Coals of fire….purify

Ezekiel 10:1-8

And I looked, and there in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubim, there appeared something like a sapphire stone, having the appearance of the likeness of a throne. Then He spoke to the man clothed with linen, and said, “Go in among the wheels, under the cherub, fill your hands with coals of fire from among the cherubim, and scatter them over the city.” And he went in as I watched.

Now the cherubim were standing on the south side of the temple when the man went in, and the cloud filled the inner court. Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, and paused over the threshold of the temple; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD’s glory. And the sound of the wings of the cherubim was heard even in the outer court, like the voice of Almighty God when He speaks.

Then it happened, when He commanded the man clothed in linen, saying, “Take fire from among the wheels, from among the cherubim,” that he went in and stood beside the wheels. And the cherub stretched out his hand from among the cherubim to the fire that was among the cherubim, and took some of it and put it into the hands of the man clothed with linen, who took it and went out. The cherubim appeared to have the form of a man’s hand under their wings.

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The vision contains the same creatures found in Ezekiel’s first vision.  The difference is that they are now in the temple – a place the Lord calls his sanctuary.  This place that the elders of the people, the leaders who should be leading in the worship of Almighty God, have placed idols that are images worshipped in place or instead of God.  God has called these images and the worship of them abominations in one translation and desecration in another.  The people have left worshipping the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and turned to the gods of their neighbors and Egypt.  We are given a clear understanding that this is definitely displeasing to God, so much so that he is willing to bring destruction upon them, a curse rather than a blessing.  Again the repeated theme is noted.  For sin there is a consequence, death.  To avoid that consequence we have one option.  God sent his son to provide that option and give us a covering for the sin we are born into.  Receiving the atonement of Christ for our sins covers us and gives us the mark mentioned in yesterday’s reading.  It protects from the spoken curse of sin.

This passage gives pause to consider today’s sanctuary.  Is it still a place where God’s presence can be found?  Or has it been littered with ‘idols’ from our own time and space?  Do we enter to worship Almighty God or are we distracted by other forms?  What about our inner selves?  The word tells us our bodies are his sanctuary.  1 Corinthians 3:16 states:

“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”

Consider the coals.  Fire purifies, burns off the dross and leaves the pure element behind.  The Holy Spirit is often referred to as fire.  This is the fire that enters us and purifies our inner selves leaving us pure, a place where the Lord himself can reside.

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Let’s spend some time searching our lives and our beings for signs of anything that is being placed ahead of God.  Is there

anything “we can’t live without”?  Let our ‘sanctuary’ be free of any ‘idols’ that would grieve the heart of God.

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