Jesus Has Left the Temple
Read Matthew 23:37-24:2
“Now the sons of Eli were worthless men” (1 Samuel 12:12), yet priests, priests who violated proper standards of worship to suit their own corrupt desires. When he received the terrible news that his sons Hophni and Phineas had been killed in battle, and that the Ark of the Covenant had been captured by the Philistines, Eli fell backwards off his chair and died of a broken neck. When the terrible news reached Phineas’ pregnant widow, she went into labor, giving birth to a boy. She would not survive the birth, but before dying named the boy “Ichabod,” saying “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured” (1 Samuel 4:22. “Ichabod” means “no glory.”
In our passage today, the glory has again departed the place where God once manifested his presence. How Jesus had wanted to cleanse and purify “my house” (or “my Father’s house,” John 2:16), as he used to called it (21:13). Now it has become “your house” (23:38), given over to its unbelieving, corrupt stewards. “Jesus left the temple” (24:1), leaving it “Ichabod” – the glory is gone, and future judgment is certain.
When God’s Holy Spirit convicts of sin, and when our loving Heavenly Father disciplines us through humbling circumstances, these are opportunities to draw closer to God, and to experience the glory of his forgiveness, restoration, and blessing. He longs to gather us under his wings like a mother hen does her chicks. But he will not force himself on the unwilling, and in the end he gives everybody what they want, whether they want him, or him to go away. Don’t choose a life bereft of God’s glory, forsaking the eternal blessing for yourself that goes with it. Choose the name that Jesus himself will give you (Revelation 2:17), not “Ichabod.”