Summary: Can the glory of God be seen in times of great catastrophe? The answer is yes. And we can help reveal God's great glory to our world.
The Glory of God in a Great Catastrophe
Sermon by Rick Crandall
McClendon Baptist Church - January 17, 2010
Series: Exploring the Glory of God in 2010
*How bad was the earthquake in Haiti? One report called it the worst earthquake in 200 years. And I am not sure about that, but it was certainly one of the worst. The earthquake that struck last Tuesday afternoon was 7.0 on the Richter Scale, and it was followed by at least 14 aftershocks greater than 5.0. The Richter Scale is set up so that each number is ten times worse than the number below it. This means that a 7.0 earthquake is a hundred times worse than a 5.0. Structures of all kinds were destroyed last Tuesday. The Red Cross estimated that about three million people were affected by the quake. The death toll is projected to be from 30,000 to 500,000 people. (1)
*Can the glory of God be seen in times of great catastrophe? The answer is yes. These words of prophecy in Isaiah 40 were spoken to people who would experience great catastrophe, people who were desperately going to need comfort. They had been disobedient to God for hundreds of years. So the Lord was going to allow their nation to be destroyed by the cruel Babylonians.
*Paul Barackman explained: “Rarely has history seen more concentrated misery than was to be found among these captives. Mothers had been separated from their children, and husbands from their wives. Many had starved to death during the terrible siege. Many more were left dead on the battlefield. Children died miserably on the forced march to Babylon. And their homes were forever destroyed. (2)
*They were going to need comfort, and God began to send it in Isaiah 40. But as God spoke to their misery, He also proclaimed the revelation of His glory. As He said in vs. 5: “The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
*God’s glory is so important to Him that He speaks about it 300 times in His Word. And since God’s glory is important to Him, it should also be important to us. But what is God’s glory? The main Old Testament word picture for “glory” is a weight, something heavy, something to be taken very seriously. The main New Testament word picture for glory is magnificence, splendor and brightness like we see in the sun, moon and stars.
*John Piper says that the glory of God refers to His infinite and overflowing fullness of all that is good. Walter Kimbrough said that God’s “glory is best defined as the outward shining of God's inner-being.” (3)
*That tells us a little bit about God’s glory. And His glory is so important to Him that God has a sure plan to reveal His glory. In Num 14:21, the Lord told Moses, “Truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.” Habakkuk 2:14 tells us that “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” And vs. 5 here says, “the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
*When the Lord comes back, we will see His glory in all of its fullness. But until that day comes, God wants to reveal His glory to us and through us. How can we help reveal the glory of God?
1. First: By comforting God’s people.
*God reveals His glory by bringing comfort and care to His people. Listen to the Lord in Jeremiah 9:23-24:
23. Thus says the Lord: "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
24. but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,'' says the Lord.
*John 2:11 talks about the first miracle that Jesus performed when He was at a wedding. There Jesus turned water into wine, and John says: “This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.”
*In John 11, Jesus heard that His friend Lazarus was sick. The Lord knew that Lazarus was going to die. He knew that He would raise Lazarus from the dead four days later. And He knew that this would be done for the glory of God. So in John 11:4, Jesus said: “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”