Glory. God created us for it (Isaiah 43:7). But what is it? Radiance? Weightiness? Majesty? If it’s the telos, the ultimate aim, the BIG IDEA, shouldn’t we know more about His glory? Is it an “it”, after all? These questions propelled me on a quest to learn more.
As the deer pants for the water, so Moses’ soul cried, “Show me your glory.” The vision for which his heart yearned, for which he’d trade his ticket to the Promised Land for, was the spectacle he initially shuttered to see (Exodus 3:6). What happened? How could Moses blossom from shivering to seeking? We need not wonder. From burning bush to smoldering mountain, Yahweh taught the heart of this Midianite shepherd to hunger for the greatest sight a creature can experience: the beauty which makes its beholder happy; the brightness which renders sunlight unneeded, the feast no darkness can dim.
Before you read God’s reply to Moses’ cry, allow me to explain the difference between two words. Although often used interchangeably, glory and glorify are not synonyms. To glorify means to praise, to magnify, to exalt. Whereas glory is what we’re compelled to glorify.
The glory of humans is basic, singular. For example, “The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old” (Proverbs 20:29). But the Lord’s glory is like a royal diadem. Although it’s one entity, it’s multifaceted; you can study His glory from many angles and never be able to describe all its luster.
The One Who planted the kernel in the seedbed of Moses’ heart would never cast it out, so when its fruit budded, God satisfied his hunger. In Exodus 33:18-23, we read:
Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”
Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.” (Emphasis added)
How did Yahweh summarize His glory? All His sovereign goodness would pass by Moses.
Many moons later, Jesus was counting sheep in the stern of a boat. Shivering in their sandals from the crashing waves, the disciples woke Jesus to see if He could help. Jesus said “Peace! Be still!” The sea turned from a serrated knife to a mirror. With racing hearts and knocking knees, the disciples asked, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:41) As with every question we ask God, He always answers. This question was no exception…
Many Sabbaths passed. The disciples were back in a boat while Jesus sat alone on a hillside, watching them. Like a confident bridegroom at the altar, He waited to be close enough to feel the warmth radiating from His beloved. True to this Bridegroom’s character, He didn’t wait for the apple of His eye to find Him; He moved toward her. Jesus stepped down from the sleepy slope into the storm.
He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. (Mark 6:48a)
The disciples’ eyes were glued on Jesus. Creation fled from His periphery. Thunder peeled. Angels gasped. Demons shuttered. It seemed as if the earth stopped spinning when heaven’s royal Diadem swallowed up their gaze. What happened next puzzled me for years:
He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. (Mark 6:48b-49) (Emphasis added)
Why would heaven’s Bridegroom, the One whose heart is gentle and lowly, pass by his disciples when they were shivering, exhausted, and helpless? Now, I see the answer. The question raised during the first boat scene – Who is this? Even the wind and waves obey Him! – He answered during the second… Jesus is the One Exodus 33 foreshadowed: the very embodiment of God’s goodness, which passed by His beloved. God’s Glory is Jesus!
No different from the time when Pontius Pilate asked – “What is truth?” – Jesus’ humble lips need not utter a word, for He is the Word. He is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being. What other reply could satisfy?
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
The disciples beheld heaven’s Bliss. They feasted on an unclouded vision of the Morning Star. And if seeing His silhouette was not enough, the face which could have buried Moses, which scaled Saul’s eyes, slowly turned toward them! What would His expression be? Would He turn His face against them? With eyes like doves and cheeks beaming with light, Jesus gazed at His beloved with all the warmth of heaven. It was the countenance Moses yearned to behold; the vision which melted anxiety and dashed fear upon the rocks of omnipotence.
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)
Isaiah 43:7 says we’re created for God’s glory. Colossians 1:16 states Christ made us for Himself. Is this a contradiction? By no means.
In light of this, let’s glorify God’s Glory as we “wait for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,” (Titus 2:13). If we pursue purity of heart, we shall see His face (Matthew 5:8).
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)
Written by Logan Stogner. 2022 Copyright
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