August 29 (Daily reading: Ezekiel 9-12, NKJV) To appreciate the lesson of today’s reading, we need to go back to when Solomon dedicated the temple. When the musicians played the cymbals, stringed instruments, harps, and trumpets, and the singers sang, “For He is good, for His mercy endures forever,” at that moment, “the house of the Lord was filled with a cloud…for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God” (2 Ch. 5:13-14). Ezekiel wrote concerning God’s devastating judgment on Jerusalem: “Then the glory of the LORD departed from the threshold of the temple” (10:18). Also, “And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city and stood on the mountain” (11:23). Jerusalem and the temple were abandoned for judgment when God’s glory left the temple. Ezekiel acted out the consequences of this reality by leaving his home through a hole in the wall, taking with him only a few possessions.
The conclusion of today’s lesson is inspired by an article written by the editors of “The Personal Growth Study Bible,” (page 1062. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1996). The people who lived in Jerusalem probably felt secure because God’s temple was in their city. But Ezekiel described God’s withdrawal from the temple because of the sins of Jerusalem. The temple was impressive but, without God’s presence and glory, it was just a building. God was looking for those who understood what the temple represented, for those “who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst” (Ezek. 9:4).
In our day, some people look for security through faithfulness in church attendance. The church building where we worship God, like the temple, is representative of God’s presence in our lives and our commitment to Him. We must never settle for “religion.” God seeks a relationship with us through our belief in the Lord Jesus Christ and our daily decision to follow Him!
– Al Gary