Reading: Ezekiel 43:1-12
Focus: Ezekiel 43:12
And this is the basic law of the Temple: absolute holiness!
Do you remember, in The Wizard of Oz, when the wizard is speaking from behind the curtain? When he’s still mysterious to everyone? Remember how he speaks? “I, the great and powerful Oz…” (You just read it in the wizard voice, didn’t you? Me, too.) And when he spoke people feared him. They listened.
The very last line of chapters 40-43 of Ezekiel is “I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!” (Did you read that in wizard voice, too?) This very powerful declaration comes at the end of very specific instructions – blueprints, really – to build a temple in Israel. Ezekiel received this vision. That verse isn’t part of our reading today, but I’m not sure we can really recognize the impact of this vision without it. These instructions came from the Sovereign Lord, and Ezekiel took them seriously. How could he not??
God gave these instructions to Ezekiel so specifically so as to separate the holy from the sin. Our focus verse reflects that: And this is the basic law of the Temple: absolute holiness!
Absolute holiness. Absolute, meaning not diminished in any way. Holiness, meaning recognized as or declared sacred.
In the Old Testament, the only way people had access to God was through sacrifice and absolute holiness. In the New Testament, and extended to us, Jesus is our absolute holiness. Thank God for that!
In 1 Corinthians 3:16, God tells us that we are the temple of God… no longer a building, but his people. But God still expects absolute holiness! It’s only through Jesus that God sees us as holy, and only through Jesus that we have access to God. If we’re not repentant and forgiven through Jesus, we’re not holy.
Just so we’re clear, Jesus replaced the sacrifices of the Old Testament with himself. He took all of our sin and guilt on himself, and died to take our punishment. If we receive this gift and accept and believe that Jesus is literally our savior, Jesus stands between God and our sin. This is the only way God can see us in absolute holiness.
Where are you today? Have you accepted the gift of Jesus as your savior? If you have, repentance and forgiveness are still required, but your access to God is promised. If you haven’t, maybe your journey starts now.
God, thank you for your mercy and love, and thank you for the gift of Jesus. I’m sorry for going my own way and falling so very short of holiness in your eyes. I accept Jesus as my savior, and I ask for your forgiveness. Show me how to follow you, God. In Jesus’ name, Amen.