Dear Cornerstone Brothers and Sisters,
As we thought about last Sunday, our Lord Jesus Christ is the great bridegroom who loves us, his bride. In fact, his love for us is so great that he died for us to wash us whiter than snow. What a wonderful truth that we belong to him – and that our great, Heavenly bridegroom will not let us go. If you are struggling this week, reflect on this truth … and may we rejoice that we have a ‘reserved seat’ at the heavenly marriage supper that awaits us!
A few reminders:
Our ladies mugs n’ muffins will be November 16 at the Barnes’ home. More details to come, but mark your calendars.
Also, this coming Lord’s Day (11/3) is our monthly fellowship lunch following worship. In the spirit of Fall, we are going to have a chili lunch. So we’ll need a few families to bring their favorite chili recipe. Other families can bring a few sides, dessert, and drinks.
Finally, this weekend we will have Rev. Dick Gerber worshipping with us. Rev. Gerber is the Associate General Secretary of the Committee on Home Missions and Church Extension (basically Dick is over Home Missions for the OPC, along with Rev. John Shaw). He will be visiting with us simply to encourage us and to see how the church is doing … and also he will be teaching Sunday School. Thus, please plan to join us for Sunday School as Dick will be giving us an overview of the OPC’s current home missions (church planting) endeavors and philosophy. It will be a joy to have him with us!
This week’s devotional is a reflection on the glory of God from the book of Ezekiel.
From the Pastor’s Desk
Ezekiel 11:23; 43:5, “And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city … and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple.”
In Ezekiel chapters 8-10, the prophet is given a stunning vision from the Lord – a vision of the glory of God departing from Jerusalem. Chapter 8 recounts the reasons why God’s glory was leaving the holy city. For example, the Lord asks the prophet, “Son of man (referring to Ezekiel), do you see what they are doing, the great abominations that the house of Israel are committing here, to drive me far from my sanctuary? But you will see still greater abominations” (Ezek 8:6). In a word, Jerusalem was steeped in sin and idolatry. And God gave Ezekiel a picture of his coming judgment in the removal of his glory – his special presence – from his people. This horrendous scene climaxes in 11:23, “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.”
The Lord, however, has promised that he will indeed redeem a people unto himself – he will save a people – he will preserve a remnant. And he must be faithful to his promises. Thus, praise the Lord that the story must not, and therefore, does not end with 11:23. Ezekiel chapters 40-48 give us the other side of the story. That is, if chapters 8-11 describe the ruin of God’s people; chapters 40-48 describe the future restoration of God’s people. While these chapters are often the subject of much debate, their central meaning is quite clear; namely they give the reader a prophetic picture of God once again coming to dwell with his people. In 43:1-5, the prophet sees the glory of God re-entering the temple through the east gate (the same gate from which God’s glory departed in 11:1, 23); and 43:4-5 gloriously proclaims, “As the glory of the Lord entered the temple by the gate facing east, the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple.”
But furthermore we must keep in mind that Ezekiel is giving us a picture of what is to come. Thus, we must ask the question: when and how is the picture – this prophesy – fulfilled? The New Testament gives us the answer. In the New Testament we learn that Jesus is the true temple; that in Jesus the very glory of God comes to dwell with his people; that in Jesus all of God’s promises find their yes and amen; that Jesus has given his church his Spirit and thus the church is referred to as the temple of God – the special place where God now dwells with his people; and that finally in the New Heavens and the New Earth God will finally and fully dwell with his people unhindered by sin unto eternity (John 1:14; 2:19, 21; 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19; Rev 21:3, 10-11)!
Brothers and sisters God is faithful and true! He must – he does – and he will keep his word! And oh what a story the Bible – his word – tells us! Although the saying is cliché, it is true … the Bible is the story of His glory; which finds it climax in God himself dwelling with his people, rendering his people His church, enjoying communion with them unto eternity! And Oh Lord may we – your people – reflect something of your glory to this dark and sin-filled world that lost sinner may know you and love you!