God’s glory in the New Covenant
“Give God the glory, for sale ” “Worship God in all His glory, stuff ” and “To God be the Glory” were the frequent repeated phrases I grew up hearing each Sunday in church. In my youth I always tried to give God His glory, shop even though during those years I never fully understood what it meant. Admittedly, I ended up substituting other things in glory’s place, like service and evangelism.
The whole idea of giving glory was problematic for many reasons. For example, the competitive environment I grew up in used glory in a very self-serving way. Sports, as a case in point, was not so much a character building activity, but rather a glory getting exploit for the purpose of gaining personal honor and recognition.
Therefore to apply this brand of glory to a self-sacrificing (Hebrews 12:2-3) Christ, challenged me greatly. Even so, I never ceased to pursue understanding in giving God glory. Eventually I did find a biblical application that worked for me; it came from the exchange of glory between Israel and God at the tabernacle.
The glory Israel received from God was really quite something to behold. God’s glory was quite visible and easy to observe. In the Tabernacle, God filled their meeting with His presence (Exodus 40:34-37)
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. They did not have to do anything but show up and take it all in.
But God’s glory was more than just His presence in the Tabernacle. The glory that God brought to Israel was all that He was (a holy creator; Genesis 1: 26, Joshua 24:19), all that He had done (brought Israel out of bondage; Exodus 20:2), and all that He would do (save them for eternity; John 3:16-17). The glory He brought was like the sun, which brings light and warmth to the whole earth. Yet unlike the sun (29,000,000 degree) that sits 94,000,000 miles away, God entered the human race with a light that could reach inside of all men, women, and children. A light that can give all hope amidst personal darkness (Psalm 27:1). Without the sun, life on earth perishes, and without God’s son (Jesus Christ) the souls of men, women and children perish.
In respect to the lesson we learn from Israel, giving God glory is simply to receive all that God is, all that He has done, and all that He will do. By coming to the Tabernacle, the Israelites were saying, “We want to be in God’s presence.” “We want Him to know that we appreciate all He is, all He has done, and all that He will do.” That was giving the God glory in the Old Covenant (God’s first official pact with His people).
A great teachable moment to apply this important lesson on giving God glory would be realized by a family gathering outside as the sun rises. A Sunday morning would be ideal, especially if your family attends church together. As the sun rises, be careful to instruct your children not to look directly into the sun. When the first rays strike the landscape, have them identify the objects that receive first light. Then parallel these first rays with all that God is. Perhaps identifying God as a loving creator, wonderful counselor, or mighty King. Then as the second set of rays hit, distinguish these strikes of light as all the things God has done. God’s miracles at the Red Sea, the declaration of the Ten Commandments, or the sacrifice of His Son on the cross could serve as examples. Finally, as the last set of the sunrays enter the landscape, compare them to the things God will do. The promise of day-to-day guidance by the Holy Spirit, or the final return of Christ could relate. As you conclude your time, don’t forget to mention how the landscape was brought to light by the sunrise. So it is with every man, woman and child who receive the light of salvation through Jesus Christ, the Son. (John 1:4).
Hebrews 12:2-3 2….Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Exodus 40: 34-37 34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. 35 Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 36 Throughout all their journeys whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the sons of Israel would set out; 37 but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out until the day when it was taken up.
Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.
Joshua 24: 9 “…for He is a holy God.”
Exodus 20:2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”
John 3:16-17 16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? John 1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.”