Blogs have been short in their coming the last few months, and likely will be sparse for the next couple of months as well. Nevertheless, a topic may set itself upon my mind and find its way onto the computer screen periodically. Hence this particular post. The glory of God is what I would like to discuss. The Bible is a story that is concerned, at its heart, with the glory of God. For one that is both serious and honest in their approach to Scripture, they will no doubt acknowledge that the Bible, in its telling of creation and redemption, speaks to us about God supremely, not man. God’s purpose in creation and redemption was that He might reveal Himself to man (and more specifically the Son), that man might know His glory and His worth.
The question must then be asked, “what does it mean for man to know God in His glory?” There are probably a number of ways to express it, none of which may be wrong. Certainly to know and behold the glory of God means to see Him in His power and authority, His holiness, and all of His many perfections, i.e…love, mercy, compassion, justice, righteousness, etc… To reflect on God’s perfect knowledge, His ability to be present everywhere at all times, His eternality, and a host of other divine attributes, is to know His glory and His worth. To dismiss these as anything other than the beholding of glory would be a mistake. Nonetheless, there is an additional element that should be considered as it relates to what it means to know God glory, and to live in light of that glory.
The Old Testament, written in Hebrew, uses the word kavod to express the idea of glory in relation to God. And like most Hebrew words, offers a word picture to clarify its meaning. The word kavod means weight or heaviness. Thus to experience the glory of God is to feel the weight of God. To know God’s glory is for Him to be heavy upon us. It is a rich concept with a number of implications.
First, it reminds us that our proper place before God is on our knees. To behold God in His glory, in all of His perfections, is to understand the greatness and supreme power and authority of God. And to understand this properly means that we understand our own lack. Thus humility is the first response to God’s glory. The penitent, humble man kneels before God, acknowledging his unworthiness. God’s glory presses us down, His weight refusing to allow us to remain upright in our pride and self-aggrandizement. To know God in His glory manifests itself in our humility.
Second, it speaks to the seriousness with which we must embrace God. To know God in His glory is to take Him seriously. To approach God flippantly and treat Him flippantly in the way we live our lives reveals that we do not know God in His glory truly. To read God’s Word, to hear His Word, His command, and to ignore it, to take it lightly, is to display one’s blindness to God in His glory. The weight of God demands seriousness, attention. It is to be concerned with Him, to be mindful of Him, to be captured by Him. He who responds lightly to God does not know Him in His glory.
Third, it displays itself in how it displaces the other priorities in our lives. To know God in His glory is to be consumed and overwhelmed with not only His person, but His purposes. It finds what He does, as well as who He is, as being worthy of our seriousness. And if God’s end is to glorify Himself, which happens as sinners are saved and live lives of worship and devotion to God, then that end must be ours as well. It must be our enduring passion above all things if He is indeed worthy of supreme worship and devotion, if His glory, His weight, is ultimate. Thus, to know God in His glory is to let the purposes of God become the weight that guides the direction of our lives. To find other things more important, to find other things to be heavier, is to deny having been captured with God’s glory. God, and all that drives God in the pursuit of His own glory must be weightier to us than everything else in our lives. Unfortunately there is no way to hide this. Our lives are the proof.
To know the glory of God is to live with the weight of His glory on our shoulders, driving us to our knees, pushing us into greater seriousness toward Him, and displacing all other priorities as secondary to His. If this is indeed the case, it is likely that we must unfortunately admit that we do not know His glory as we may think we do. And yet, His Word, the revelation of God in the fullness of His glory, sits next to our beds or on our coffee tables every day. If we would only delve into it, allowing God to capture us with His greatness and worth. May the heaviness of God fall upon us like an anvil. May His weight displace the weightless things that typically guide our lives.