The COMFORT of GOD’s PRESENCE in OUR LIVES: Therefore say, 'thus says the Lord God: "Although I have cast them far off among the Gentiles, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet I shall be a little sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone."’ (Ezek 11:16)
God here announced through prophet Ezekiel that He would do just the opposite of what leaders in Jerusalem expected; He would protect the exiles as their sanctuary, and they would become the remnant. Verses 16–21 include the most comforting words spoken by God so far in the prophecy. They will be taken captive, but also preserved, regathered, given the land, and converted upon their return. God explained to Ezekiel that the Jews taken captive and spread among foreign lands were actually the remnant whom God was protecting. God himself would continue as their sanctuary—a word in Hebrew that literally means a “holy place” or a “set-apart place.”
Wherever God’s people go, God goes with them. That was the comforting message that Ezekiel delivered to the Babylonian exiles (v. 16). They were far from home and had no temple such as the one at Jerusalem, where God’s presence was said to dwell. That same sense of isolation was going to be felt by the people of Judah when God scattered them throughout the ancient world (see Jer. 9:16; 52:28–30). But the Lord assured His refugees that He would be their “little sanctuary” wherever they went. Furthermore, He promised to eventually bring them back to the land of Israel (v. 17).
Since the exiles were far from the temple in Jerusalem, God Himself would substitute as their sanctuary. Jesus later would take the place of the temple (Matt. 26:61; 27:40; John 2:19), and through the Spirit His followers would become His temple (1 Cor. 3:16, 17; 2 Cor. 6:16; 1 Pet. 2:5).
The promise of God’s presence among His people can be a great comfort to believers today who find themselves alone among those who do not know or honor God. The Lord is with us wherever we go. We can call on Him no matter what the circumstances around us. Just like God promised to be a “little sanctuary” for the Old Testament believers of Ezekiel’s day, in the New Testament, we will serve as “little temples” for God.
"If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever-- the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” – Jesus Christ (John 14:15-18)
"Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." (1 Cor 6:19-20)