Ezekiel 10:4, 18, 19
Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud…
Then the glory of the Lord went up from the cherub, and stood over tile threshold of the house, etc. These verses, which are all essentially related to one subject, suggest the following observations.
I. THAT GOD NEVER WITHDRAWS HIS GRACIOUS PRESENCE FROM A PERSON OR A NATION UNTIL THEY HAVE QUITE FORSAKEN HIM. The chosen people had despised his laws; they had turned aside from his worship for the most debasing idolatries; they had filled the land with their violence; they had denied his observation of their lives, and his interest therein; and they had persecuted his prophets wire called them to repentance. They had abandoned him provokingly and persistently; and now he is about to take from them his gracious presence. That presence he never withdraws from any individual or from any community until he has been rejected - driven away, as it were, by heinous and continued sin. In proof of this we may refer to the following and other portions of the sacred Scriptures: 1 Samuel 15:23, 26; 1 Samuel 28:15-18; 1 Chronicles 28:9; 2 Chronicles 15:2; Psalm 78:56-64; Jeremiah 7:8-16.
II. THAT GOD WITHDRAWS HIS GRACIOUS PRESENCE FROM A PERSON OR A NATION VERY GRADUALLY. We have an intimation of his leaving the temple in Ezekiel 9:3, where the glory of God departs from the holy of holies to the threshold of the house, by which is meant, says Schroder, "the outermost point, where the exit was from the court of the people into the city." In ver. 4 the prophet beholds the same movement repeated. Then in vers. 18 and 19 the Lord's complete abandonment of the temple is symbolically exhibited. And in Ezekiel 11:22, 23 the symbol of the gracious presence departs from the city, and makes a temporary sojourn on the Mount of Olives before forsaking the land. Thus step by step the symbol of the glory of the Lord goes away from them. It is as though he forsook them with great reluctance. By his servant Hosea he expresses the same truth: "How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel?" etc. (Hosea 11:8). It seemed, too, as though he would be entreated by them not to depart from their midst, and moved away so gradually in order that they might so entreat him. And if God withdraws himself, or withholds his gracious influences from any one, he does so, as it were, with measured steps and slow. Men are not left to themselves and their own devices hastily. God waits long to be gracious unto man. He does not depart from any one until he has received great and protracted provocation. He is "the God of patience;" and "he delighteth in mercy."
III. THAT WHEN GOD WITHDRAWS HIS GRACIOUS PRESENCE FROM A PERSON OR NATION THEY ARE BEREFT OF HIS PROTECTION. Shortly after Ezekiel had seen the glory of God pass away from the holy of holies to the threshold of the house (Ezekiel 9:3), the destroying angels began their work of slaughter in the temple. And before the complete destruction of the city, the glory of God departed from it to the Mount of Olives. When the Lord had quite withdrawn his gracious presence they were at the mercy of their enemies, and troubles came upon them test and furiously. "When the sun is in apogee, says Greenhill, "gone from us, we have short days and long nights, little light but much darkness; and when God departs, you have much night, and little day left, your comforts fade suddenly, and miseries come upon you swiftly." What a tragical example of this we have in the case of King Saul! When God had departed from him, and answered him no more, neither by prophets nor by dreams, he was sore distressed, and the terrible end was close at hand (1 Samuel 28:15-20; 1 Samuel 31.). "This is to be forsaken indeed, when God prepares to forsake us. Lo! then more than ever darkness comes over all the powers of man's spirit and over his life, and even trusted, loved countenances of friends go into shadow. Good thoughts grow ever fewer, impulses to prayer ever more rare; admonitions of conscience cease; the holy of holies in the man becomes empty down to the four walls and the usual pious furniture" (Schroder).
CONCLUSION. "Take heed, brethren, lest haply there shall be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief in falling away from the living God: but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called Today; lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." And let us pray, "Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me." - W.J.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD'S glory.