The Return of the Lord’s Glory
Open Your Bible
Ezekiel 41:5-26, Ezekiel 42:1-20, Ezekiel 43:1-12, 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, Ephesians 2:19-22
Ezekiel shows a God who wants to be near to His people, but will not compromise His character, even for the ones He so dearly loves. The goal of God’s judgment wasn’t to banish His people from the land forever. It was to show the people their sins, and in doing so to motivate them to return to keeping the covenant that they had with the Lord. In this last section of Ezekiel, we get a marvelous picture of God’s glorious return to His temple and to His people.
His voice sounded like the roar of a huge torrent, and the earth shone with his glory.
What a joy for Ezekiel to see and hear the signs of God’s return instead of the previous visions that showed God’s presence departing the temple and from the city of Jerusalem. Now, in today’s reading, God returns to the temple, where His presence will remain. And He calls for His people to return to Him, promising the nearness of His presence in His temple (Ezekiel 43:9).
In his letters to various churches, Paul reveals something new about the temple, something new about God’s people. We are His temple; His Spirit lives in us (1Corinthians 3:16). Let that sink in for a minute. For centuries, the temple was the chosen meeting place for God and His people. It was the sacred space that housed God’s presence. But because of Jesus, we no longer must go to a temple or any other physical location in order to approach God. We are that sacred space, marked by His presence.
Just as the earth shone with God’s glory in Ezekiel’s vision, we have the opportunity to shine with God’s glory—for our lives to reflect His holy character (v.17). The temple was beautiful, a sight to behold. We are also beautiful, but in a different way. As God’s redeemed people, our story is marked by grace and forgiveness and redemption.
We are not as perfect or as smooth or as finely chiseled as the stones that made up the temple. But what a wonder we are—broken and flawed people whom God has made beautiful by His grace. We “are no longer foreigners and strangers” (Ephesians 2:19). We now belong to God’s spiritual household. And as His living temple, we continue to grow together through the Spirit in beautiful ways—in the beauty of holiness (v.20).