The Glory of God
What is the glory of God? As we approach Scripture to take a deeper dive into the glory of the living God it is imperative to note that any description or definition we could ever attempt to illustrate regarding the majesty and power of the omnipresence, omnipotence, and omniscience that is our God will always pale in comparison to a true experience with Him. God reveals this truth to us in Isaiah 55:9 when He says, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” The terms and explanations God has made available to us in His Word come to us in common language with deeper theological understanding made available through the power of the Holy Spirit. So, it is in this truth we will begin by praying for God to reveal to each of our hearts and minds the valuable understanding of His glory.
The Creator shared a relationship with His creation and advised Adam in Genesis 2:17 of the consequences of eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the middle of the garden. Pay particular attention to the words used here by God, “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” There is not an implication here from God that Adam is not going to do this, “For in the day that you eat.” This koinonia, or fellowship, God shared with Adam and Eve in the Garden was destined to be broken. Fortunately the Alpha and Omega already knew mankind’s weakness of pride. This allowed Him to have everything under control and the arrival of Jesus planned at the perfect time and in the perfect place to regain the relationship that would be severed on that day. The manifestation of God’s glory stems from the faith and trust we as believers have in His ability to accomplish the impossible using the improbable. It is in these moments the eyes of the world turn to bear witness to the unexplainable. These instances are intended to redirect those eyes to the glory of a God who longs for relationship with His people. The evidence of this is spread throughout the pages of the Bible. Who gave Abraham the faith and courage to walk his only son to the altar as a sacrifice? Who gave Moses the faith to stand before Pharaoh and then the power to part the Red Sea? The God that rewarded the faith and trust in the lives of Abraham and Moses also destroyed the walls of Jericho and gave over their people to Joshua and the Israelites using the power of yells and seven ram’s horns.
But God’s work didn’t stop in the Old Testament. Through Jesus Christ we now had witness to the second Adam and a glimpse into the heart and mind of our Creator. When we take a broader look at the life and ministry of Christ, it is easy to see the humility and power with which He served the Father while on earth. Those who came to listen to Him teach said He, “Spoke with great authority.” (Luke 4:32) It was through this powerful teaching and works that Jesus performed that the Father was glorified. John 11 accounts of a miracle where Jesus teaches us all the power in allowing God to be God. The scene is set where Jesus and the disciples had narrowly escaped a stoning incident in Jerusalem a few months earlier and they are camped just outside of Bethany where His good friends Lazarus, Mary, and Martha live. Martha and Mary sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was ill hoping He would come. Jesus stayed where He was for two more days before telling the disciples they were returning to Judea The disciples, fearing for their safety and that of Jesus, attempted to talk Him out of such a foolish decision, but Jesus, understanding what was about to happen and how God was about to be gloried in a mighty way, continued to the tomb where Lazarus had laid for four days. Upon His arrival Martha and Mary, along with a number of mourners from the surrounding community gathered to see what was about to happen. Jesus commands the stone in front of the tomb be removed and is met by Martha telling Him that doing so would reveal an odor because Lazarus had been entombed for four days already. To which Jesus responds, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40). She would witness the “glory of God”! Jesus turned His eyes to heaven and prayed, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” Jesus then called Lazarus to come out of the tomb to which he exited and was unwrapped of his grave clothes. This miracle caused many to believe in Jesus and motivated the Pharisees to plot against Him and plan His eventual death and resurrection bringing the ultimate glory to God.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. (1 John 4:7-12, ESV)
In conclusion, let us remember the God that dwells within us longs to be revealed to the world around us so that we may bring glory and praise to Him who will never leave us or forsake us.