God can never initiate any action without due consideration for the moment a thought comes, the future result of that, till eternity, opens before Him. Our birth into a family on earth is all part of that plan and God has already decreed a task or series of tasks for each person born, these could be good or evil. The one who tries to find and act according to His will and plan, starts receiving power and authority for each task and doors start opening automatically for him. The inherent power is there inside each person, which starts manifesting when we walk in obedience.
What is glory? Moses sought the LORD to show him His glory and God answered him, ‘I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you’ (Exodus 33:18-19 & 22-23).God decided to put Moses ‘in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen’. Thereafter 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, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation’ (Exodus 34:6-7). And ‘Moses hastily ‘bowed his head toward the earth and worshipped’. God first declared His name and then proclaimed His traits of goodness. And later while passing by, first mention is of Yahweh and then Yahweh El, singular for Elohim, the covenant keeping God the Creator is revealed. And then are His characteristics declared.
Name was supposed to reveal the role or character of an individual and his character traits reflect His essence. The Hebrew word ‘kabod’ and Greek word ‘doxa’ translated as glory mean ‘intrinsic worth, substance, essence or weightiness’. Thus glory reveals the inherent nature and worth of an individual. When God breathed into that pile of dust to create man, He transferred a part of His glory into man in the form of the spirit which guides one to live a life of righteousness. When God created man, He made him the keeper of His garden and to fulfill that task, all authority over the created things was given. Glory is that inherent authority and power that God gives to each individual to perform his/her role on earth. No one, not even someone with the least capability or some incapability comes into the world without this assigned role. One of my friends had a son with disabilities rendering him incapable of looking after himself. He lived only for a few years but all who met him were touched by his smile and learnt to rejoice and thank God in all situations. His parents learnt to be more dependent on God and developed a more compassionate attitude towards others. That was the young child’s glory.
I must realize that God needs me for His work on earth and the earlier I start focusing my attention on that, the better it is for me, for only then do the inherent blessings from God start manifesting in my life. God could have destroyed Lucifer or not created him, for He was well aware of his rebellion, but God allowed all this to strengthen us and test us. After their sin God covered the glory given to Adam and Eve with tunics of skin to restrain that from being misused by the devil (Genesis 3:21). Thereafter everyone who achieved anything for God’s kingdom did that by separating himself from others and their nature. Abraham moved away from his people, Moses was brought up in Pharaoh’s house, David challenged Goliath overcoming fear that all Israelites felt and Mary gave birth to the Son of God by accepting the risk of being stoned to death for bearing a child without being married. One must separate from the worldly things and turn to God to be used and blessed by Him to use his inherent glory.
How does a believer manifest this glory? When Moses came down from the mountain after being with God ‘the skin of his face shone when he talked to Him’ (Exodus 34:29-30). Aaron and the others saw this and ‘they were afraid to come near him’ and this glory of God that was reflected in him faded away after sometime, for this was external to Moses and not from within. There are three stages of this glory being restored to a believer. At his/her rebirth in Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in him. Some believers in Ephesus showed their total ignorance about the Holy Spirit before Apostle Paul and were then baptized in Lord Jesus’ name and by laying on of hands, received the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:2 -6). Those who are living in a multi- storey building have many people living with them but are rarely aware of others. A person’s mother-in-law visiting for a few days is not accepted by many as a partner in the house. In like manner many believers keep on waiting for some specific signs and symptoms, like speaking in tongues, to accept and live in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Apostle Paul declared, ‘I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me’ (Galatians 2:20). That is one part of our life as a believer.
Lord Jesus’ prayer to God the Father first sought restoration of the glory ‘which I had with You before the world was’, which is His glory as God (John 17:5 & 22) of which He had emptied Himself before becoming man (Philippians 2:7). And then He proclaimed a blessing, ‘the glory which You gave Me I have given them’. After His resurrection, the Lord appeared to the disciples saying, ‘As the Father has sent Me, I also send you’ (John 20:21-22). Thereafter He ‘breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’ which they received in fullness later on the Day of Pentecost. The glory that was given to Adam at the time of creation is thus restored by the Lord to all believers.
Apostle Paul then teaches all believers, ‘Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh’ (Romans 13:14). This is the second aspect and the effect of the coats of skin gets removed and we start living as He did. The new life starts in the same way that Zacchaeus changed in the presence of the Lord with immediate recompense of half of his wealth to the poor and fourfold restoration to those cheated by him in the past (Luke 19:2-9).
Lord Jesus promised all believers to be with them to the ‘end of the age’ (Matthew 28:20) and this is the third part. After being born again as a believer, He lives in us, we put Him on and then live in His presence and under His guidance and power reflecting the glory given to us. Lord Jesus has blessed us with the promise, ‘he who believes in Me, the works I do he will do also; and even greater works than these he will do’ (John 14:12). We are thus equipped by the Lord to live like Him in His glory of the second Adam that we are given.
When we pray, God’s full attention is on us as if the whole world has stopped, for when two people who love each other meet, their total focus is on nothing else. God definitely loves each one of His creations but do we and do we live with this realization and work in His glory.
Then why do we fail and suffer? The answer is provided by King David in the very first lines of the Book of Psalms. There are three traits of a true believer. First, he does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly or his mind is not inclined towards them to listen to their talk; second, nor stands in the paths of the sinners, waiting for them to learn about their ways and exploits, his heart is not looking for joy in their ways; and finally, he does not sit in the seat of the scornful as part of their gang (Psalm 1:1-2). But instead his focus is on God’s word and in that he delights. Lot is the best example of the first category for he was with the righteous Abraham and received abundant blessings. On separation from Abraham, he went and settled in the plains as far as Sodom, this was the first step of his fall (Genesis 13:12). Then he started meeting the inhabitants and finally moved into the city. When God’s angels came to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom as one of the elders or judges and he lost everything (Genesis 19:1-2). It was from thoughts; to desire coming up; to planning and finally action and fallen state. This is the first cause where a soul is in rebellion and in opposition to the spirit of man.
The second is lack of close relationship with the Lord – A human being is like the moon to the sun and the glory that we are given must keep receiving the light from the Son of God, the giver of the glory. We are not to retain it but reflect it on others for the one who only receives is like the dead sea with no life in him. Lord Jesus would often go alone to pray all night on some mountain or secluded place to recharge and how much more should we (Luke 6:12). Third, false teaching about the Holy Spirit being only with those who speak in tongues or such other teachings. In such cases then the glory is neither acknowledged nor active and like Apostle Peter then the storms become more visible than the steps out of the boat while walking on water (Matthew 14:29-30).
Four, lack of perseverance – Job 31 is the final claim of Job to claim his innocence despite the continued efforts of his friends to hold him accountable for hidden sins. God honored his claims of innocence. The widow who sought justice from the wicked judge, continued in her efforts until he finally relented. Five, trials and temptations – We attribute all our problems to the devil’s attack but why would he touch someone who is sleeping in his faith with no results and cause him to pray. God allows trials in our lives to promote us to the next level of ministry or spiritual gifts. Six, self exaltation – Moses the great leader of the Israelites missed out in giving glory to God in Kadesh Barnea when the people cried out for water (Numbers 20:1-12). Miriam, his sister had died and may be that caused loneliness in his heart. When God told him to speak to the rock to get water, Moses and Aaron ‘gathered the assembly before the rock; and he said to them, ‘Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?’. We all face a Kadesh in our lives sometime or the other and must be prepared to face that situation. Seven, Old Testament faith – During the Old Testament period a sinner would bring an offering and the High Priest would then make atonement. Now all believers are ‘a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light’ (1 Peter 2:9).
You cannot depend only on the prayers of the pastor for you and until and unless you have a personal relationship with the Lord, how can His glory be manifested fully and work in and through you to bless others. King David from his long close relationship with the LORD God could then urge others, ‘Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed (happy) is the man who trusts in Him!’ (Psalm 34:8). Are we willing to eat and enjoy the taste of the ‘bread from heaven’ our Lord Jesus Christ.
Once this glory is fully operational in someone, he/she starts changing from within. Saul, later known as Apostle Paul, met Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus, 4-7 years after His crucifiction. He himself was martyred in AD 67-68 by Nero, who attributed the destruction of Rome due to fires on the believers. In AD 55, 12-13 years before that Apostle Paul claimed but did not demand his rights as an Apostle (1 Corinthians 9:5). Later in the same Epistle he declared himself to be the ‘least of the Apostles’ (1 Corinthians 15:9).in AD 60, 7-8 years before his death, he claimed to be the ‘least of all the saints (the believers) and finally just 3-4 years before that, he declared himself to be ‘chief of the sinners’ (1 Timothy 1:15). The more he drew closer to the Lord and after his visit to the ‘highest heavens’, the revelations made him more and more humble. Real glory teaches dependence on the Lord while realizing one’s own sinfulness.
Apostle Paul’s final prayer for the Jewish believers was, ‘Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen!’
God has placed inherent capability in everyone to connect to Him and live under His guidance and in His power, emerge victorious over his situations. All attempts of the devil are directed towards making us stumble and fail by focusing on our own selves rather than on God. Either we live in our own capabilities and keep complaining and crying while looking at the storms or we step forward in our God given capabilities and prevail over the same. The choice is ours!