I have always admired those who can paint and sing. I am not able to do either, but if I could do both, then looking at the word “glory” as it pertains to God, I would take out the largest paintbrush and paint my canvas with wild, extravagant, rich and glorious colours. And alongside me would be a full orchestra playing a symphony that would fill the atmosphere with music and melody designed to compel the heart of man to lift his voice and sing praises to God……and I should be singing with them.
The word Glory, doxa in Greek, is explosive and I believe demands more explanation than is possible to give. Scripture gives us glimpses of this divine power, extraordinary energy, the pure radiance of God’s goodness, the glory of God that is poured out from God Himself. Glory being the manifestation and revelation of all that He has and is, all His goodness. And it is Jesus who came to earth and glorified His Father, He made this goodness manifest in human form. I have at times heard someone trying to explain God’s glory in terms of clouds, smoke, fire and mist but if we confine God’s glory to images, which are not in themselves wrong, we will miss the awesome revelation of the powerful presence and understanding of Who God Is. He is beyond our comprehension and yet He reveals so much of His goodness to us as He calls us, woos us and draws us to Himself. Then as we believe in Him, and yielding to Him, receive the Holy Spirit who begins a transforming work in us, creating a new creation that no longer resembles the old man with a worldly, carnal nature but rather “as we all with unveiled faces, behold as in a mirror the glory of the Lord are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord”. (2 Corinthians 3:18). Made to be like Him! Made to manifest His goodness!
As we look at Jesus, as we follow after Him; learning from Him, imitating Him, and seeking Him. This compels us to behold Him and by the work of the Holy Spirit we reflect the goodness of Jesus. We are being transformed into the same image. Where do we see Jesus? In the Bible as we read, study, and meditate on God’s word, because the word is alive and as we delve into scripture, the Holy Spirit becomes our Teacher. He works in us to change us through the truth that is written. Remember, the Apostles who walked with Jesus would have been steeped in the scriptures, they would have been taught from birth the ways of God as handed down from generation to generation. They would have memorized scripture, discussed it and allowed it to become ingrained in their thinking. Jesus was the fulfillment of all that their hearts had longed for even if they did not fully recognize it at the time.
I confess that as a Christian today, coming out of a non-religious home, I so easily forget that the Old Testament Scriptures were the very foundation of the early Apostles learning and understanding. The Glory of God was revealed time and time again to the Nation of Israel as God rescued them, delivered them, fought for them and fed them manna from heaven. God’s goodness, His love and mercy emanate from the pages of scripture. The disciples would have been familiar with all of this, and they would have been able to recall the wondrous things that God had done. They would remember the stories passed down, written in the scriptures reminding the people of Israel how mighty, powerful and good their God was. His glory was seen in the cloud as described in Exodus 16:10 “ While Aaron was speaking to the whole Israelite community, they looked toward the desert, and there was the glory of the LORD appearing in the cloud.” And in 1 Kings 8:11 the glory filled the temple of Solomon and all the priests fell down. Can you imagine the revelation of God’s glory when Elijah built his sodden altar and prayed before all the priests of Baal.
1 Kings 18:38
Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.
The list goes on and on and on as God revealed His power, His sovereignty, His love for His people, and His glory as He parted the seas and the rivers, closed the mouths of hungry lions, caused angel armies to destroy Israel’s enemies and defended those He loved and had chosen. God’s glory was revealed in His acts of righteousness as He showed mercy, kindness and even judgement. Israel was the Nation born of God’s promise to Abraham and it was the Nation through whom God would reveal His glory. He said to me “You are my servant Israel, in whom I will display my splendour.” In the NKJ it says “in whom I will be glorified.”
Israel was to be the nation that would manifest the goodness, the loving care of an all-powerful God, providing a demonstration that the surrounding peoples could see. They could see that this God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is real and He acts in response to His people. Things happened! Unlike the surrounding nations who would have worshipped the sun, the stars, chunks of wood and man-made images. False gods that remained lifeless and no matter how hard they pleaded with them, chanted and cut themselves, no fire ever came from heaven. But the God of Israel, He was visible in His dealings with His people. This true God, the God of glory revealed His magnificence again and again and again. Why is it so important for us today to consider this, to know this? I believe that today is the time when we shall see more and more of the fulfillment of the prophecy recorded in Isaiah 40:5 “And the glory of the lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it……for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Time appears short, things are happening quickly and we so need Jesus, and men are looking up expecting the Lord’s return. All mankind together will see it! The Lord will reveal His glory that all will see that He alone is God.
God chose Israel to reveal His presence and character to the nations, He then sent His own Son Jesus Christ to reveal this glorious truth. Today He sends you and I. He sends you and I because we are image bearers and are filled with His divine glory. In Jesus resided the fullness of the deity and that same Spirit resides in us.
Colossians 2: 9-10
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is head over every power and authority.
One by one lights are switched on, overpowering darkness as men and women respond to the call of Jesus Christ. Isaiah 60:2 “See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you.” We are the light shining in a broken and hurting world, and may we respond wholeheartedly as we are called to arise for the glory of the Lord is upon us!!
Father, not in our own strength, but in Your might and power let Your glory be manifest in us; Your body, Your church, Your bride, that Your Name be honoured and lifted high as the world sees a God who is Magnificent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, more glorious than we can imagine and yet we call Abba Father. Let Your Holy Spirit move upon us to stir and strengthen us that we may shine for You. We long to see Your glory fill the earth as the waters cover the sea. We long to see the Nations come to You as they see your goodness. We ask this in the Name above every other name, Jesus Christ. Amen
May you search for, and see, the glory of God this Christmas week.
Happy Christmas to you!