The Glory of God
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)
Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created. (Revelation 4:11)
Glory is a wonderfully difficult to define word! What is glory? Can you see it? How do you recognise it? When we speak of the glory of God, or giving God glory, what on earth is meant?
The Hebrew word used for glory is helpful here, as it carries a range of meanings. At its core is the idea of weight, of heaviness. This develops into ideas of things being serious (we might way weighty) and impressive. It carries ideas of something being impressive or great. It’s the sort of thing which stops you in your tracks. And makes you think.
When applied to God, we can then see that God’s glory is closely linked to his power and his being. It almost like his holiness has been made weightily real before you, and is almost oppressive in its intensity. You can see this in the description of the tabernacle: “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.” (Exodus 40:34–35).
This holiness is so gloriously present that it puts our own efforts into the shade. Isaiah, after his vision of the throne room of God where the seraphim cried out: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” said “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:3-6)
When we give glory to God, we are giving him the weighty seriousness he deserves. God’s glory means he shouldn’t be taken lightly, or dismissed with a brief “I’m sure God wouldn’t mind”. People get nervous when the Queen enters the room. How much more the King of Kings!