Today’s readings are from Ezekiel 43 and 1 John 2: 1-17. Some thoughts, and questions, on the Ezekiel text.
What an amazing scene is painted in these first verses in Ezekiel. Imagine actually seeing the glory of God and hearing the glory of his voice as he approached. No wonder Ezekiel fell face down!
After reading and re-reading this passage, I have more questions than answers.
The glory of the Lord is returning to this temple, a physical building. He promised to fix his residence if his people repented and turned away from their own sins. His people had built their own walls which had divided them from God. Verse 8 When they placed their threshold next to my threshold and their doorposts beside my doorposts, with only a wall between me and them, they defiled my holy name by their detestable practices.
Is that us too? In our self-centred “me” society today it is easy for us to build our own walls which can separate us from God. I can’t help but think about the current changes to our laws which are “helping” us to be more “tolerant” and “progressive.” I’ll let you decide whether they are beneficial or not.
The specific instructions for the construction of the altar are interesting to read too. The measurements were so exact and the subsequent rules for the use of the altar by the priests were concise. Was God using this to demonstrate to his people what being “holy” looked like? It is great to have such a beautiful building in which to worship, but unless people’s hearts are humbled, God won’t be exalted or revered. It is impossible to please God by building beautiful buildings or using buildings in specific ways or learning how to be holy. Psalm 127:1a Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
God can send his glory to fill any space, temple, church or an empty building and only with the help of his Holy Spirit can we fully worship and revere him.
Or, is all of this text referring to Jesus? The Messiah was to come to rule as King and establish his temple. Is this the temple which will be established in the future? Verse 10 ‘Son of man, describe the temple to the people of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their sins. Let them consider its perfection, 11 and if they are ashamed of all they have done, make known to them the design of the temple – its arrangement, its exits and entrances – its whole design and all its regulations and laws. Write these down before them so that they may be faithful to its design and follow all its regulation.
We know that when Jesus came, people saw God’s glory in him. John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
We know of Jesus’ perfection, his love and grace and feel humbled, and ashamed. May the Holy Spirit convict us of our wrongdoings and guide us in our thoughts and actions. May we not build walls, personal or communal, which place a barrier between us and God. We don’t have to go to a particular building or place to worship and revere our Lord and Saviour.
John 4:23-24 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.
Iris, Rob, Evelyn and Wayne