Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 48
“All the way around shall be eighteen thousand cubits; and the name of the city from that day shall be: THE LORD IS THERE.”
In the 90s, I used to play this computer game at my friend Mark Tansey’s house called “Sim City”. The goal of the game was to build a small town and manage it as it grew into a thriving metropolis. There were lots of different tasks to accomplish in the game, but before you started anything, you had to name your city. To me, this was harder than balancing infrastructure or addressing desalinization issues. I would spend hours trying to figure out a name, and once I had decided on “Cool Town” my Dad said it was time to go home. :(
The book of Ezekiel takes place during a time when Jerusalem had been destroyed by Babylon. For centuries, the people of Judah neglected their covenant with God and had abandoned Him for other gods. So, in an act of confirmation of Judah’s choice and of righteous judgment, God left Jerusalem open for attack, resulting in the fall of the Holy City and the exile of its people.
Yet, in the latter part of the book of Ezekiel, God provides Ezekiel a vision of Jerusalem being rebuilt and the people being restored to the land. In our reading for today, God gives specific directions for how the land will be allotted, and how the gates of Jerusalem will be arranged. And then at the end of the passage, Jerusalem receives a new name: “The LORD is there.“
No other city in all of history had the privilege of receiving God’s name from God Himself. This renaming of Jerusalem would be a testament to the world, but more importantly to God’s people, that the God of the Universe would dwell there with His people and it would be because of His grace, not their merits, that He would bring them back and restore Jerusalem.
This is our greatest desire as Christians: not to have an amazing city, not to have a mighty people, not to be prosperous and bountiful, not to live in “Cool Town” (such an uncool name!), but instead to be where the LORD is and to dwell with Him forever. For each of us know what it is like to be without God in our sin. But because of His grace to us in Jesus Christ, we can know life with God forever. Not only do we want to live where the LORD is; we want our lives to carry this name: “The LORD is there”.
Lord God, I want to be where You are. I want my life to declare the reality that “The LORD is there”. Please build my life according to Your will, that Your name may receive all the glory for all that You do through me. Thank You, Father, for placing Your name on my life through Jesus Christ, our Lord and our Savior. I pray all of these things in Jesus’ Holy Name, AMEN.
Thru the Bible in a year (credit: Biblestudytools.com): Luke 4:31-44; Ezekiel 46-47; Isaiah 65