Day 15

God’s Presence Leaves the Temple

from the The Presence of God reading plan

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).

Post Comments (32)

32 thoughts on "God’s Presence Leaves the Temple"

  1. Heather Noble says:

    Thank you God for seeing me as your child through Jesus Christ! I need not stay afixed on my transgressions, but repent and keep stepping into the life You have called me to live. Praise God! I am forgiven!

    1. Annie Bartley says:

      I love this!

  2. Makenzie Benish says:

    I pray that I can be more aware of Gods presence and what a gift that is!

  3. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I’m so thankful that God will never leave is or forsake us. I pray that I can be more aware of his presence but also knowing that just because I don’t feel him, doesn’t mean he isn’t there.

  4. Pam Williams says:

    Please pray for our lifelong friends in Oregon, Peggy and Dale, who at age 74 have lost everything and the Oregon fires. Their face is certainly on display. What the enemy meant for evil, God has meant for their good and His glory. Peggy has remarked that God is so good and she wonders what the next adventure will be. Their testimony is powerful.

    1. Laurie Crary says:

      Powerful testimony indeed.

  5. Maura says:

    This scripture shows us we can not have God’s presence without the saving grace of the Lamb of God, Jesus. I am forgiven because Jesus was taken to the cross, beaten and nailed to the wood. This morning in the devotional, it struck me Jesus was 33 years on this earth, just a little older than my daughter, and yet he was in the beginning and is without end. My heart felt for Mary watching her son, the promised one being being crucified. I can’t imagine, and yet I wonder, if somehow she knew, even as Jesus told John to behold his mother. If somehow in her heart God let her know His plan and gave her His unfathomable peace. This is unknown, except by all the ways we see the love our God gives. He is so good. I look forward to revelation from our Lord. Blessings on your Monday Sisters, sing His song of grace and joy.

  6. Lady Carolina says:

    Wow-what a wake up call! & reminder to focus on what God has already done through Jesus and that in itself calls us to obedience as we remember his sacrifice for us.

  7. Sara Musgrove says:

    I’ll be honest, these passages are really hard for me to read. I struggle with a pressure to be “good enough” and tend to lean more to law over grace. I have a hard time reconciling the God of the OT who says things like “obey me, and then I will be your God” with the Jesus of the NT who says he knows we’ll never be good enough so he has done it for us so we can be in God’s presence. I know the OT is valuable in demonstrating the sinful condition of our hearts and therefore magnifying God’s goodness and grace through the cross, but where does that leave everyone who lived before the cross? And what really is expected of us today in order for God to remain our God? I’m so thankful I live in this side of the cross, but the whole story is hard for me to reconcile. Just something I’ve been struggling with lately and the last week of readings has brought back up. Hanging in there for when we get to the NT!

    1. Suzie McRae says:


      I wonder the same thing about people who lived “before the cross”

    2. Leisa Larson says:

      I completely understand what you mean, Sara. I used to struggle with the same thing! One thing that I remember is that there was always a remnant-a group of faithful followers who were seeking the LORD. They knew they were looking forward to His Salvation, through sacrifice, just as we look back to the perfect sacrifice of Jesus. God’s provision for them in the midst of judgment and through judgment is so beautiful.

      I would encourage you to engage in a study of an Old Testament book. I have come to love the way God’s Word fits together. Understanding the Old Testament will make the New Testament so much richer. For example, in today’s passage, the act of taking the burning coals. There’s redemptive power in the coals. And studying that will bring greater understanding to the times we see coals in the NT.
      I hope this is helpful to you in living the entirety of God’s Word!

    3. Christina Fowlkes says:

      The Old Testament is so full of God’s love, patience, and mercy. I get so frustrated with the Israelites as I see God perform these miracles right in front of their eyes, from literally going to war for them to dwelling with and showing them He was there time after time, only for them to turn around and disobey in the worst ways! Yet at the slightest sign of repentance God would forgive and restore over and over again, all the while setting in motion His plan for our ultimate reconciliation with Him. It’s when we realize we’re the Israelites, that we don’t always obey , that we put other things before God in our lives sometimes despite the miracles He has done for us personally, yet He forgives us and restores us every time we repent that the beauty of the Old Testament really shines. His character and nature are revealed so fully and Jesus Himself shows up several times in the OT which is amazing!

    4. Gencina Vitoulis says:

      One thing that stands out to me is how much God loves us and desires our hearts. His love for us makes Him vulnerable to be hurt by us. When Israel went against Him by worshipping false gods it not only broke His heart because they chose another god over Him, but He knew His holiness would cause the separation between Him and His people. God’s desire was for us to be with Him and the temporary fix that was in place was the law. Then Jesus came and made a way for us to have true cleansing from sin and fellowship with God. So many times God urged the people of Israel to love Him with all theirs hearts, body, and mind. He knew that if they did not love Him in this way then there adoration and love would be for another. I hope this helps settle your mind and heart a bit while you continue to work these things out. ❤️

    5. LuAnn Fischer says:

      I agree it’s so hard to think it through! My brain just can’t imagine it’s the same God in the old Testament and the New! But it is, I must read scripture through the grid of God’s love for us. The best explanation I’ve heard, one that makes the most senses to me is just as I’m saved by believing Jesus DID come, the old testament believers were saved by believing that he WOULD come. That just makes so much sense to me! I’m so grateful for a place we can wrestle these things out together. Blessings!

    6. Laurie O’Brien says:

      Read Hebrews 11! Yes, in the Old Testament God gabe the law. But it was still about faith. Just like the New Testament, the entire Old Testament is about Jesus

      1. Laurie O’Brien says:

        The Old Testament is full of God’s mercy and grace, from the clothes he made for Adam and Eve and the promise of a Savior, to instructing Noah about how to make an ark, to the manna and quail in the wilderness, to a promised land, to chance after chance after chance to return to him. Just as people of the Old Testament turned their backs on God, people today do the same. The Israelites had a promise and hope of a Messiah and we are blessed to be on the other side of the cross, looking back. It doesn’t make us less sinners than those who came before. I actually am in awe of the Old Testament faith that looked forward in hope. And God reckoned their faith as righteousness. That faith didn’t make them sinless – David committed adultery, Abraham pretended his wife was his sister, Moses was angry and impatient. The list of OT sinners is our hope – these giants of faith were not perfect and the people they led were not either. But they had faith in something that hadn’t even happened yet. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
        God gave the law to show our sinfulness, to show us we can’t possibly do it all perfectly, thus showing us our need for a Savior. The Israelites of the Old Testament looked forward, in faith, to that Savior. And God reckoned that faith to them as righteousness. The Old Testament is all about Jesus. It is a testament to God’s faithfulness.

    7. Margaret Lindsey says:

      Romans 4 says that Abraham’s faith was counted as righteousness. He was not saved by his works. So I think the OT saints were saved by faith in what God would provide, whereas NT saints are saved by faith in what has been provided by God. Even the curse in Gen 3 has a promise of a savior. Hope that helps.

      1. Claire B says:

        Very well said

  8. Nancy Singleton says:

    I remember hearing long ago-if you can’t feel God’s presence, it’s you who’s moved. I’m so thankful that He’s given us the Holy Spirit, to live inside & help to guide us.

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