The Glory of God.
Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. (Exodus 40:34-35)
What is the glory of God? The Hebrew word for glory is kaw-bode’ and means splendor, honor, dignity. A term often used to describe God’s glory is Shechinah Glory. While the word Shechinah doesn’t appear in scripture, it is certainly referenced; it means to Tabernacle, to dwell, to make manifest. It expresses the very real presence of God. I fear we’ve lost a true concept of what the Glory of God is all about. In our corporate worship we’ve become too familiar, we’ve lost our awe of the God we serve. In our private time, we often do “worship on the run”. Have we become so busy, or perhaps so lazy, that we don’t give God a respectable portion of our time? What could be better than coming into the presence of the Living God? Think about it, just you and God, no cell phones, no interruptions, no demands. Has it been so long since you’ve had that kind of time with the Father that you can’t remember how sweet it is?
The Glory of God is as a consuming fire.
Now the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. (Exodus 24:17)
We’ve all seen the pictures of California’s wild fires. The fires burn hot and spread quickly, thousands of acres are consumed by the flames. That’s a good analogy of how scripture describes the Glory of God. When we come into God’s presence, we are to come fearfully, knowing that when we stand in the midst of His glory there will be nothing left of ourselves. We will be consumed.
The Glory of God is a covering.
Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys. (Exodus 40:34-38)
God gave the Israelites a cloud to guide them as they traveled during the day, the cloud hung over the Tabernacle. The people kept their eyes on the cloud and when it moved, they moved, when the cloud didn’t move, neither did they. Sadly, too many times during their journey, the Israelites lost their trust in God and sinned in their disobedience to Him. God’s glory still directs His children. but if we want God to guide our way to the promised land, we too have to trust Him and be obedient. When God says “go” we ought to go; when God says “stay”, we ought to stay.
The Glory of God is righteous judgment.
Then Korah assembled all the congregation against them at the entrance of the tent of meeting. And the glory of the LORD appeared to all the congregation. And the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, “Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.” And they fell on their faces and said, “O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and will you be angry with all the congregation?” And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Say to the congregation, Get away from the dwelling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.” Then Moses rose and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. And he spoke to the congregation, saying, “Depart, please, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest you be swept away with all their sins.” So they got away from the dwelling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. And Dathan and Abiram came out and stood at the door of their tents, together with their wives, their sons, and their little ones. And Moses said, “Hereby you shall know that the LORD has sent me to do all these works, and that it has not been of my own accord. If these men die as all men die, or if they are visited by the fate of all mankind, then the LORD has not sent me. But if the LORD creates something new, and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into Sheol, then you shall know that these men have despised the LORD.” And as soon as he had finished speaking all these words, the ground under them split apart. And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the people who belonged to Korah and all their goods. So they and all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol, and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly. And all Israel who were around them fled at their cry, for they said, “Lest the earth swallow us up!” And fire came out from the LORD and consumed the 250 men offering the incense. (Numbers 16:19-35)
God always judges righteously. God judges by His word. His word is truth. When God told Moses to build a Tabernacle (Exodus 25-31), He gave detailed requirements for how everything was to be constructed. First, instruction for the tabernacle itself, then for the Ark of the Covenant, and then the Mercy Seat of God. Inside the Ark, were the tablets of the law and atop the Ark was the mercy seat. The Ark and Mercy Seat resided behind a veil, in the Holy of Holies. Each year on the Day of Atonement, the high priest entered the Holy of Holies and sprinkled the blood of animals sacrificed for the atonement of the sins of God’s people. From the Mercy Seat, God judged, according to His word. We have a unique privilege that the Israelites didn’t have. Jesus. Jesus is the veil that covers us. We can enter into the Holy of Holies and stand in the full glory of God. Jesus is our Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14), we have no need for any other intercessor. Jesus is our propitiation , we can come to the mercy seat and receive forgiveness. Hallelujah!
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
When this world passes away and we take up residence in our heavenly home, the sun, moon and stars will cease to exist? At that time – the glory of God will provide all the light that is needed; talk about global warming!
The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. (Isaiah 60:19)
As we consider God’s glory, we should feel humbled. God’s word gives us truth that should awaken our minds to the awesomeness of the glory of God.
Give It Some Thought:
God’s word, from Genesis to Revelation is consistent; God is unchanging. See if you can find New Testament scripture that points back to the OT attributes of the Glory of God. A consuming fire? A covering? Righteous judgment? Do you have a regular time that you spend with God? Do you prepare yourself for personal worship? If so, how? Do you prepare yourself for corporate worship? If so, how? Based on what you’ve learned about the Glory of God, what changes do you think you might make, to prepare yourself for worship.