The concept of God’s glory is an ambivalent one in modern Christianity. The Church desires God’s glory because we perceive that it is necessary and beneficial. We are however not sure that we can or should have it. There is a chorus we sing that encapsulates our confusion and it goes thus:
You are The Lord, that is your name,
You will never share your glory with anyone,
You will never share your glory with anybody
Almighty God, that is your name.
Understanding The Glory
Most believers think of the glory of God as a physical manifestation of His presence resulting in euphoria, ecstatic frenzies and a bursting forth of light. Two major words, Kabod in the Hebrew and Doxa in the Greek, are translated as glory and neither is related to rapture or exhilaration or indeed God’s manifest presence. The Hebrew word relates to weight, splendour,copiousness and honour. The Greek word adds to these dignity, praise, worship but most significantly, in its root form, the idea of one’s thought processes and reputation.
Moses helps us understand what the true definition of glory is. God had introduced Himself very briefly to Moses as the I Am when He sent him to deliver the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage. Moses like others in his generation, had heard of this great God but did not really know Him. After diverse encounters it occurred to Moses, as it would to the Apostle Paul, thousands of years later, that knowing God personally was the only key to long-term joy and success. His impassioned plea in Exodus 33:13 was therefore “… shew me now thy way, that I may know thee…” When Moses concluded his request in verse 18: “…I beseech thee, shew me thy glory “, he was not making a different request. Indeed by inspiration, the Psalmist implies that Moses’ prayer was answered when he tells us that “He made known His ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel” (Psalm 103:7). In a nutshell, God’s glory is a revelation and manifestation of His nature, His character and His attributes. So Moses was really asking God to reveal to Him not His miraculous signs and dramatic capabilities, but who He really is.
When God answered this prayer, there was no thundering, no flashes of lightening, no earthquakes. Remember that when God visited the dispirited Prophet Elijah, He did not manifest in the tornado which tore the mountains and broke the rocks; neither did He show up in the earthquake or the fire that followed. Rather God manifested in the still small voice. Similarly with Moses, who was now hidden in the cleft in the rock, God declared His nature and character: “…The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation “(Exodus 34:6-7).
Why The Glory?
Since everything God does is for a purpose, why would God want us to encounter His glory? By the way, He does want us to as evidenced by His oath in Habakkuk 2:14 “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” and 2 Corinthians 4:6 “For God … hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God …” Paul in the latter text gives us an unequivocal clue in the eighteenth verse of the previous chapter, 2 Corinthians 3:18 “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of The Lord”. Wow! This simply means the more of the Lord’s glory, that is character, nature and attributes we see, the more like Him we become.
What Happens When I See The Glory?
1. Worship Becomes a Lifestyle
Before Moses got a revelation of God’s grace, loving kindness,mercy,goodness, longsuffering,etc, he had seen the miraculous, had dialogues with God, prayed, interceded for the persistently stubborn Israelites and done great acts of service, benevolence and government. When however he saw the glory the Bible says in Exodus 34:8 “And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped”. This is the first time Moses is actually said to have worshiped The Lord. This is exciting because the etymology of the word worship shows it comes from the word worth or worthiness. One of the Merriam-Webster definitions of worth is “the value of something measured by its qualities or by the esteem in which it is held”. Our worship will transcend praising and singing when we catch a revelation of the loving nature of our dear Heavenly Father. This is the understanding of Jesus’ injunction to the woman at the Well that true worshippers will worship in Spirit and in truth. When the very nature of God was revealed to her by Jesus’s willingness to relate with a despised woman like her, true worship flowed from not just her lips but from her heart and her very being.
So to transform your worship, study and catch a revelation of the sovereignty, mercy, graciousness, patience, goodness, truth, forgiveness, justice and immutability of our God and His counsel.
2. Your Countenance Becomes Radiant
Moses had been in the presence of God several times before the “glory” encounter. This time however we are told his countenance shone so much that he had to shield it with a veil. Your countenance is defined as your face, visage; especially the face as an indication of mood, emotion or character. The eyes are generally known as the windows to the soul and the face the barometer of the heart. A revelation of God’s glory excites the heart, gladdens the soul and transforms the demeanour. No wonder the Psalmist says in Psalm 34:5 “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame”, then in verse 8 he admonishes us to “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him”. Have you been suffering depression, mood swings, despondency and sorrow, then what you need is a generous dose of His glory, a clearer understanding of who He is.
3. You Treat People Differently
2 Corinthians 3:18
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
The crux of the matter is this: no one catches a glimpse of God’s character and remains the same. God commands us to go into the world and make disciples of all men teaching them the things of God we have ourselves learnt. We are to forgive others because God for His Son’s sake forgave us. 1 John 4:7-8 tells us “Beloved, let us love one another:for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”
The aforementioned woman at Jacob’s Well in John 4 became an evangelist to Samaria because she encountered the glory. Mary Magdalene became the first apostle of resurrection because Jesus cast out of her seven devils and showed her the forgiveness, grace and mercy of God. Paul, from typical persecutor became biblical orator and chosen vessel.
Moses started life as a hot-headed revolutionary who killed a man for the advancement of the cause as he understood it. When he encountered God’s glory he became transformed such that it was said of him in Numbers 12:3 “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” In fact, Moses’ greatest calamity which prevented him from entering into the Promised Land was the fact that he misrepresented God when he struck the Rock the second time in anger instead of speaking to it. God’s mercy is inexhaustible and He will not be misrepresented. He is so jealous of His character and reputation that He will do whatever it takes to vindicate His name.
God, the Father is a Spirit. Jesus is His express image. God has illuminated our hearts to catch the revelation that the knowledge of His glory is in the face of His Son, Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6).
And by the way God shares His glory with man created for His glory and in His image. Jesus said in John 17:22 “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one…” It is with graven images and man-made idols that He said He will not share His glory see Isaiah 42:8
“I am the Lord:that is my name:
and my glory will I not give to another,
neither my praise to graven images”.
So seek His face and the more you see of Jesus, the more of God’s glory you will encounter. The more glory you see, the more you will worship The Lord, radiate His glory and affect your generation.
So Lord, show me now Your glory and let me know you.
Shalom dear friend. Now let us go change our world.
O M Efueye
Aslan LIFE Ministries