Jehovah Shammah – The Lord is Present4 min read
Ezekiel 48 is not a typical devotional reading; however, it does have a few principles for us to take home. It starts out by giving specific portions of land to each tribe of Israel. Every tribe had a special place in God’s eyes, despite their rebellion in so many ways in the previous years. A gate was dedicated to each tribe for individual access to the presence of God. And why is that significant? Because the Lord is there. The Lord provided an individual contact to Him for each of the tribes, as He has given us individual access to the throne of grace. It is precious, because the Lord is there.
We can apply this in several ways; but for the believer in this present age, we can apply the name of Jehovah-Shammah beautifully to the local assembly. The Lord promised that when there is a group of believers in fellowship who are gathered to His name, He will be in the midst. As a collective gathering, we can confidently say, “The Lord is here.” What a blessing!
With this great blessing comes responsibility, and we see some of those responsibilities in our passage – Ezekiel 48. We will apply it to our lives in four main points: 1). The Sanctuary in the midst. 2). Keeping His charge. 3). First-fruits to the Lord. 4). Being marked by His presence.
Repeatedly, we see the emphasis on the sanctuary being in the midst. The people of Israel needed a passion for the sanctuary of the Lord and the house of God, and they didn’t even have the privilege of freely approaching the Throne of Grace. We, however, have a unique connection individually and collectively as members of a local assembly (if we are part of one) to the presence of God. We must keep the sanctuary in the midst; it must be our priority. Do we set aside time for the Lord to be in His presence? Do we seek to expand our time therein? Are the meetings of the local assembly a priority to us? The sanctuary must be in the midst! Every time a man left the presence of God, it ended in disaster. It is when we forget His presence that our lives are destroyed. God forbid that we forget the sanctuary.
In verse eleven, we see people called the sons of Zadok; they were priests. They were the only Levites who remained faithful to the Lord; and they were sanctified, having the privilege of service in the house of God. Though our relationship with God doesn’t depend on our falling into sin, our fellowship does. When we sin without confession, fellowship is hindered. When fellowship is hindered, it is easier to fall into sin. What follows is a devastating result in our life of having a difficult time destroying an addiction. We must not forget to keep His charge! We must remember His sanctuary! It is such a precious thing when there are genuine believers who remain faithful amidst apostasy, trials, division, etc. The Lord cherishes these people. May we learn to be these people in keeping His charge. Let’s preach the gospel. Let’s love His sanctuary. Let’s be holy and separate. Let’s keep His charge. It is by far worth it, for His sakes and for ours.
These faithful priests were promised land; and in verse fourteen, they were commanded not to sell it or alienate the first-fruits of it. When it comes to the blessings God provides, what are our first-fruit offerings like? When God provides a wonderful gem of revelation in His Word, do we use it to promote praise and spiritual growth? Or do we use that knowledge to make self appear more spiritual before other believers? When God gives us our paycheck, what is the first thing we think? Is it along the lines of a desire to offer our first-fruits to God and His purposes? We must remember this simple truth: when God graciously provides for our every need, it is so we can live another day to glorify Him! We must remember to keep our offerings holy and absolute. Let us never sell our first-fruits for earthy “treasure.” Let’s be the faithful priests.
Finally, we see a principle in the name of the city. In English, it is called “The Lord (the eternal One) is there.” What precious words. What convicting words. This was a place marked by God’s presence, a place where strangers could walk by, standing in awe, and say “The Lord is there.” Is that how our local assemblies are marked? Are people from the world able to look at the gathering and say confidently, “God is among you of a truth”? Or does our lack of passion, zeal, and praise cause people to say “They’re just like the rest – just like the world”? God forbid. May we instead be marked by HIM.