What if He Left?

In Ezekiel 10, Ezekiel is faced with a chilling vision. First, he sees the cherubim, or what we would consider angels. Now, when you read this chapter of Scripture, you realize quickly that our modern rendition of angels as human-like creatures with wings is not exactly the most accurate picture. These angels are terrifying to even imagine or conceive! It is no wonder that whenever one came face to face with these creatures in Scripture, they fell down in fear or as if they were in danger of judgement (Isaiah 6). But even greater than the vision of these heavenly creatures is the vision of which Ezekiel receives. Ezekiel witnesses God’s holy presence leave the temple (Ezekiel 10:18-22). God had forsaken his sanctuary. All throughout the Old Testament, God’s presence was an indication of favor (Deuteronomy 4:29, 31). But on the other side of this coin, his absence  was indicative of his rejection of his people due to their rejection of him (Deuteronomy 31:17-18). What is even more baffling of this vision is to think about this…the people of Israel, God’s chosen people, were still there, despite his presence withdrawing from them. They continued in their religious acts, making sacrifices, singing, praying, gathering, etc. It was business as usual, even though the God that they worshipped was gone!

 

Which leads me back to the question that is the title of this letter… “What if he left?” What a haunting question to even ponder! What if, on any given time that we gather together here at 1714 N Story Road, the Spirit of God withdrew his presence from us? Isn’t this a chilling thought to ponder?! What would change about our Sundays? Would your time in the Bible with your group on Sunday look any different? What about your prayers during our Group hour? What about the songs that we sing as we worship? What about the prayers we offer up to God during our gathering? What about the message we hear proclaimed on Sunday? Would any of these things be impacted? Or would things continue, business as usual? My prayer is that not only would our church be impacted, but that even further, our gathering would cease to exist!

 

Brothers and sisters, if we can continue on business as usual without the empowering presence of God, what does this say about our church? What does this say about our faith? The CSB Study Bible states about Ezekiel 10:19, “The ultimate privilege of faith is access to the presence of God.”[1] Every time we gather, we gather by the power of God, through the blood of Jesus, by the presence of God in our midst. This means what we do when we gather is a supernatural act of faith as God does what only he can, turn sinners who are from Him into a new creation, a chosen people bought by the blood of Jesus. Think of these things when we gather again and in the future. Our God is near to us brothers and sisters! Let our actions when we gather reflect this empowering presence!

 

[1] CSB Study Bible note on Ezekiel 10:19