Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 39:1-40:27 (additional reading: Psalm 118:1-18 & Proverbs 28:2)
This year as we have been reading through the Old Testament together we have seen a number of names for God. In biblical times, names tell us important things about people. – People were named after – events in their lives, circumstances they found themselves in, personal characteristics or even their ministry function. And God’s names are no different. They are an important source of knowledge of who God.
Today we come to the name Jehovah Shammah – The Lord is There. The only time this name is used is in the passage we read earlier in Ezekiel. However, the truth that the Lord is Present with us is right throughout scripture.
The word “There”, is interesting. If we look up the Hebrew term for this word guess what it means … “There.” That’s right – there means there. Just like the Ball is over there. Not here, there. So the name the “Lord is There”, means, the “Lord is There”, speaking about some location.
And where is God in Ezekiel’s prophesy which we just read? He is in the city. What city? Jerusalem. In chapter 40, we read that Ezekiel had a vision. It was in 574BC, in the 25th year of his exile, 14 years after the destruction of Jerusalem. To understand the significance of this name to Ezekiel and infact to all Israelites, you have you pause and think about what this meant for the people. Think about what it would be like if God was Lord over everyone and everything in this world. If God was physically there with us. It would be paradise wouldn’t it. It would be just what it was like in the Garden of Eden. Now there’s a fantastic picture of God relating to man. You can read it in Gen 3. He walked through the garden in the cool of the day. There walking with him was Adam and Eve. They had everything – security, love, acceptance, innocence, perfection and an intimate relationship with God – Face to face contact. What an amazing experience that must have been to be there with God.
Unfortunately that close communion was destroyed by sin entering the world and the result of this act of rebellion was that God threw Adam and Eve out of his garden – out of his presence. God was still there in the world, but not like he had been in the Garden. In the Garden, God was There – right there – able to be seen and touched even. But after the fall – everything changed. The proximity of our contact changed. After the fall, the closest the Israelites came to God dwelling with them was his presence in the tabernacle and the temple. God was there – in his temple. But it was not the same as before the fall. There was no intimate fellowship as in the garden. There was no relaxed walks in the cool of the garden. Instead of God being just there, he was just over there. The other side of that wall, inside that curtain – he was set apart.
How great for us that God takes his residency with us and makes us into the His temple. 1 Cor 3:16-17 – “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” God is no longer over there, but there right inside of us and living through us.