When you think of God in glory, in his throne room, highly exalted and holy, what is his relation to his creation in that setting? Where is he oriented in relation to his people? For the people of the era of the Tabernacle and Temple, God was transcendent and above all, yes, but his throne was among his people and the high priest went into his presence when he passed the veil into the Holy of Holies.

Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,
extol him who rides on the clouds;
rejoice before him—his name is the Lord.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.

Psalm 68:4-5

So in that way, there is a little bit of tension between the way God is represented by prophesy and by visions and the way God’s presence was felt from the ground. God was above all, intangible and omniscient but he was also active and present among his people. He was in the Temple, not because he couldn’t leave the temple like the idols around him, but because he chose to meet the people there. It was for their sake he dwelled with him and he was pleased to do so.

Why? So that his character of compassion and justice would be reflected in his people. Not in absent mimicry of an abstract and distant deity but in faithful relationship to a discrete and active one.

Ethan Kirl