God’s Glory Leaves the Temple
Open Your Bible
Ezekiel 10:1-22, Ezekiel 11:1-13, Exodus 40:34-35, 1 Kings 8:3-11
BY Oghosa Iyamu
It was his contagious smile, his warmth, his energy, his love for life, and his love for God that won my sister’s heart a million times over.
Cheron McNeil Boyd was his name, and there was a winsome glory about him that was not really about him but about the God who lived within him. The day Cheron went to be with the Lord, there wasn’t a dry eye in sight. Family members, friends, coworkers, and neighbors all wept copiously, united in the intense sadness and sobering reality of my brother-in-law’s departure. Though his body was present that day, the glory that had distinguished him and made him so affectionately magnetic, had departed. The only hope left to hold on to was memories shared with Cheron and the promise of a future glory to come.
The sobering reality of loss and departure is where we find ourselves in Ezekiel 10. Ezekiel sees a vision similar to the one he saw in chapter 1, but this time there’s a significant difference. God’s kabowd—His manifest glory—is not dwelling but departing, step by step making its way to the temple exit, by way of a familiar cloud. In Exodus, this cloud served as God’s manifest presence by which He led His people by day and as a pillar of fire by night (Exodus 40:34–38). In Ezekiel 10, we see punishment coming by fire and God’s glory leaving the temple by cloud.
Pause to take in this moment in today’s reading:
“Then the glory of the LORD moved away from the threshold of the temple…” (Ezekiel 10:18).
It can be easy to breeze past the significance of this verse, but I pray we don’t miss the grave warning God communicates here: sin hinders our ability to truly behold God’s glory. Always. It was true for these Israelites then and it’s true for you and me now.
As we consider this truth, my encouragement for us today, during this Lenten season, is to ask ourselves what sins (pride, jealousy, anger, bitterness, materialism, comparison) have been hindering us from truly beholding God’s glory.
Though God’s glory departed (Ezekiel 10:18), His promises did not. A greater glory and temple came in the fullness of Jesus Christ to dwell among God’s people, just as it was prophesied. And though we eagerly await Christ’s final return, today, God’s glory continues to dwell in His temple—His body, the Church. That’s you and me—believers, imperfect yet indwelt with God’s Spirit!
And one day, we will perfectly dwell with God—unhindered, undisturbed, unmoved by sin but propelled by His glorious presence, surrounded by a multitude of believers. And I’m confident that amongst the multitude I will see Cheron again—healed, restored, and radiant with the glory of His creator.