February 12 I Tuesday
“Then the glory of the LORD departed from over the threshold of the temple and stopped above the cherubim. While I watched, the cherubim spread their wings and rose from the ground, and as they went, the wheels went with them.” —Ezekiel 10:18-19
There are many people who think God cannot look at sin, but the reality is that we often meet God in our sin. Is God to be found in the brothels of Calcutta? The answer is “Yes.” In the boardrooms of corporations corrupted by greed? “Yes.” In penitentiaries? “Yes.” In fact, Romans 5:20 says, “Where sin increased, grace increased all the more.”
God is in all places at all times. Though many people acknowledge this, they fail to tap into the imminence of God; that is, the immediate presence of God—that He is actually there, involved and accessible. Israel’s tendency was to reduce God to merely a tribal God. They saw Him as the God of Israel—period. They thought His presence was to be known in the temple of Jerusalem and that was it. This is what makes what happens in the opening verse such a tragedy for Israel. Ezekiel, a prophet during the time of Israel’s exile in Babylon, sees in a vision the glory of the LORD depart from the temple.
The Jews boasted they would be safe under the protection of God and would always have His presence. Psalm 132:13-14 says, “For the LORD has chosen Zion, He has desired it for His dwelling, saying, ‘This is my resting place for ever and ever.’” Because of this, the Israelites did not think God would leave them, and they felt at liberty to sin without restraint while still presuming the presence of God. But God’s presence in the temple was meant to be a picture, not a permanent dwelling.
The temple in Jerusalem foreshadows the dwelling of God in His people today. Paul says, “For we are the temple of the living God” (2 Corinthians 6:16). As Christians, we have been sealed by the Holy Spirit, and unlike the temple in Jerusalem, God will never leave us. But like the Israelites, many Christians live as though God were a “tribal” God, someone they believe in but fail to make an active participant in their lives. Consequently, there is no relationship or even thought given to the presence of God. They face temptation and trial but do not think to access the God right there with them and in them.
We can never be where God is not. No matter what twists and turns our lives have taken—whether in brothels, boardrooms or penitentiaries—God is continually at work in the hearts of people. The door to Him is always open, because God is wherever we are, and He is ready to receive us.
Prayer: I am grateful, Lord, that there is nowhere I can be out of your presence. You are always there, ready to forgive and bring me back to You. Thank You, God.