Where is God in your life? What is he doing in your life today? What can you point to that says, “God is at work?”
These are the same questions asked by Israel some 2,500 years ago. During their exile in Babylon, it seemed as if God had abandoned his people. It was during their darkest hour that God introduced himself as Jehovah Shammah, The Lord is There. This is the last name of God in the Old Testament (Ezekiel 48:35). It tells us that God is present among his people. While the name brings great comfort, it also calls for self‑examination.
To understand the significance of the name, you have to trace the glory of God from eternity past to eternity future. As you do, keep in mind that God’s glory equals his presence.
In the Past
Principle #1: God’s glory is everywhere. God’s glory fills the heavens and earth (Psalm 19:1; Isaiah 6:3).
Principle #2: While God’s glory is everywhere, God chose to live among his people, first in the tabernacle and later in the temple in Jerusalem (Exodus 40:34-35; 2 Chronicles 7:1-3). His glory symbolized his presence.
Principle #3: Because of sin, God’s glory and his presence were removed from Israel. God’s glory cannot coexist with sin. Since the Jews brought idols into the temple, God chose to leave (Ezekiel 8:1-4). The glory of God moves from the holy of holies to the threshold of the temple (Ezekiel 10:3-5). The glory of God moves from the temple to the East Gate of Jerusalem (Ezekiel 10:15-19). The glory of God leaves Jerusalem. The city can now be called, “Ichabod,” or “the glory is gone” (Ezekiel 11:22-23).
In the Future
Principle #4: When God sets up his kingdom, his glory and his presence will return to Jerusalem. His name is forever linked with his chosen city. God will once again dwell among his people. The glory of God will return to Jerusalem from the same direction that it left. It will come from the east through the gate and back to the temple (Ezekiel 43:1-7). The glory will once again fill the temple (Ezekiel 44:4). The New Jerusalem will be filled with God’s glory (Revelation 21:10-11, 23). Jerusalem will be known as the city where God dwells (Ezekiel 48:35).
In the Present
Principle #5: In this present age, God still lives among his people. Rather than limiting himself to one city or nation, however, he dwells in all Christians through the Holy Spirit. God chose to dwell among his people in the person of Jesus Christ (John 1:14). God now dwells in us through the person of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16).
Christ dwells in our hearts through faith (Ephesians 3:14-21). Christians are now the temple in which God dwells. We should not allow sin to be present in our lives (2 Corinthians 6:16). While our fellowship with him can be broken because of sin, we don’t have to fear that he will withdraw his presence from us.
Our responsibility is to strive to bring glory and honor to his name. Jesus gave his glory to us so that we would make him known to the world. God’s glory and powerful presence is now seen in us (John 17:18, 22-23). The goal of each Christ follower is to bring glory and honor to Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 10:31).
This is the synopsis of a sermon preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on August 14, 2016. It is part of a series on The Names of God. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.