Then I looked, and behold, on the expanse that was over the heads of the cherubim there appeared above them something like a sapphire, in appearance like a throne.
Then the glory of the Lord went out from the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubim. And the cherubim lifted up their wings and mounted up from the earth before my eyes as they went out, with the wheels beside them. And they stood at the entrance of the east gate of the house of the Lord, and the glory of the God of Israel was over them.
These were the living creatures that I saw underneath the God of Israel by the Chebar canal; and I knew that they were cherubim. Each had four faces, and each four wings, and underneath their wings the likeness of human hands. And as for the likeness of their faces, they were the same faces whose appearance I had seen by the Chebar canal. Each one of them went straight forward. Ezekiel 10:1, 18-22 ESV
Thus Solomon finished the house of the Lord. . . . Then the Lord appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice.
“But if you turn aside and forsake my statutes and my commandments that I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will pluck you up from my land that I have given you, and this house that I have consecrated for my name, I will cast out of my sight, and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. And at this house, which was exalted, everyone passing by will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land and to this house?’ Then they will say, ‘Because they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods and worshiped them and served them. Therefore he has brought all this disaster on them.’” II Chronicles 7:11a, 12, 19-22 ESV
Years ago, before people traveled to faraway places by plane most of the time, the way to get across the oceans was by ship. When a ship left its dock and started its voyage across the water, it was a little like a party. Bands might play happy music on board the ship, and all the people leaving on the journey would crowd on the ship’s deck. The people who were seeing the travelers off would crowd on the dock and wave goodbye, while the people on the ship might throw paper streamers while they waved back. Everyone strained to get one last glimpse of the loved ones they were parting from, maybe for a long time. Finally the gangplank would be taken up from the ship so that no one else could get on or leave, and the ship would blow its signal horn. Slowly the ship would start to move away from the dock, and everyone on the dock would see that the ship was moving away from them, and their loved ones on board getting smaller and farther away, until they could no longer see them. It could be a very sad time for some people.
Ezekiel was given another vision of the glory of God, the same vision he had seen before. He saw the same four living creatures that he had seen by the Chebar canal in Babylon, and by now he knew that they were cherubim, a type of angel that attends to God in his holiness and majesty. Ezekiel also saw the Lord’s sapphire throne again. But this time instead of seeing God’s glory in Babylon, Ezekiel saw a vision of Jerusalem and the temple, and what he saw would have made him very sad. The Lord had long ago made the temple the place where his presence would be in a special way, but now the glory of God was leaving the temple. God’s glory went over the threshold of the doors of the temple and started to move up from the east gate into the air and away from the earth. God had promised to be in the temple for his people, but if they rejected him, he said that he would reject the temple they had built for him.
We all sin and turn away from God and refuse to follow his ways, but God came to be with us in Jesus. Jesus came to take all our sins on himself and to pay for them at the cross. Because of what Jesus did, God forgives our sins and brings us back to him. He sends us his Holy Spirit to keep us close to him, and he promises never to leave us. The Lord helps us to follow his ways, and he brings us back when we start to leave him. We can trust God to keep us by his side forever.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for bringing me back to you. Help me to stay close to you always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.