“The True Glory of God”, by John Currid

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Glory by 

In Exodus 33, we witness an intimate discourse between God and Moses. Within this divine human dialogue, Moses makes an odd request: “Moses said, ‘Please show me your glory.’ And he said, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name “The LORD.” And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy’” (vv. 18–19).

What exactly is Moses asking of God when he requests to see His “glory”? And how do we understand God’s answer to Moses’ question?

Moses’ question to God is strange to our ears because of our modern understanding of the word glory. To us, it is commonly used of honor bestowed on someone by common consent. For example, when one goes to the field of battle, he hopes to win glory, that is, he hopes his actions in war will earn accolades and honor from others. Glory in this sense is man-centered, and it can be illusory. As Montaigne (AD 1580) so aptly says:

Of all illusions in the world, the most universally received is the concern for reputation and glory, which we espouse even to the point of giving up riches, rest, life, and health, which are effectual and substantial goods, to follow that vain phantom and mere sound that has neither body or substance.

The Hebrew word for “glory” is kabob, and in the Old Testament it can refer to honor that humans receive (for example, Gen. 45:13; Est. 5:11). However, the word has a much broader meaning than mere human accolades. The word itself in the Hebrew language literally means “heavy/weighty.” It is often used in a quantitative sense: so Absalom used to cut his hair once a year because it was “heavy” on him (2 Sam. 14:26); Pharaoh’s chariots drove “heavily” in the Red Sea in pursuit of the fleeing Israelites (Ex. 14:25); and Moses’ hands were “heavy” when he held up the staff of God in a battle against the Amalekites (Ex. 17:12).

But the word glory is also employed in a qualitative sense in the Bible. It can refer to something that is weighty, heavy, or filled with a particular quality or trait. Often it can reflect the moral quality that defines a person. Thus, in the exodus account, when the verdict is reached that Pharaoh’s heart is “hardened,” or literally, “heavy,” this signifies that his heart is filled with iniquity and injustice. His heart is “weighty/heavy” with sin. This defines his very being and character.

When Moses asks God to show him His “glory,” the Hebrew leader is asking that God reveal to him who He is, that is, the very essence of His being. The Lord responds by proclaiming His name Yahweh in front of Moses.

This self-designation in Hebrew literally means “I am that I am,” and it signifies three things about the nature of God.

  1. First, God is self-existent and independent of creation.
  2. Second, He is immutable, unchanging.
  3. Finally, it implies the eternity of His being.

The Lord then answers Moses by using an idem per idem formula to express His nature. This formula — “gracious…gracious” and “mercy…mercy” — signifies that God is autonomous, free to bestow His grace and compassion on whomever He pleases. It underscores the doctrine of the sovereignty of God.

Because the word glory defines the very essence of God’s being, it came to be used of the very presence of God among His people.

So we read in Exodus 16:10 that the people of Israel looked into the wilderness and “the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud.” Biblical scholars call this type of appearance of God the shekinah glory, that is, the dwelling presence of God with His people. It is this glory cloud that descends on and covers Mount Sinai when God reveals His word to His people (Ex. 24:15–16). It is this glory cloud that descends into the Holy of Holies in both the tabernacle and the temple (Ex. 40:34–381 Kings 8:10– 11).

The shekinah glory is a sign that God’s very being and essence reside in the midst of His people.

The greatest manifestation of the dwelling presence of God’s glory (essence/being) among His people is in the incarnation of Jesus Christ. The Apostle John tells us that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

The Greek word that John uses for “dwelt” means “to tabernacle,” and it is a clear reference to the dwelling presence of God in the tabernacle/ temple of the Old Testament. The reality is that “something greater than the temple is here” (Matt. 12:6).

Jesus is the true glory of God.

Dr. John D. Currid is Carl McMurray Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, N.C., and senior pastor at Ballantyne Presbyterian Church in Charlotte.
John D. Currid, Author
Source: Ligonier Ministries, Tabletalk Magazine, Inc. Article: Glory by John Currid

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“Joy Comes in The Morning”, the fullness of joy comes with the Light of God’s presence.

 

 

Psalm 30:5
Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Our trials are temporal, they live in this world (they tarry) as we do- in a world that some might call yet living in another ‘night’. It is in great need of the Son, the Light that brings renewal, healing and the end of all weeping to mankind. Until that ultimate joy, we can find Joy because it seeks us and desires our hearts. Joy comes with the Light of the morning. It comes with the Light of God’s love in every hour that dawns right now, right here for each of us. It is in His Promises of Joy. 

John 16:22
So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.

Born into this world of sin, we experience the sorrows of mortal life. When we are reborn in Christ by the power of Grace our hearts rejoice. We “see” Jesus. We witness the face of The Lord by seeing His Glory. This causes a joy, even here and now that does not fade, not even in this world. Nothing can take this away.

Psalm 16:11
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

The Presence of Christ becomes a part of one’s life. It takes root at the core of the heart. The fullness of joy pours like water filling each heart vessel. We are His vessels overflowing with the pleasures of mercy for eternity.  His right hand is the Path of life that leads home to God.  

1 Peter 1:8-9
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

The face of Christ is a mystery. The resurrected Christ is in Glory. We do not see him with our physical eyes yet many are witness to the glorious joy of knowing him with the eyes of the heart. We are told in scripture that we can see the glory of God in His word. Christ loved us sacrificially for the salvation of our souls. For me, the inexpressible and glorious joy is in loving the Christ that I see, the one that I witness so mightily in prayer and devotion.

Romans 12:15
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

When we rejoice with our hearts full of grace – love, and empathy for those that are grieving or in trials is part of our command. Joy and weeping are part of the same love. Christ’s love for us was a sacrificial love. We learn about love, joy, and rejoicing from our Redeemer and the one that gave us Grace.

Philippians 2:1-2
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

So, if indeed we are encouraged by our experience of the love of God, let us move forward by being loving towards one another. Let us encourage one another, comfort one another and be healing agents in the world that we live in. May our participation in the Spirit complete our Joy by united us!

1 Chronicles 16:27
Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his place.