God’s Presence Leaves the Temple
Open Your Bible
Jeremiah 7:1-15, Jeremiah 7:21-31, 2 Chronicles 7:19-21, Ezekiel 10:1-22, Haggai 2:6-9
BY Erin Davis
When God’s people turned away from Him, He removed His presence from the temple.
Though the pages of Scripture contain many tragedies, the ones that stop my heart involve the loss of God’s presence. I think of Mary, who carried her Savior inside her womb, who studied the curve of His profile daily, who watched Him as He performed miracles. Then I try to imagine her at the foot of the cross. How could she find the strength to keep breathing when she pictured a future without Him near?
I think of the disciples, who’d physically walked and talked with Jesus, and then had to wrap their minds around the fact that His body now lay lifeless in a tomb, shrouded in darkness. After they’d journeyed beside Jesus, how could they take a single step without Him?
And I think of the Israelites, who experienced God’s presence as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21), then stared with wide-eyed wonder as His glory filled the temple (1Kings 8:11).
Imagine the gut punch of hearing God’s righteous judgment on the sins of His people: “Has this house, which bears my name, become a den of robbers in your view? Yes, I have seen it too” (Jeremiah 7:11).
I want to hold my breath as He declares: “I will banish you from my presence” (Jeremiah 7:15).
My heart aches when I read: “I will uproot Israel from the soil that I gave them, and this temple that I have sanctified for my name I will banish from my presence” (2Chronicles 7:20).
As I read these passages describing the loss of God’s presence, David’s prayer reflexively bubbles up: “Do not banish me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me” (Psalm 51:11).
When panic about the loss of God’s presence makes our palms start to sweat, we need only to open our Bibles again. God doesn’t give and take His presence away willy nilly. True, because God is holy, our sin and God’s presence cannot co-exist. But let’s pause and remember the miracle of the cross: Because Christ’s death, we are welcomed into God’s presence wearing His righteousness—not our own failed attempts to achieve it.
Consider God’s presence with renewed wonder today, friend. Thank Jesus again that He has made a way for you to be near Him. If you are a follower of Christ, you need not waste a single nanosecond worrying that you will be forced to live outside His presence again. Look no further than the gospel; because of Jesus, we can now experience the joy and eternal pleasures in our Creator God’s presence (Psalm 16:11).