Tag Archives: Glory

God’s Glory

You have set your glory above the heavens. (Psalm 8:1 ESV)

Without using the word “green” describe green. Without using words that are colors, describe color. We know what colors are because we can see them and because we are taught the names of certain colors. How do you describe color to someone who is blind? You cannot taste or feel or smell a color. You can taste and feel and smell objects that are a certain color. Can sounds accurately describe and define a color? Can a feeling truly describe a color? Without sight, color means whatever the imagination assigns to it. Yet, color is a real thing. God created an unimaginable number of colors.  Just because we cannot see them does not mean they are not real. Our imagination cannot conceive the breadth and depth of the colors God created.

Now, try to describe God’s glory. Our senses can perceive the glory of God only after those senses are trained and exposed to His glory. We are blind people trying to see His glory. We are deaf and mute trying to hear and describe Him with inadequate words. We, who have no true sense of smell, taste Him only in a small, almost insignificant way. If we are to know His glory, He must reveal Himself to us in a way we can understand and comprehend. 

He has revealed Himself in creation. He has given us the tools needed to know Him in the given image of God. He has expressed His glory in the Hebrew Scripture and the New Testament writings. He has shown Himself in the person of Jesus Christ. God’s glory surrounds us and fills us and is the environment that sustains our lives. Yet, we are blind and deaf and dumb, unfeeling, with no sense of taste or smell. We miss Him because we make ourselves unaware of Him. Our being cries out to intimately know Him while our bent and corrupt sin nature recoils at the thought and presence of God and His righteousness.

“For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Romans 7:22-24 ESV)

God wants everyone to know Him, so He makes obvious the evidence of His glory. In this Psalm, the word glory means grandeur, splendor, and beauty. We can see with our eyes a small part of the physical universe. On a clear night, in a darkened area, stars seem to fill and overflow the sky. God has set His glory above the stars. His glory surrounds all creation and is infused in creation. God’s glory is there for all to see and experience.

But all do not see and experience God’s glory. “You have set your glory above the heavens” (Psalm 8:1 ESV). The words, have set means to put, to assign or grant, to designate and appoint. It is the desire of the Son of God that all recognize the glory of God and that they assign His glory the highest place in their view and perception.

God drives home this requirement that all give Him the highest glory by sending His Son. People saw Jesus, witnessed His work and heard His words. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14 ESV). His life points people to God, directing them away from sin, the world, their own flesh and the Deceiver, toward the Giver of Life and the Creator of all creation. God reveals Himself and His glory in the historical person of His Son, Jesus Christ.

“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again” (John 12:27-28 ESV).

We will see and experience the glory of God. Right now, those who are His see and experience the glory of God. Ultimately, everyone created in the image of God will stand before Him in judgment. Those who take refuge in Him will find themselves in His glorious presence for eternity. Those who continue rebelling against Him find themselves separated from the eternal source of life. All will recognize Him and His glory.

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11 ESV)

God, My Protector

Meditations on the Psalms

But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. (Psalm 3:3 ESV)

Though surrounded by those who demean Him, give false testimony against Him, and mock Him, Jesus knows with whom the ultimate authority and control resides. Nothing done by the Deceiver, the world or those who follow their own sinful flesh will impact Him or keep Him from accomplishing His eternal purpose.

Again, Jesus uses the proper name for God, YHWH, as He addresses the One who protects Him. He declares God is a shield surrounding Him. Shield is a small or large defensive weapon, flat and covered with leather, used to deflect the blows of a sword or stop arrows from reaching their target, the soldier carrying the shield. Smaller shields were used in hand-to-hand combat, both defensively and offensively. God is His Protector.

God is not just a Protector. God is His glory, His honor, abundance, dignity, reputation. And God is the lifter of His head, which means God raises Him up, with the dignity and splendor due His royal position.

This claim seems diametrically opposed to the previous account where Jesus is surrounded and mocked by His foes, by those who are torturing Him to death. We must not forget the beginning of His history in the space-time universe, nor the conclusion of His ministry before He returns to His rightful place in eternity.

After the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem of Judea, He and His parents were visited by worshippers from an Eastern country. These visitors saw in the heavens the imminent birth of the king of the Jews. Traveling from their country, they sought out Herod the Great, a non-Jew, who was the leader and overseer of Judea under the Roman empire. “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him” (Matthew 2:2 ESV). Herod was not delighted with the proclamation of these men but did not show his anger to them. He was a ruler who conspired against the Lord and His Anointed. “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed” (Psalm 2:2 ESV). He deceptively instructed the men from the East to find the child and return to him, so “I too may come and worship him” (Matthew 2:8 ESV).

They left Herod’s presence and found Jesus and worshipped Him as God. Jesus was with His mother, Mary, and they gave Him “gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11 ESV), gifts suitable for a recognized King. They did not return to Herod to tell him about Jesus. “And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way” (Matthew 2:12 ESV). God warned them to not return to Herod, just as God warned Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father, to flee their country.

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” (Matthew 2:13-15 ESV; see Hosea 11:1)

Herod’s intent was to slaughter the child. He was shrewd and ruthless in keeping his political and personal power, murdering members of his own family. He cared only for those who would advance his authority over the land he ruled. He wanted to kill Jesus but did not know how to identify the child. So, he slaughtered all of the children in the vicinity of where the men from the East said Jesus lived. “Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men” (Matthew 2:16 ESV). None of the children he murdered, or any of their family, were guilty of a crime against him or their country.

Throughout the ministry of Jesus, God shielded Him from the assaults of a world that hated Him, until the end of His ministry. Then He felt the brunt of the world’s hatred toward God and died. After He died, God lifted His head, raised Him from the dead, and brought Him into His presence, returning to Him the glory He set aside to become a man. “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11 ESV).