DayBreaks for 8/12/15: When His Glory Departs
From the DayBreaks archive, 2005:
In Ezekiel chapters 8 through 10, a tragic story and scene unfolds around the temple. The temple had been built by Solomon and on the day that the temple was dedicated, God’s glory came to rest in the temple. As far as God and the Jews were concerned, it was His literal dwelling place on earth, from where He ruled over His creation and especially His people. The tragedy comes in these chapters as His people have rejected Him in the hardness of their hearts and have worshiped idols made with hands. And so, in Ezekiel’s vision, the visible glory of God departs from the temple. Can you imagine what that must have been like for Ezekiel to witness – to see and know that the great God who had led them from the time of Abraham was withdrawing His Presence? But it was more than just His Presence, it was His favor, His protection and His provision for them. They were abandoned.
But, the worst part is that when the glory of God left the temple, instead of repenting and turning back to God, the sinfulness of the people of God increased. Perhaps that shouldn’t surprise us, but it bothers me greatly. I would have hoped that if I’d witnessed Him departing, that I would have fallen on my face and pleaded with Him to return, promising that I’d mend my broken ways and go back to my first Love. But, I probably wouldn’t have, after all.
Here’s the catch: as long as we feel or believe God’s Presence is near and real, we are restrained, at least to some extent, from doing all the evil of which we are capable. This is how it works: when God is not perceived to be among us any longer, and when I’ve come to think of God in terms that really only apply to mankind rather than the all-powerful and holy Divine Being, when His glory in my mind and heart (since that is now the temple of the Holy Spirit) grows less, my sense of sin and its seriousness is lowered. And since we don’t feel that sensitivity to our sin if we think God is removed from us, we sin more. May God have mercy on us for our weakness and presumption of His grace!
For ancient Israel, “Out of sight, out of mind” was a truism. We are no different. When we lose sight of His Presence, or even of the greatness of the Mighty One, we begin to slip into our sinful natures. Perhaps this is part of the reason that we’re told to “set your minds of Christ Jesus”. When our minds are on him, we’re less likely to cheapen his sacrifice for us by thinking that sin isn’t such a big deal.
Ezek. 10:18-19 – Then the glory of the LORD departed from over the threshold of the temple and stopped above the cherubim. 19 While I watched, the cherubim spread their wings and rose from the ground, and as they went, the wheels went with them. They stopped at the entrance to the east gate of the LORD’s house, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them.
PRAYER: May your glory always be before our eyes that we may be aware of your Presence and turn from our sin! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.
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