At the moment of judgment, Ezekiel is shown again the vision of God’s throne-chariot which he saw by the Chebar canal. This time, however, God is leaving his temple, abandoning it in its idolatry and sin. God’s departure from his temple and from Jerusalem happens in stages. First, he moves from the Most Holy Place to the threshold of the sanctuary (10:3–5). Then he moves out to the east gate of the temple complex (10:18–19). Finally, the glory of the Lord departs from the city and goes out to the mountain on the east side of the city (11:22–23).
The departure of God’s glory from the temple is a heartrending vision. This is the glory of God that led the nation from slavery in Egypt, remained with them in their wilderness wanderings, and settled among them in the tabernacle and temple to declare God’s covenant faithfulness and abiding care for his people. Even here in the account of the glory’s departure, however, God’s love for his people is evident. The departure does not happen quickly. At each stage—at the threshold of the sanctuary, at the east gate, even on the mountain outside the city—God lingers before he moves further away, giving his people every opportunity to repent. Indeed, he is a God of great mercy, slow to anger and abounding in love!
Most strikingly, it is at the last moment that God answers Ezekiel’s wrenching question in 11:13, “Ah, Lord GOD! Will you make a full end of the remnant of Israel?” The answer is no! In the first of many notes of grace sounded amid national moral catastrophe, God tells his people in 11:14–21 that he would not leave them in exile forever. There would come a day when he would gather them together again in their land, remove their hearts of stone, give them hearts of flesh, and give them a new spirit that would delight to obey him (cf. 36:22–32). From the inside out, God would renew his people. They would be wholly cleansed. Sin may abound, and judgment because of sin, but grace abounds all the more!”
All this would happen ultimately through the saving work of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. In Christ the new covenant is fulfilled. The long-awaited kingdom of God is inaugurated (Mark 1:15). In the coming of the Holy Spirit, the hearts of God’s people are transformed from the inside out, and Ezekiel’s prophecy is fulfilled (John 16:13; 2 Cor. 3:3–6).
Have you experienced the regeneration of your heart by the power of the gospel and through the work of the Spirit? Lord, we pray that you will fulfil your promise of removing the heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh, so that we will be people who delight to obey you!
*Excerpt from ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.
This Week’s Bible Reading Schedule:
|Monday: Ezekiel 16||☐||Thursday: Ezekiel 19||☐|
|Tuesday: Ezekiel 17||☐||Friday: Ezekiel 20||☐|
|Wednesday: Ezekiel 18||☐||Saturday: Ezekiel 21||☐|