God’s Glory is one of the most magnificent things we will ever encounter, yet most people live as if it did not exist. The Bible says much about God’s Glory and speaks about it being on display. If it is on display, how come so many do not recognize it?
This post discusses God’s Glory and helps us appreciate this precious expression of our creator.
What is God’s “Glory”?
God’s Glory is ‘the expression of who He is’. It is what radiates from His being. It is the sheer impressive reality of who He is.
Now, because God’s Glory is that which emanates from Him it is both wonderful and terrible.
Because God is Omnipresent (in every place at the same time – filling the universe) then His Glory must also be everywhere. The expression of who God is must be being displayed and pressed upon us in many ways all the time, in every direction we look.
The Hebrew word used for God’s ‘glory’ is ‘kabod’. This word means “weight”, as in the weight of a person’s authority. A being which is eternal in scope will weigh much more than the whole of creation.
God’s “kabod” was not only something attributed to Him as respect or honour is attributed to people, but it became visible as a cloud of glory. More on that cloud later.
Eyes to See
If God’s Glory is everywhere, then how are we to be able to see it? We must have eyes to see. We must have the right kind of sight to see the right kind of things.
One of our problems is that we tune out to certain things, like ignoring sounds we don’t care for, or overlooking things that are unimportant to us. Some days we have what seems like new senses. Something will trigger us to become alert to all kinds of things which have always been there, and we can appreciate them anew. We smell the roses, drink in the sunshine, stop to listen to a bird call and so on.
Those things were always there, but we had become buried in life and stopped noticing them. Having ‘eyes to see’ refers to the opening of our spiritual senses to observe what has always been there, but which we became blind to.
Take a Look
The Bible points us to several places where we will see God’s Glory.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork.” Psalm 19:1
Creation is an open display of the Glory of God. Depth of colour, diversity of design, amazing intricacy, profound complexity, elegant simplicity, grandeur of scale and immensity of force are some of the impressions one can gain from simply looking at what God created.
One who could conceive such things and bring them to pass simply by speaking His word is a glorious being beyond our comprehension.
The Bible also tells us that Christ displays the Glory of God.
“And the Word (Christ) was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
“Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.” John 13:31
“And whatever you will ask for in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” John 14:13
“And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together: for the mouth of the LORD has spoken it.” Isaiah 40:5
God’s presence at times appeared in a manifestation of His Glory. One such manifestation was that of fire. This was seen multiple times by Moses and the nation of Israel.
“And the glory of the LORD rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day God called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.” Exodus 24:16,17
In this manifestation of God’s Glory the sight was of a devouring fire. That is the same as Moses saw when he came to the burning bush. And the Bible refers to God in the terms “our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29).
The Glory Cloud
A less fearsome expression of God’s presence, or His manifested glory, was seen in a cloud. When the Israelites built the special tent of worship, the Tabernacle, according to God’s instructions, God appeared at the tent in a cloud.
“Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud rested there, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.” Exodus 40:34,35
This vision of a cloud of God’s Glory also appeared in the New Testament. When Jesus took Peter, James and John to a mountain where He was transfigured, there were several supernatural manifestations, including the presence of Moses and Elijah. God’s Glory was seen in the form of a cloud.
“While Peter spoke, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear him.” Matthew 17:5
God is Light
Another visible manifestation of God’s Glory is in the form of ‘light’.
“And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.” Luke 2:9
“And it came to pass, that, as I came close to Damascus about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone round about me. And I fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to me, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? And I answered, Who are you, Lord? And he said to me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you persecute. And they that were with me saw the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice. And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said to me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it will be told you what is appointed for you to do. And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus.” Acts 22:6-11
“And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” Revelation 21:23
“There will be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God gives them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.” Revelation 22:5
We know that ‘the whole earth is full of God’s glory’, so how come we can’t see it?
Firstly, because our minds are darkened and even blinded by the enemy.
“Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” Ephesians 4:18
“The god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine to them.” 2Corinthians 4:4
“But he that hates his brother is in darkness, and walks in darkness, and knows not where he goes, because that darkness has blinded his eyes.” 1John 2:11
“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” Acts 26:18
Rejecting the Sight
A Second reason why people fail to see God’s Glory is that they resist it, not wanting to see it at all.
We are told that this is what people have done, so they can live their lives of sin.
“When they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” Romans 1:21
We also see that the Children of Israel were so terrified by God’s Glory that they asked God not to speak to them or make Himself known to them.
“And all the people saw the thunder, and the lightning, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said to Moses, You speak with us, and we will hear: but do not let God speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said to the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that you sin not. And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.” Exodus 20:18-21
A third reason why we do not see God’s Glory in full manifestation is that we cannot see God and live.
“And God said, You cannot see my face: for no man will see me, and live.” Exodus 33:20
The sheer searing heat of God’s Glory would incinerate our sin-ridden and mortal lives. Imagine being subjected to incredibly intense laser light. You would burn up in such intensity. Yet what we know of such things is a mere token of the brilliance of God’s presence.
So we are shielded from the intensity of God’s Glory, seeing reflections or representations of it, rather than the intensity of the real thing.
When we stand in the undiluted radiance of God’s glory, all that is in us that is incompatible with His light will be ‘blown away’ by the intensity of His glory. It would kill us, that’s why no man can see God and live! So God has to show us His glory at the strength we can handle. If our life is polluted with self and sin then the best we can expect is to see His glory in creation or in Christ’s life and work.
Changed by the Glory
We are meant to see God’s glory. In fact we are to share in it, having God’s glory in our own lives!
“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:17,18
“Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 13:43
How will this be possible? The process is that we are to look on God’s Glory and be changed by seeing Him. Sin and self are to be burned up in us as we see His awesome holiness and glory.
“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.” 2Corinthians 3:18
We are meant to see and experience the Glory of God, in its purest and most intense form, like the priests in the Tabernacle who had to leave because God’s presence came down. See Exodus 40:34,35, 1Kings 8:10,1I and 2 Chronicles 5:13,14.
Is there something in you that would be ‘blown away’ by the radiance of God’s presence? Then deal with it! Look on Him, praise Him and expect to see a richer and fuller glimpse of the Glory that is issuing forth from God continually.
Allow that to keep on impacting and transforming you from one degree of God’s glory to another in your life. Open your eyes to see this wonderful thing and let it make you one who shares in His glory.