Summary: I attempt to describe what the glory of God is (and it is a weak attempt,) why we need to ask to experience it and how to know we are seeing his glory.
“God, Show us Your Glory”
July 13, 2002
New Community Church
A true story - a woman entered a Haagen-Dazs store on the Kansas City Plaza for an ice-cream cone. After making her selection, she turned and found herself face to face with Paul Newman. He was in town filming the movie Mr. and Mrs. Bridge. Newman’s blue eyes caused her knees to buckle. She managed to pay for her cone, then left the shop, heart pounding. When she gained her composure, she realized she didn’t have her cone. She started back to the store to get it and met Newman at the door. "Are you looking for your ice-cream cone?" he asked. She nodded, unable to speak. "You put it in your purse with your change." When was the last time the presence of God quickened your pulse?
Today I want to talk about something I never heard much about in church but is found a whole lot in Scripture. That is God’s glory. Turn with me to Exodus 33:12-23 and let’s read it together.
I want to key in on the verse we are going to talk most about tonight and that is verse 18: “Now, show me your glory.”
We have started a series of messages on different attributes and characteristics of God. Over and over again you see in scripture the word “glory.” What is glory, better yet, what does it mean that God is glory?
The Hebrew word for glory in the Old Testament is “kabod”, meaning weight. It suggests something which radiates from the one who has it, leaving an impression behind. The New Testament word is “doxa”. “This word can be defined as beauty. Glory is not easy to define. How do you define beauty? God’s glory is the beauty of his manifold perfections. It can refer to the bright and awesome radiance that breaks forth in visible manifestations or it can refer to the infinite moral excellence of his character. In either case it signifies a reality of infinite greatness and worth.” (John Piper, Desiring God)
According to the Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible dictionary, glory is used in 3 senses.
#1). God’s moral beauty and perfection of character
#2). God’s moral beauty and perfection as a visible presence
In scripture this was displayed in the Old Testament when the fire would lead the Israelites as well as the cloud. Since the close of the O.T., the glory of God has been shown mainly in Christ and in the members of his church. 2 Corinthians 3:18 (More about this later)
#3). Praise. God’s glory may mean the honor and audible praise that his creatures give to him. Psalm 115:1
This “glory” is no insignificant thing to the Lord. Hear what he says about his glory in Isaiah 42:8, “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.” In 48:9-11 God says, For my own name’s sake I delay my wrath; for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you, so as not to cut you off. See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.”
He does not take his glory lightly because it is who he is. If God were any less glorious he wouldn’t be God.
Going back to our main passage I want us to understand how huge a request this is. Moses was not asking that God give him a photo of himself, he wasn’t asking for cab fare, Moses was asking God to show Him his glory.
Let me set the context here. Moses has just come down from Mt. Sinai the first time after receiving the law. He returned to find his people worshipping and celebrating a golden calf. He was so mad that he threw the 10 commandments down and broke them. God was angry. He was ready to do away with the people of Israel. But Moses intercedes on their behalf. In God’s great mercy and favor he spares the people. God wanted Moses to lead his people into the Promised Land. So, Moses bravely asks for help—help in being taught God’s ways and to continue to be in favor with God. God assures Moses of his request. He then asks for God’s presence to go with them. God grants that request too because the Lord his pleased with him. His third request he asks to see his glory.
The Lord answers his request—but not fully. God responds, “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 have compassion.. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”