I Was a Sanctuary for Them
The Church in the USA is Captive in Babylon
When in the history of Israel did God tell His people, “I was a sanctuary for them”? Because of the sin of the leaders of Israel and the people who followed them, God took the Israelites captive to Babylon. The same is true in the USA today. A study of the book of Ezekiel shows the sin that caused this and the Glory of God leaving the temple because of the sin. Eze. 8-11. The church in the USA lacks repentance, is self-satisfied, and apathetic and in this difficult position today. If we could see as God sees we would know this to be true. But, God never leaves His true church without hope. It was while the Israelites were questioning how they ended up in Babylon that the Lord spoke through Ezekiel again in the following scripture.
Ezek. 11:14 “Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 15 Son of man, your brothers, your relatives, your fellow exiles and the house of Israel, all of them, are those to whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, ‘Go far from the LORD; this land has been given us as a possession.’ 16 Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, Though I had removed them far away among the nations and though I had scattered them among the countries, yet I was a sanctuary for them a little while in the countries where they had gone.”’
The Remnant Hears
His message was to the remnant that repented and turned from the sin that landed them in Babylon. Though God let the Babylonians destroy the temple, God Himself was their sanctuary. What we know today but they did not know then is God’s plan has always been with Him God Himself as their sanctuary and ours.
The temple helped us understand things about God. We learned that we must come through the bronze altar of judgement and wash in the bronze laver. This judgement was against sin and shows us the death of our Lord. Next we approach God by His Spirit (the lampstand) through the word (the shewbread) and through prayer (the incense altar). Then we can enter the Holy of Holies where the presence of God is resident. When Christ died the hand of God tore the veil of the temple before the Holy of Holies in half from top to bottom and God invited all believers into His presence. God as sanctuary always includes His presence.
The Israelites without a temple were being invited into the very presence of God. Those who responded positively to this found Him there and so will we. God is inviting His people into intimacy. There is much mixture in the church and in us. His presence will make evident all that is not of Him. There is a danger. We have to let go of things we value such as our opinion about how this life in Christ works, who God is, who we are and many more things on which we have built our lives.
But, think of what we will gain, “I was a sanctuary to them.” He invites us to intimacy for our idolatry and confusion. Will we come?