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DEVOTIONAL
Repentant Cycles of Intimacy
Richard Wasserfall
26-Jan-2004
“Son of Man, describe the temple to the people of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their sins. Let them consider the plan, and if they are ashamed of all they have done, make known to them the design of the temple – its arrangement, its exits and entrances – its whole design and all its regulations and laws.”Ezekiel 43:10-11a
Reading this passage one feels as if one is left with a non sequitur: Describe the temple to make the people ashamed of their sin. And if they are ashamed of their sin…describe the temple to them? But far from being an illogical conclusion, we need to realise that our beginning and our end are always found at the same place – where Christ is.

One of the Holy Spirit’s prime purposes in bringing about the sanctification of Christ in our lives, is to time and time again bring us to the point where we see our sins in the light of Christ’s holy love, so that we might be truly ashamed, repent and be brought back fully into God’s arms. Now the way in which the Spirit seems most often to do this, is to bring us into contemplation of what Scripture is saying about how God wants us, who are His temple, to arrange our lives. If we are listening, then we become convicted in our consciences by the Holy Spirit (Rom 9:1) of our sin and repent. But more than that. We are brought to go back to that same scripture and read again just how life is meant to be ordered according to God’s plan, so that the sin which we were committing might be stamped out of our lives. Do you see the circle taking you back to where Christ is at work?

God wanted to use His restoration temple plans to make Israel ashamed of their taking “garments to make gaudy high places, where [they] carried on [their] prostitution” (Eze 16:16). By revealing His temple plans, He wanted to show Israel that His temple was and could be the only high place. It was God’s hope that His people would see the holy perfection in His plans and be ashamed of all they had done. But He also desired that if they came to repentance, they should have made known to them again those plans, but this time in deeper intimacy. They were to know the temple’s “arrangement, its exits and entrances – its whole design and all its regulations and laws,” so that they would not fall again. Repentance leads to deeper intimacy in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Scripture to us is like God’s temple plans to Israel, and like God used Ezekiel as a messenger, we need to be constantly seeking from the Holy Spirit deeper, clearer and more precise understandings of God’s plans for His people, so that we can be steadily be brought closer and closer to Him, that His holiness might shine in greater light out into this fallen, dark world of ours.
Loving Father, thank You that You desire repentance from us, not just because we need to be made right with You, but because it means closer intimacy with You and Your purpose for our lives. Amen.