Understanding God’s glory has very real, practical value for every true believer. Grasping it can unlock the door to an overcoming life!
The glory of God is a revelation of our Lord’s nature and being. We know Moses received a literal glimpse of God’s glory. God took him aside into the cleft of a rock and, scripture says, he revealed himself to Moses in all his glory: “The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” (Exodus 34:6-7).
Often when we think about the glory of God, we think of his majesty and splendor, his power and dominion. But the way God wants us to know his glory is through the revelation of his great love toward all men. That’s what he revealed to Moses. The Lord is forever waiting to show us his love to forgive us, shower us with his mercy, and restore us to himself!
This revelation of God’s glory has powerful effects on those who receive it and pray to understand it. At the first sight of his glory, Moses was no longer fearful of the Lord. Instead, he was moved to worship: “Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped” (34:8). He saw that God’s nature was one of kindness and tender mercy — total love!
True worship arises from hearts that are overcome by a vision of God’s unmerited love for us. It is based on the revelation that God gives us of himself, of his goodness, his mercy, his readiness to forgive. If we are to praise God both in spirit and in truth, our worship must be based on this awesome truth about him.
Seeing God’s glory changes the way we live! Each new revelation of his love and mercy brings supernatural change and makes us more like him. It also changes our relationships with others. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). Just like Paul told the Ephesian church then, it holds true today: We’ve seen and tasted the glory of God. Now, let’s be a reflection of that glory to others.
For the first time in history, less than 50 percent of Americans identify themselves as believers of any kind. That figure is even lower — 30 percent — for those under thirty. Many of these check “NONE” as their religious affiliation. It is estimated that within a decade this generation will be lost completely to secularism and godlessness. And tolerance for Christians will only decrease.
What are we to do with this information? The writer of Hebrews answers, “Recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings” (Hebrews 10:32).
God turned the suffering of those early Christians into tools for gospel power: “Sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction … you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For, ‘Yet a little while, and the coming one will come … but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.’ But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls” (10:33-39).
Although this seems to be a hard passage, there is good news embedded here. It speaks of a time when things get so bad that believers are tempted to shrink back from their message. Yet “we are not of those who shrink back … but of those who … preserve their souls” (10:39).
We may never face the same trials that New Testament believers did, but God still gives us New Testament power. Surely we will face trials of our own because we’re not immune to what is coming in the world. But those hardships will produce in us a power we’ve never seen.
The nonbelievers referenced above represent a soul headed to hell, someone for whom Jesus died. Those numbers alone call us to rise above mediocre Christianity to proclaim the gospel without fear or hindrance.
Christ’s great power is endued by grace alone and it is free to all who believe. May you be a testimony of his grace and power to all those in your sphere of influence today.
“Contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed … who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 3-4). We must discern, identify, confront, and learn to overcome and protect against the enemies of our faith.
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony” (Hebrews 11:1-2). There is only one way to maintain a good testimony for Christ and that is by the renewing and the defending of our faith. Think about how the enemy wants to steal, corrupt and abort your faith. The Bible is very clear that “without faith it is impossible to please [God]” (11:6).
The author of Hebrews gives an incredible word to all the young believers. There were thousands of them and they were to look to the older believers as models. “Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (13:7-8). He is saying, “Look at those who have brought the word of God to you and follow their conduct.”
Those of us who have been walking with the Lord and singing, worshiping him, and seeing him remain faithful all these years are to be examples, standards for those coming behind us to look to. This is an astonishing and humbling responsibility. Those younger in the faith are to follow our lives and actually see how we demonstrate our faith through the struggles and pain we endure.
The author of Hebrews is saying, “Look to them and follow their example!” And Jude is saying, “It’s urgent that you fight earnestly for the faith, for ungodly men have crept in unnoticed.” We are living in the last days of time and we must allow the Holy Spirit to teach us how to live and also to discern those things that would draw us away from our Jesus and cause us to deny him.
Claude Houde is the lead pastor of Eglise Nouvelle Vie (New Life Church) in Montreal, Canada. Under his leadership New Life Church has grown from a handful of people to more than 3500 in a part of Canada with few successful Protestant churches.
When King David was in a time of discouragement and struggle, he cried out: “I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long … I am feeble and severely broken; I groan because of the turmoil of my heart … My heart pants, my strength fails me; as for the light of my eyes, it also has gone from me” (Psalm 38:6, 8, 10).
This psalm shows us a godly, righteous man slumped in despair. David hungered for the Lord and poured out his heart to him daily in prayer. He revered God’s Word, writing psalms that extolled his glory, but now all he could do was cry, “Lord, I’m at the end of my rope and I have no idea why it’s happening.”
Like many discouraged Christians, David tried to figure out why he felt so empty and broken in spirit. He probably relived every failure, sin and foolish deed in his life. He finally reasoned that God must have been chastening him: “O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your wrath, nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure!” (Psalm 38:1).
David is not writing just about his own condition in this psalm. He’s describing something that all devoted lovers of Jesus face at some point in their lifetime. It is important to note that the spirit of discouragement is Satan’s most potent weapon against God’s elect. Most often, he uses it to try to convince us that we have brought God’s wrath upon ourselves by not measuring up to his holy standards. But the apostle Paul urges us not to fall prey to the devil’s snare: “Lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11).
Paul tells us we must see our discouragement for what it really is — a demonic weapon. Satan knows he can’t get us to turn away from Jesus, so he swamps us with vicious lies. When this happens, the Holy Spirit will bring to our remembrance all the precious promises of Jesus.
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). Dare to believe the incredibly good things the Holy Spirit tells you and let him flood your spirit with encouragement from the heavenly Father. He loves you and his promises are true!
Anyone who sincerely seeks the abiding presence of the Lord will surely have it. “If you seek Him, He will be found by you” (2 Chronicles 15:2). The Hebrew word for “found” here is “matsa” which means “his presence coming forth to enable, to bless.” In short, this verse tells us, “Seek the Lord with all your heart and he will come to you with his presence. Indeed, his presence will be an almighty power that emanates from your life.”
God makes his covenant of grace with every believer — a covenant which is embodied in promises such as, “The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). “[Jesus] will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). He makes special promises to those who determine to seek him with all their hearts but this covenant is strictly conditional.
An unnamed prophet delivered a message to Eli, the high priest of Israel, who was backslidden at the time. The Lord had been warning him against sin and compromise but Eli had ignored all God’s words. This prophet said to Eli, “The Lord God of Israel says: ‘I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before Me forever.’ But now the Lord says: ‘Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed’” (1 Samuel 2:30).
The phrase “lightly esteemed’ has to do with the lifting of God’s presence — not that the person is damned but rather that he will have to walk in the power of his own flesh. God was telling Eli, “I intended to bless your house, to favor you, but you scorned me so I must take my presence from you.”
Many people come to Christ with an initial burst of great faith, yet over time their zeal wanes and they begin to neglect Christ. They lightly esteem his commands and turn back to their old ways. God never stops loving them, but his presence is not with them in the fullness that they once experienced.
God's promises never fail. But some - like the covenant of his presence - are absolutely conditional. They require more than merely our cooperation. Of course, God will never abandon us or stop loving us. But if we remain in sin, his presence will not be with us - and our lives will no longer be an instrument of his powerful presence.
Beloved, seek him with all your heart, and desire his presence in your daily life. Then you will know and experience the incredible glory of God!