READ: Ezekiel 46-48
THINK: The book of Ezekiel comes to a close with some incredible imagery and a powerful vision of the restoration of the Kingdom of God and his presence with mankind. And the culmination of this vision, the most important part, the key to understanding this entire section of the Bible and, frankly, the big idea and overarching theme of the book of Ezekiel comes at the very end in the last 2 word phrase that Ezekiel uses: Yahweh-Shammah. The LORD is there.
There are many names for God in the Old Testament that describe his love, his power, his greatness, his sovereignty, his faithfulness and more. Yahweh-Shammah is the last new name for God that is introduced in the Old Testament. And, though it is technically used by Ezekiel to name the great city and not to name God, it gives us a powerful understanding of what the city is all about. We might be tempted to read this passage and think that the glory of the city is found in it’s temple, it’s size, it’s riches, or it’s river of life. After all, Ezekiel’s words demonstrate that this city is the most glorious place on earth and in the history of the earth. But Ezekiel ensures that at the end of all things we understand this clearly: the presence of God is the glory of the most glorious place. Of all the amazing things Ezekiel describes about this place, the peculiar glory of it all will be that God is there. Yahweh-Shammah. Yahweh-Shammah is who God always intended to be. And living in the very presence of God is what mankind was created for.
For Ezekiel, getting the name Yahweh-Shammah was the greatest blessing the city could possibly receive. I wonder, do we consider God’s presence to be the greatest blessing we could possibly receive? Do we yearn for his presence? Do we seek it out wherever it may be found? Our answers to these questions matter deeply.
Sometimes we may try to escape God’s presence and sometimes we simply neglect it. But the interesting truth of the situation is that nothing but our sinful nature and corrupt hearts allows us to feel at ease anywhere but the presence of God. That is to say, if your life is comfortable outside of God’s presence – if you can find some joy or peace or comfort outside of passionately seeking him – then the comfort you have found is a false comfort predicated upon your sin. In our rebellion against God we try to live without him. But we were built – designed, wired, and created by a Creator – to run on the presence of God in the same way that a car is built to run on gasoline. We were made for it, and it’s the greatest blessing we can ever receive! Without it we begin to die, we live beneath the dignity and potential for which he created us. With it we begin to truly live.
ASK: What am I doing to seek God’s presence? What habits, disciplines, and practices are a part of my life that bring me to that place? How am I plugging in to church community (where God literally promises his presence will be)? What changes do I need to make to be where God is and avoid being where God isn’t? What experiences in my life have shown me the blessing of being in God’s presence?
PRAY: Thank Yahweh-Shammah for the indescribable gift of his presence.