Ezekiel 9-12 Yet I have been a sanctuary to them for a while in the countries where they have gone

From Ezekiel 9-12

26 Ezekiel Scroll fed thumbIs there a special place where you go to be with the LORD? Perhaps a temple or a building of some sort? In today’s passage we read that while Israel was in another land far away from the temple, the LORD was with them. He was their sanctuary.

This post is part of my bible in a year series.

Passage and Comments

Ezekiel continues to have visions of the four fantastic creatures with four heads and four wings. The presence of the LORD moves into the temple and then out of it (Eze 10). He then proclaims judgment on the leaders of Jerusalem and after some of the leaders die, Ezekiel cries out in horror (Eze 11). This is where today’s passage picks up.

14 And the word of the Lord came to me: 15 “Son of man, your brothers, even your brothers, your kinsmen, the whole house of Israel, all of them, are those of whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, ‘Go far from the Lord; to us this land is given for a possession.’ (Eze 11.14-15)

The inhabitants of Jerusalem mistakenly believe the LORD is tied to a particular land. They want to leave him and go in search of better lands than the one the LORD gave them.

Norris, D.T., 1997. Logos Deluxe Map Set, Oak Harbor, WA: Lexham Press.
Norris, D.T., 1997. Logos Deluxe Map Set, Oak Harbor, WA: Lexham Press.

16 Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: Though I removed them far off among the nations, and though I scattered them among the countries, yet I have been a sanctuary to them for a while in the countries where they have gone.’ (Eze 11.16)

Normally the temple of the LORD was the peoples sanctuary. The place where they met with the LORD. Despite being moved from the land the LORD was still with the faithful few who remained loyal to him. He is their sanctuary. Their place of refuge and protection.

The LORD is not bound to a particular land or building. The LORD is with you wherever you go.

17 Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.’ 18 And when they come there, they will remove from it all its detestable things and all its abominations. (Eze 11.17-18)

The LORD promises to restore them to the land of Israel, from where they had been scattered. There they will find the remains of their abominable worship and remove it all.

26 stone heart19 And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. (Eze 11.19-20)

The LORD promises to give them a new heart and a new spirit (cf. Eze 36).

He will rip out their old hearts of stone (hardened against the LORD) and replace them with hearts of flesh (soft and receptive of the LORD).

‘Walk’, ‘keep’ and ‘obey’. With a new spirit and heart the people will be able to keep the LORD’s commands and their shall be the LORD’s people.

21 But as for those whose heart goes after their detestable things and their abominations, I will bring their deeds upon their own heads, declares the Lord God.” (Eze 11.21)

But not all will be renewed. Those who have abandoned the LORD will be judged. Their sinful deeds tuning back on them.

26 four headed angel cherubim22 Then the cherubim lifted up their wings, with the wheels beside them, and the glory of the God of Israel was over them. 23 And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city and stood on the mountain that is on the east side of the city. 24 And the Spirit lifted me up and brought me in the vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldea, to the exiles. Then the vision that I had seen went up from me. 25 And I told the exiles all the things that the Lord had shown me. (Eze 11.22-25)

The Spirit then moves Ezekiel to where the exiles are so that Ezekiel can then tell them what he has seen. Pictures of future hope and judgment.

Story of Israel

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

Contrary to the view in Jerusalem, leaving temple and land does not imply leaving Yahweh’s presence, and staying in the land does not imply guaranteed possession of it. Yahweh’s presence is among the refugees (v16) … So a priest with his commitment to the Jerusalem temple makes a bold declaration which disputes any theology claiming that people are essentially closer to Yahweh in Palestine than elsewhere and reasserts the old conviction that Yahweh is as present and active in places such as Mesopotamia and Egypt (see Genesis and Exodus).” (Goldingay, J.A., 2003. Ezekiel. In J. D. G. Dunn & J. W. Rogerson, eds. Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, p. 633.)

Story of Jesus

In the gospel Jesus forgives the sins of five men.

2 And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. 3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd,they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mk 2.1-7)

Normally sins were forgiven in the temple. Here is a demonstration that wherever he is, Jesus has the authority to forgive. We don’t need a special place or a temple.

Jesus is our place of healing. Our sanctuary.

Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2016. All Rights Reserved.