Tuesday 24 January 2012

Route 66 Through The Year: Ezekiel 8:1-18

Spring Harvest’s ‘Route 66 Through the Year’ is designed to take readers on a tour through each of the 66 books of the Bible over the course of a year, with each day’s reading featuring a short passage and comment written by a variety of Spring Harvest speakers.

I have contributed notes for this week on Ezekiel, looking today at 8:1-18.

Read: Ezekiel 8:1-18

Chapters 4-24 of Ezekiel are dominated by warnings of judgment against the people of God. At the heart of this section is the vision in Ezekiel 8-11 which records the glory of God – the indication of his special presence – leaving the Jerusalem temple.

Chapter 8 shows God offended by the sinful actions of his people. Ezekiel is taken on a tour through the temple, where he sees that the sanctuary is itself corrupted, that idolatry has led to immorality and injustice in the land.

Painful though it might be, Ezekiel reminds us of the seriousness of sin. Our preciousness to God and the strength of his commitment to us mean he does not merely feel mildly insulted when we fail to honour him; he feels the strength of passion of a wounded lover, a victim of adultery.

So it is that chapter 9 goes on to describe how judgment is brought on Jerusalem and the people of God (though a remnant is spared), while chapters 10-11 record the departure of God’s glory from the temple and the city.

Even while the city is judged, however, God promises that he himself will be a ‘sanctuary’ for the people in exile (11:16). What’s more, he will bring his people back to himself (11:17-21), revolutionising their inner desires and restoring them to a life of service and worship.

Thank you, Lord, for your mercy in judgment.

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