Ezekiel continues to describe the order of worship for the kingdom temple. The inner eastern gate must be opened only for Sabbaths and new moons (v.1). The prince will enter at this gate and the priests will prepare his offering there (v.2). The prince will both enter and exit by the eastern gate (v.8). Yet, the people approach and depart the temple differently.
“But when the people of the land shall come before the LORD in the solemn feasts, he that entereth in by the way of the north gate to worship shall go out by the way of the south gate; and he that entereth by the way of the south gate shall go forth by the way of the north gate: he shall not return by the way of the gate whereby he came in, but shall go forth over against it.” (v.9).
God forbade the people to leave His house the same way they came in. What a lesson! David rejoiced when he was told, “Let us go into the house of the LORD” (Psalm 122:1). But when he left God’s house, he had changed. “Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good” (Psalm 122:9). His trip to God’s house moved him to seek God’s good.
We are warned against “forsaking the assembling of ourselves together” (Hebrews 10:25) but are to come “exhorting one another.” To exhort is to push someone to action. Church services should press us into service for our heavenly sovereign. Are you listening? Do you “behave thyself wisely in the house of God” (1Timothy 3:15) so that you can go out by a way other than the one by which you entered? Will you look for God to change you when you go to church this Sunday?