…and My glory I will not give to another nor my praise to carved idols. Isaiah 42:8b
We often hear about the ‘Glory of God’, so let us take a moment to consider what the glory of God is. As it is the Glory of God, it is something only God has and only He can give. We know that God has chosen to work through the His people, which is such an honor. He has given us many gifts that enable us to do what He calls us to do. For example, we have been given the gifts of the Spirit – prophecy, healing etc.(1 Corinthians 12:4-11). If someone is in need of encouragement, God might choose to speak His words to one of his children, who are then able to take that prophetic encouragement and give it to the person God wants to build up. It is our privilege as sons and daughters of the most high God to be partakers in establishing the rule and reign of His Kingdom here on earth. But when the Glory of God comes down, it bypasses man. It is God sovereignly doing what He will.
It is no easy task to define the Glory of God. The word ‘glory’ is used many times and is used to describe honor, praise, splendor, and wonder. It is used both for God and man. However the phrase, ‘Glory of God’ is obviously only used for God. In Exodus 33:18, Moses asked God to show him His glory. John Bevere says, “The Hebrew word for ‘glory’ used by Moses in this instance was kabowd. It is defined by Strong’s Bible Dictionary as “the weight of something, but only figuratively in a good sense.” Its definition also speaks of splendor, abundance, and honor.” Moses was asking, “Show me Yourself in all Your splendor.” Look carefully at God’s response: Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you.” —Exodus 33:19
We see then that the glory of the Lord is everything that makes God, God. All His characteristics, authority, power, wisdom—literally the immeasurable weight and magnitude of God—are contained within God’s glory. Nothing is hidden or held back!
In the Old Testament the Glory of God is not only His honor, renown, and majesty, but also His visible splendor. In the New Testament, glory becomes splendor, radiance and majesty centered in Jesus. The majestic absolute perfection residing in Christ and evidenced by miracles He performed. (John 11:40-44, 17:4, Hebrews 1:3)
“So here is an attempt at a definition. The glory of God is the infinite beauty and greatness of God’s manifold perfections. The infinite beauty—and I am focusing on the manifestation of his character and his worth and his attributes, all of his perfections and greatness are beautiful as they are seen and there are many of them. That is why I use the word manifold.” John Piper.
The scripture tells us, that this magnificent Glory will not be given to another. The glory of God was given to and is now resident in Jesus. It is seen within man and in the earth, but it is not of them; it is of God. This glory is magnificent and holy. God is jealous over His glory. Romans 1:21-25: “…because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man – and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”
We see in this scripture the way people worshiped idols. Truly this is a tragedy. It is the heart of idolatry. Yet, is it not something we have all done? In someway, at sometime we “exchange the glory of God for the glory of man.” We trust man rather than God. We might trust talent or beauty or even the goodness of man rather than God. We trust in our own ability rather than God. Matthew 6:20-21 says, “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Idols can be our heart attitudes, they can be those things we hold above the Lord in our hearts, be it our families, work, or even our ministry. They can also be things like fear, anxiety, rejection that we hold on to. But we thank Jesus that He came to lead us from one degree of glory to the next (2 Corinthians 3:17-18). In addition we see in John 11:40: “Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?…” Because of Jesus, and only Jesus, it is possible for us to see the Glory of the Lord.
Many of us have tasted or seen glimpses of His Glory. My heart longs for so much more. I long for that Glory of the Lord that by-passes man and comes down like we hear in the many testimonies of Revival. For a greater degree of the manifestation of His Glory to be seen on earth, let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ; let us keep our hearts humble, hungry and open to our Lord. Let us continually worship God and God alone. When those sneaky idols come our way, let us destroy them and not give ourselves to them but give God the glory due His name. We know that this can only be done in Christ. May we honor Him and exalt Him, living our lives unto Him. Then by His amazing grace, may we see His Glory come down in an ever increasing measure.