The presence of the glory of God in our lives is a blessing. Yet if we ignore the Spirit, we quench his influence and our lives start to look more like us and less like Jesus. Today we look at Ezekiel’s vision of God looking for those who grieve and mourn sin in the world…
Then I heard him call out in a loud voice, “Bring near those who are appointed to execute judgment on the city, each with a weapon in his hand.” 2 And I saw six men coming from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with a deadly weapon in his hand. With them was a man clothed in linen who had a writing kit at his side. They came in and stood beside the bronze altar.
3 Now the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherubim, where it had been, and moved to the threshold of the temple. Then the Lord called to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at his side 4 and said to him, “Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable thing s that are done in it.”
9 He answered me, “The sin of the people of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great; the land is full of bloodshed and the city is full of injustice. They say, ‘The Lord has forsaken the land; the Lord does not see.’ 10 So I will not look on them with pity or spare them, but I will bring down on their own heads what they have done.”
18 Then the glory of the Lord departed from over the threshold of the temple and stopped above the cherubim. 19 While I watched, the cherubim spread their wings and rose from the ground, and as they went, the wheels went with them. They stopped at the entrance of the east gate of the Lord’s house, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them.
Ezekiel 9:1-4, 9-10, 10:18-19
Ezekiel’s next vision was of the Lord calling angels to execute his judgement upon Israel for its rejection of God’s ways. Before God’s justice was meted out, however, they went through the city looking for people who grieve the lawlessness of Israel. Would they find you and me?
As our world goes sideways and there is shame after shame, crime after crime, and atrocity after atrocity, do we grieve and mourn?
Often, we retaliate. Sometimes, we justify our own sin as we condemn the sins of others. God was looking for people who mourn sin. All sin. Their sin, the sins of others, and the results of sin everywhere.
I don’t think I grieve the sin of the world enough. God grieved about the sin of the world so much that he gave his only son to reconcile us to him. I probably wouldn’t have done it. I don’t grieve it enough. Not like my father in heaven does.
And here’s why we should grieve. When Israel encountered the glory of God in their presence (here is an example we recently read in Levititus), they shouted with joy and fell on their faces and worshiped God. Being in the presence of the glory of God is the best thing. So what does it have to do with grieving and mourning sin?
The consequence of Israel’s acceptance and delight in sin led to the glory of God departing from their presence (vs. 18). In 1Samuel 4, we see the glory depart from Israel when the ark of the covenant was captured by the Philistines. Which brings me back to me. Do I care if the things of God and the presence of God are diminished in my world today and captured by the enemy?
I should care. Because the glory of God in our presence is at risk. Today, we would see this through the suppression of the Spirit of God in our lives. As we respond to the Spirit who is present within us, God’s presence fills our lives. When we ignore the Spirit, we quench his influence and our lives start to look more like us and less like Jesus.
May it never be…