God’s Life-Giving Word of Spiritual Renewal
Ezekiel 43:1-17: Today’s reading is from a section describing Ezekiel’s final vision about the restored Temple in Jerusalem. He sees the LORD’s glory returning to the Temple.
The LORD’s spirit lifted me up and took me into the inner courtyard, where I saw that the Temple was filled with the glory of the LORD.
The Lord Returns to the Temple
1The man took me to the gate that faces east, 2 and there I saw coming from the east the dazzling light of the presence of the God of Israel. God's voice sounded like the roar of the sea, and the earth shone with the dazzling light. 3This vision was like the one I had seen when God came to destroy Jerusalem, and the one I saw by the Chebar River. Then I threw myself face downward on the ground. 4The dazzling light passed through the east gate and went into the Temple.
5The Lord's spirit lifted me up and took me into the inner courtyard, where I saw that the Temple was filled with the glory of the Lord. 6The man stood beside me there, and I heard the Lord speak to me out of the Temple: 7“Mortal man, here is my throne. I will live here among the people of Israel and rule them forever. Neither the people of Israel nor their kings will ever again disgrace my holy name by worshiping other gods or by burying the corpses of their dead kings. 8The kings built the doorsills and doorposts of their palace right against the doorsills and doorposts of my Temple, so that there was only a wall between us. They disgraced my holy name by all the disgusting things they did, and so in my anger I destroyed them. 9Now they must stop worshiping other gods and remove the corpses of their kings. If they do, I will live among them forever.”
10And the Lord continued, “Mortal man, tell the people of Israel about the Temple, and let them study its plan. Make them ashamed of their sinful actions. 11Then if they are ashamed of what they have done, explain the plan of the Temple to them: its design, its entrances and exits, its shape, the arrangement of everything, and all its rules and regulations. Write all this down for them so that they can see how everything is arranged and can carry out all the rules. 12This is the law of the Temple: All the area surrounding it on the top of the mountain is sacred and holy.”
13 These are the measurements of the altar, using the same unit of measure as in measuring the Temple. All around the base of the altar there was a gutter 20 inches deep and 20 inches wide, with a rim at the outside edge 10 inches high. 14The lowest section of the altar, from the top of the base, was 4 feet high. The next section was set back from the edge 20 inches all around, and was 7 feet high. The section after that was also set back from the edge 20 inches all around. 15This top section, on which the sacrifices were burned, was also 7 feet high. The projections on the four corners were higher than the rest of the top. 16The top of the altar was a square, 20 feet on each side. 17The middle section was also a square, 24 feet on each side, with a rim at the outside edge 10 inches high. (The gutter was 20 inches wide.) The steps going up the altar were on the east side.",
The return of the LORD’s presence reverses the departure of the LORD’s glory brought about by Israel’s priests bringing unclean things into the Temple (see Ezekiel 8—11). What instructions does Ezekiel receive from the LORD? The return of the LORD’s glory meant that the land and the Temple were now ritually clean and would stay that way if the priests and people obeyed God. God promises to live among the people (verse 7). In what ways does your community of faith experience the presence of God dwelling among you?
Consecrate me, O Lord, to your will. I present my life to you as a living sacrifice for service in your holy name. May all I do and say be pleasing to you, O Lord, and glorify you. Amen.
Those preparing for ordained ministry
Genesis 12:1-20: Abram is called by God.