Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What Is God's Glory?

Sometimes a devotion just reaches out and plucks at one's soul. And today's daily devotion from The High Calling does just that.

If there's one verse in Scripture that I try to live by, that I try to apply to my life most consistently, it's this:

"...whatever you do, do all for the glory of God."
-- 1Corinthians 10:31, ESV

So Mark Roberts' wonderful Daily Reflection from The High Calling explores this concept of God's glory beautifully and deeply. It's the kind of reflection that settles into my very marrow, uniting body, soul, and spirit into a single flame of worship. Enjoy and ponder....

What Is God's Glory, Part 2
          Ezekiel 10:1-22

"Then the LORD’s glory rose from above the winged creatures and moved toward the temple’s threshold. The temple was filled with the cloud, and the courtyard was filled with the brightness of the LORD’s glory."
Ezekiel 10:4

In yesterday’s reflection, I began to examine the nature of God’s glory as it’s revealed in the Old Testament. We saw that the basic Hebrew word for glory, kabod, comes from a root that means “heaviness.” God’s glory is heavy in the sense that it comprises all the goodness of God. Add together God’s majesty, power, grace, justice, wisdom, and love, and you begin to fathom God’s all-encompassing “heaviness,” his glory.

Yet the notion of heaviness does not fully convey, in English, the glory of God. In fact, if we equate God’s glory with heaviness, we might miss an essential quality of his glory. Let’s take another look at Ezekiel 10:4: “Then the LORD’s glory rose from above the winged creatures and moved toward the temple’s threshold. The temple was filled with the cloud, and the courtyard was filled with the brightness of the LORD’s glory.” God’s glory is not like a giant rock that sits there passively because it is so large it cannot do anything else. Rather, God’s glory shines like the sun.

In fact, if we’re looking for an image to represent, however incompletely, the glory of God, the sun is a strong candidate. For one thing, the sun is the heaviest object in our solar system (with a weight estimated at more than a hundred times that of the earth). But, of course, the sun doesn’t just sit there. Rather, it is continuously active, burning so fiercely that it lights and warms the earth, which is about 93 million miles away.

The similarity between God’s glory and the sun is found in Scripture. Consider, for example, the promise of Isaiah 60:19: “The sun will no longer be your light by day, nor will the moon shine for illumination by night. The LORD will be your everlasting light; your God will be your glory.” This promise comes true in the vision of the heavenly city found in Revelation 21:23: “The city doesn’t need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because God’s glory is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.”

You and I are called to live our lives in the light of God’s glory. We do so when we acknowledge his glory in worship, and when we live worshipfully each moment, thus reflecting the glory of God in the world.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Can you think of other analogies for God’s glory, besides the sun? How might you live in the light of God’s glory today?

O splendor of God’s glory bright,
O Thou that bringest light from light;
O Light of light, light’s living spring,
O day, all days illumining.
O Thou true Sun, on us Thy glance
Let fall in royal radiance;
The Spirit’s sanctifying beam
Upon our earthly senses stream.
All laud to God the Father be;
All praise, eternal Son, to Thee;
All glory, as is ever meet,
To God the holy Paraclete.


“O Splendor of God’s Glory Bright,” Latin original by Ambrose of Milan, 4th century. English translation by Robert S. Bridges and John M. Neale. Public domain.
If you would like to peruse Part 1 of "What Is God's Glory," click here: Part 1

Aaaah. I just love Saint Ambrose's beautiful hymn. Hymns from the Early Church resonate with me soooo deeply, just knowing how they've been a means of worship for Christians around the globe and through the centuries, and that we can join in worship with the Heavenly Host when we, too, raise our voices through these ancient, holy words.

So may we all shine with the glory of God while we go about our ordinary daily routines, His glory making the ordinary extraordinary. Because that's what He does.

Soli Deo Gloria, this day and always,

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