Then the glory of the LORD went out from the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubim. - Ezekiel 10:18

The LORD chose to make His presence known in a special way in Israel’s temple during the old covenant period. Over time, Israel moved from astonishment that God’s glory could dwell in the temple to an assumption that he could never leave it. The prophets warned them that if they did not remain faithful to the covenant, God would remove his presence from among them. But they reasoned that since God would not leave the temple there was no real threat of danger, so they paid little attention to the prophets like Ezekiel, who warned them to repent of their sin.

God granted a vision to Ezekiel to remind Israel that the LORD could not be limited to one special place. He could and would leave that sacred space if they continued to profane it with their idolatry. The vision showed that the LORD was leaving the place where His people normally met with Him, opening up Jerusalem to the invasion of its enemies. Because of their sin, Israel would be put into exile, thrown out of their Promised Land. God’s glory left the temple, and it was destroyed. But we know that is not the end of the story.

His special presence was not bound to the temple, which means he was able to go with the faithful into exile and protect them while they were in foreign lands. Because of Jesus, who came for us and for our salvation, we have the full assurance that he will never utterly withdraw his presence from his true children.

Song: As With Gladness, Men of Old