose of God's judgment on sin. God cannot stand to see the condition of man's sinful heart and ways against Him. It's not that He doesn't love us, it's that while we claim we desire Him, the truth is we don't care enough for Him to be our Father, Lord, and King. He has the right to rule over us, it's just we tell Him, "No, thanks. I want my own way."

          There is also the nature of His covenantal relationship with His people of Israel. He doesn't just desire a relationship with His people of Israel but also with the nations. It's why Jesus Christ taught the disciples to go from Jerusalem to Judah, then to Samaria and the ends of the known world. From Paul's trips to Rome (he desired to get to Spain), to Thomas's trips to India (we don't fully know what happened to Thomas), the apostles took Christ's call seriously in evangelizing the Gentile nations as best as possible for His name's sake.

          What it means is that in the end those who do realize their need for a Savior they find it in the person, and Son of God, Jesus Christ. He came not just to redeem the people from their burdens. If we take a good listen Jesus said, "Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28, Holman Christian Standard). Isaiah and Jeremiah said it first by the Spirit of God, "'Here is rest, give rest to the weary, Here is repose,' but [the people] would not listen. For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes'" (Isaiah 28:12; Jeremiah 31:25).

          Every single one of us is the Prodigal Son God desires to see coming home to Him. Yet, it is up to us to wake up and realize, "Hey, I can eat better than these ordinary pigs if I just go home, beg for forgiveness and ask to be treated like a servant" (see Luke 15:21). I know I have been there and since I have come home to Him, I have felt a duty, an obligation rather to be obedient to the call He placed on my heart. I do this in faith as I changed my heart since His Spirit called to me to come home. I have traded my sorrow and sins for the righteousness and mercy God offers through His Son, Jesus Christ.

          And that's the big thing. We're told over and over in scripture, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble" (see Psalm 138:6; Proverbs 3:34; Proverbs 29:23; Matthew 23:12; Luke 1:52; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5). None of us is ever too far gone. His desire is for us. All we need is to accept His free gift of grace through the shed blood of Christ. At the same time we need to see He gave His life for us. Not one of us is so far gone that He can't forgive us. He cannot and will not forgive us if we deny Jesus Christ to live in our life, and that His power can ultimately save us. That's what hinders us from a relationship with Jesus Christ and ultimately with God the Father. I pray this blesses and encourages you to live a life in Christ and in faith. Amen.