As the glory of the Lord entered the temple by the gate facing east, the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple. Ezekiel 43:4-5
No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 1 John 4:12
Do you know what it feels like to temporarily lose access to God? Are you familiar with the loss of not being able to find God today in the exact same place you found Him yesterday? Then you know something of the pain of the exiles to whom Ezekiel spoke.
I cannot even imagine a world where “the glory of the Lord” is geographical, i.e., in a particular place, such that it leaves that place and then returns to that place. To those of us living in the age of the church, that concept is rather foreign, because, for us, the Spirit of God quite literally resides in every believer. But we trust God’s Word to nonetheless have a word for us through this very vivid imagery of Ezekiel’s prophecy. What, then, is our contemporary take-away from Ezekiel’s visions about being “in” and “out” of the presence of the Lord? Surely, these visions speak about truths on multiple levels…one for the exiles in Babylon, one for us today, and yet another for those in the end times (to name a few).
For us today, if it is true that the Spirit of God resides in every believer (Col. 1:27; John 15:5; 1 John 4:12), then the easiest way to be “cut off” from God is to be “cut off” from the brother in whom He resides. Broken relationships, you see, are a contemporary version of living outside the presence of God. For us, then, experiencing the “return” of the presence of God is a simple function of reconciliation with our brother and living (again) in community with God’s people, even with all their flaws.
Ezekiel prophesied about a reconciliation between God and His people through the rebuilding of Jerusalem just some 50-odd years later. And he also spoke of an ultimate reconciliation between God and humanity in the end times. But, most importantly for us, Ezekiel’s prophecy here spoke of the pouring out of God’s Spirit on His people during our era, the age of the church. It speaks of the “glory of the Lord” being made manifest through every believer and through every reconciliation among believers.
Do you want to experience the “return” of the Spirit of God in your life? Reconcile with your brother…and rest in the Spirit of peace.