Devotional Thoughts for Today
“The Glory of God”
Exodus 33:21-23 (NASB)
Then the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; 22 and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.”
Glory is something that is very difficult to describe. Whenever I play basketball with people who are older and out of shape, we like to talk fondly about their “glory days” when we used to be able to run around, dunk and do all sorts of things that we can no longer do. But now, we need to stretch just to make sure we don’t pull a muscle. When we think of our “glory days,” we think of the peak of our human existence, when we felt like we were on the top of the world. Depending on how old you are, you will typically see yourself as either approaching the apex of your life or coming down from the apex of your life. Whether it be our physical attributes, our beauty, our careers, our energy level, we know that there is a peak in our existence that doesn’t last forever – which is why those that have passed it always refer back to the “glory days.” We have trouble defining glory because it is so hard to grasp – human glory is fleeting.
But the glory of God is different in that it is constant throughout the ages. There is no waning of His glory. It is not defined by time or space. So how do we define the glory of God? In many different passages, it says that “the whole earth is full of his glory.” Perhaps a synonym to that would be beauty. The whole earth is full of his beauty. I think of my days in San Diego when I used to sit on the Cliffs in La Jolla and look at the vastness of the ocean, thinking of the greatness of God and the beauty that fills the whole earth. Creation is full of the glory of God – and we know that feeling when we encounter something that takes our breath away.
In this passage, it tells us that the glory of God was too much for Moses to comprehend. Moses found favor in the sight of God and God honors his request to see the glory of God. But the caveat is this: Moses can only see the backside of God because seeing God face to face would be too much for Moses. For Moses, there was absolutely no reference point as to what the fullness of the glory of God would look like, and it seems to be impossible to comprehend for any human being.
John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” As much as Moses longed to see the glory of God, he was not able to behold it. But we live in a time where we have not only seen the glory of God through Jesus Christ, we have the glorious Holy Spirit living within us. How does it make you feel to know that by knowing Jesus, you have known the glory of God that was too much for Moses to comprehend? May we not take for granted this glory that has been revealed to us. As you start your day, let me encourage you to pause and take a moment to reflect upon the glory of God that has been revealed to you – and let that prepare you for the day to come.
Prayer: Father God, everywhere I look, I want to be reminded of Your glory. But more than Your glory that is mirrored in creation, help me to see the fullness of Your glory. Help me to understand the gravity of the glorious Holy Spirit dwelling in me. May my life then become a reflection of that glory. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Samuel 28
Lunch Break Study
Read John 1:14-18 (ESV): 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. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
Question to Consider
- What do you think the “dwelling among us” means?
- What is the difference between the glory that Jesus embodies from the glory that Moses was able to see?
- How can you be more cognizant of the glory of God?
- The word that could be used here is “tabernacle,” as in, the Word became flesh and tabernacle among us. In the time when Israel was in the wilderness, they pitched a tent in the middle of an encampment where God would dwell with them. This was different from the gods of the past who were distant and far away, but God’s very presence was in their midst. Jesus and the fullness of His glory was described to have come into our very midst for the purpose of dwelling with us.
- John talks about the glory that we have seen in the manifestation of the Word of God through the flesh of Jesus Christ. Jesus, as the Son of the Father, was the fullness of the Father. At the time, sons were an extension of their father. Therefore, Jesus was not just a representative sent from the Father, but the fullness of the Father coming to them. God made himself known as a visible manifestation to explain the invisible God through Jesus Christ.
- Personal response.
Read this Psalm from David and spend a moment reflecting on God’s glory:
“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moons and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:1-4).