There is an interesting and yet disturbing section of scripture found in the book of Ezekiel. Within a few chapters, GOD’S glory is depicted as departing from Israel. And rather than it happening all at once it appears to happen in stages.
In Ezekiel 8:6, we find the reason for the departure. It is said that great abominations were occurring in the house of GOD. Verse 12 notes the abominations by the leaders done in the dark presuming the LORD did not see them. Verse 16 notes some were worshipping the sun.
Now we know that GOD cannot and will not tolerate sin. And so it was necessary for Him to leave His sanctuary. But it is very interesting to note that He did so in stages. Oh yes, He departed, but note He did so over time.
9:3 and 10:4 His presence went up from the cherub to the threshold
10:18 Then from the threshold to the cherubim
10:19 From there the glory of GOD stood at the door of the east gate
11:23 And finally up from the midst of the city to the mountain
Let us visualize what is happening. It would appear the LORD was leaving almost reluctantly or at the very least giving every opportunity for the people to repent. In 10:4, reference is made to His pausing. GOD gave them every opportunity to change. Could this have been a warning from GOD of what was to come? Could the departure in stages have been GOD’S sign of what was to come if they didn’t repent?
This reminds me of a passage found in 2 Pet 3:9-10.
It is said of GOD that He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. The next verse begins “But the day of the LORD will come.” He is giving ample opportunity for us to be saved. But one day that opportunity will end. Whether it is His second coming or our death, that day is ever drawing nigh.
So let us consider these things. Let us take inventory of our lives. Let us consider how many opportunities we have been given.
And as we have wasted so many opportunities, let us consider these thoughts. Is He as close as He once was in my life? How happy is He with how I am using my life?
Is it possible that He is viewing my life and seeing things with which He is displeased? And…
He is departing my life in stages??
Is He not as close as He once was??
This line of questioning should cause us all to at least think.
OR perhaps this same line of questioning is appropriate for our country. Is GOD departing this country in stages? Is He unhappy with things in our country now? Is He withholding His blessing to our great nation now that so many have abandoned Him? And is all of this occurring in stages? Are there obvious signs of this? Is it too late to repent?
Peter explained that He is longsuffering toward us. I don’t think it is too late but I do think His patience will eventually run out.
It is a frightening scene that unfolds in the last verse of Ezekiel 8. Here it is said of GOD’S people, “though they cry in My ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them.” May we each be diligent to seek the help of the Almighty while His longsuffering patience is available.