“Then the glory of the Lord went out from the threshold of the house and stood over the cherubim.”
Did you hear that phrase? It’s one of the most significant phrases in the book of Ezekiel, really, when you think about it in all of the Old Testament, in the story of the Old Testament. Ezekiel 10:18 says, “The glory of the Lord went out from the threshold of the house.” This is talking about the temple, the place in the Old Testament that God had set up among his people for his glory to dwell among them, his presence to dwell among them.
God’s presence will never leave us. Because of Jesus, we can commune with God at any moment.
Obviously, we know God is omnipresent. He is present everywhere, but the tabernacle first and then the temple in the Old Testament was a place designed, orchestrated by God to be a display of his glory in the middle of his people. The promise of his presence in the middle of his people. And what Ezekiel is envisioning here is the glory of the Lord leaving the temple, vacating the temple. God’s presence, God’s glory no longer among his people in this way because of their sin, and their idolatry, and God giving them over to themselves and removing his glory, his presence from among them. This is quite a picture in the Old Testament. And when we get into the pages of the New Testament, we just start to realize the seriousness of this verse and the wonder of this verse in a whole new way, in light of what we read in the New Testament.
Think about how the New Testament opens. Think John, specifically. The gospel of John chapter one talks about Jesus as the word of God made flesh. And the language that’s used there is God tabernacling among us. Basically, and we see this in John chapter two, Jesus is the temple coming to us. He is the glory of God in the flesh who’s come to us to save us from our sins. This is the mammoth reality of the New Testament, of all of Christianity, that God has not left us alone in our sin, that God has come to us in the person of Jesus. In Jesus, we behold the glory of God in the flesh. And Jesus has lived a perfect life. He has died on a cross for our sins. And when he died, you remember what happened, gospel writers tell us the curtain of the temple was torn in two. The way was opened for you and I to come into the presence of God, to behold the glory of God, to know God despite our sin, to be forgiven of our sin through faith in Jesus, to have access to God.
And then what does Jesus say before he ascends into heaven? After rising from the dead, he gathers together with his disciples. He gives them that commission, “Go, make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I’ve commanded you. And behold, I am…” What? “I am with you always to the end of the age.” So you keep going in the New Testament and you see that promise fulfilled and the Holy Spirit coming to live in all who trust in Jesus. And the Holy Spirit, Ephesians chapter one, is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance. In other words, for all who trust in Jesus, who know God, who are filled with the Holy Spirit, you don’t ever have to worry about Jesus not being with you, of God vacating your life. You are his forever. Oh, there’s so much we could talk about here, but let’s pray.
God, we, in light of Ezekiel 10:18, say together in prayer right now: Our greatest need is your presence with us and for us. God, this is our greatest need. We can do nothing without you. We are hopeless without you and we praise you. We praise and exalt you, Jesus, for coming to this world, for revealing the glory of God in the flesh perfectly. We praise you as the perfect revelation of God, the image of the invisible God, Colossians 1 says. And we praise you for dying on the cross for our sins, you God in the flesh, paying the price for our sins against you.
We praise you for your grace, and your mercy, and your love for us, for making this privilege possible, that we could experience communion with you right now and that we’re talking to you, that you’re listening to us. And we get to experience this any time. Thank you, oh God. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for the privilege of communion with you, knowledge of you, for the privilege of beholding your glory in your word every day, your Spirit in us. Oh God, we praise you.
Oh God, we say then, we want to know your glory more. We want to experience the fullness of your presence. We want your Spirit to lead us in every way, in everything we do, your Spirit in us, guiding us, directing us, empowering us, leading us. May that be the story of our lives, the glory of the Lord in us, the presence of the God of the universe in us transforming our lives more and more every day, directing us, leading us, guiding us for the spread of your glory in the world. Yes. Help us to make disciples of the nations by the power of your presence with us. Help us to lead people to Jesus here, among unreached people groups around the world, however you desire. Lead us supernaturally by your Spirit as we enjoy your glory, your presence, your Spirit in us. God, all of these things, even as I pray them, they are too good to be true in one sense, but we praise you they’re true based on your word. And so we pray all these things according to your word, in Jesus’ name. Amen.