Day 22: The Glory of God Returns

I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with His glory... and I fell face down... and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. 

Ezekiel 43, 2-4, NIV 


The significance of this passage is hard to overstate. It is a vision that God gave to Ezekiel of what was to come after the Israelites returned from a seventy year exile in Babylon. When that exile was over and they had repented of their sins and come back to God, then the glory of God would return to the temple and they would once again have the presence of God in their midst.


The books of the prophets are important to us today because they reveal a glimpse of God's Holy nature. Since God is holy, that is absolutely pure, nothing unholy or impure can come into His presence. When Israel had sinned to the point where He could take it no longer, He removed His holy presence from their midst. Their sins had separated them from their God.


But the message of the prophets does not end there. If it had, then Israel would be without hope, but God was not going to leave them without hope. God promised them that when they repented and returned to Him that He would then return to them. Why is this event that occurred over 2,700 years ago even important to us? It's because God gives us the same hope.


You see, we are told that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and that the wages of sin is death (Romans 3:23 & 6:23). But we are told in those same two passages that the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, and that we are justified freely by His grace. Romans 6:22 puts it this way: "Now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life."


In Acts 2, we read of the people when they finally realized that they really had put the Son of God to death asking this question: "What shall we do?" And in Acts 2:38, we read the reply: Repent and be baptized that your sins might be forgiven, and  they would then receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Now this gift of the Holy Spirit was not the type that allowed them to perform miraculous deeds (This was given in a different manner and was for a different purpose). Instead, this gift of the Holy Spirit was essentially the same thing that Israel was to experience when they repented and did the things required to become holy again: It was the glory of God among them!


And these people of the New Testament era (This includes us) were able to retain that holiness by living in God's way (walking in the light as He is in the light - I John 1:8-9).


In short, the message of the Gospel of Christ is the same as the message of the prophets: Sin separates, but God gives us a way to become holy again and, when we do, His presence (His glory) returns to us. And while this has been a very brief  study on the penalty of sin and the remedy to bring us back into fellowship with God, hopefully you see the message: When we sin we have a way to become holy and have God's presence with us again, for God longs to be with us!


And He proved it by sending His Son to die for our sins so that we could become Holy and remain in His presence forever. Do you... have the glory of God and Jesus within you? Better make sure!


Examine yourself to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you - unless, of course, you fail the test?

II Corinthians 13:5, NIV


Today is day 22 of the 30 day challenge to read through the books of the prophets of God, with Ezekiel 41-48 being the reading for today. May God richly bless you as you seek His holiness!