I have been praying lately for us (myself included) to have a clearer grasp of the glory of God. When we hear that phrase, we are likely to think of God’s good qualities, such as his love and mercy and wisdom. Those are certainly aspects of God’s glory.
However, in the Bible, God’s glory is the magnificent splendour and brightness of his presence. “Fire goes before him and burns up his adversaries all around. His lightnings light up the world; the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the LORD” (Psalm 97:3-5). God dwells in “unapproachable light” (1 Tim. 6:16).
The experience of the prophet Isaiah is a good example of what happens when a human is granted a vision of God’s glory (Isaiah 6). He was first of all terrified and filled with a sense of unworthiness, and then, when God had lifted him up and assured him that he would not be destroyed, Isaiah wanted to go and tell others of the glory he had seen.
In our world, and perhaps especially in Eastern Suburbs life, people are kept from seeing God’s glory by the constant bombardment of the senses with the things of this world – particularly pleasure, but even our work and our difficulties can be the veil that keeps us from encountering the glory of God. This leads to a warped perspective on what is important and indeed on what is truly glorious. As lovely as they are, sun, sport, food, wine, family life and work satisfaction are less than nothing to the glory of God.
For you and me, the way to encounter God’s glory in Christ is primarily through his word the Bible and the work of his Holy Spirit. We need constant feeding with the word if we are to get, and keep, a true perspective on the glory of God.