Defining Glory

When you hear the word “glory,” how would you define it? If you had to explain to someone what the glory of God was like, how would you describe it? The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines glory as:

Weighty importance and shining majesty that accompany God’s presence. The basic meaning of the Hebrew word kavod is heavy in weight. Thus it can refer to a heavy burden. On the other side, it can describe extreme good fortune or mass numbers. The verb thus often comes to mean “give weight to, honor”

So then, God’s glory gives weight to who He is and honors Him.

How is the Glory of God manifested?

In Job, Chapter 36, Job’s friend, Elihu proclaims God’s greatness and glory. And in verse 26, he says, “Behold, God is great, and we know him not; the number of his years is unsearchable. Elihu continues in the next verses to describe God’s power and majesty as it is manifested in storms, through which he accomplishes whatever purpose he has in mind. Let’s look at some of the ways that we can see God’s glory.

The Glory of God seen in the universe:

The moon rises about 240,000 miles above the earth. That’s 500,000 times higher than the highest fireworks. It’s diameter is 2,160 miles (as far as San Francisco, CA to Cleveland, OH). It obits the Earth at about 2,288 miles per hour. The moon weighs 81 quintillion tons (that’s 3 zeroes more than a trillion – but I’m not sure how they got the moon on some scales!). It has mountain ranges with peaks almost as high as Mt. Everest (Did Neil Armstrong climb it while up there? He said he only took a small step!) and empty seas that measure 750 miles across. There are craters 146 miles wide and 20,000 feet deep (probably good there’s no gravity!). It’s power is unimaginable but it’s strong enough to control our tides here on earth. And that’s just the moon, folks!

In 2009 the largest explosion ever recorded from a super giant star 200 times bigger than the sun and the star was obliterated. It’s galaxy is 1.6 billion light years from earth but it is was still visible 2 years later.

Our galaxy, the Milky Way, has 300 billion stars (someone must not have been able to sleep one night to count them) and with perfect eyesight you might be able to count 9,000 of them.

There is somewhere between 300-500 billion galaxies.

The Glory of God seen in the human body:

And what about the human body? Well, your fingernails grow four times faster than your toenails. Babies are born with 300 bones, but adults have 206 (I couldn’t find out what happens to other 94 – if you’re a doctor, please post it in the comments). Eyelashes last about 150 days.

Your heart circulates your blood through your body about 1,000 times every day. You make about half a quart of spit each day (EEWWW!).

The smallest bone in your body is in your ears. Your blood has the same amount of salt in it as the ocean does. A sneeze blows air out of your nose at 100 miles per hour (no wonder social distancing is 6 feet apart). You are taller in the morning than you are at night (I’m going to test this one tomorrow – I’m vertically challenged, especially with a 6’5″ hubby).

Humans are the only animals that cry when upset (but my daughter has a cat who’s eyes water a lot). Many more boys are color blind than girls are.

Children have more taste buds than adults (so this is why our tastes changes as we get older! I wonder if it’s also why kids don’t eat veggies?). Food spends up to 6 hours in the stomach being digested (at least we don’t bring it back up and chew it again like cows!).

Your lungs are the only organs in your body that float. Your eyeballs are actually part of your brain. Bones are 4 times stronger than concrete. And the largest muscle in your body is the one you’re sitting on. (These tidbits of information came from sciencebob.com.)

The Glory of God seen in everyday life

We can see God’s glory in the majestic mountains, a powerful waterfall, or a glorious sunset. You can feel His glory as you walk along the beach and listen to the wind and waves. His glory in the the splendid colors of a field of flowers. It’s in the gentle rain and the powerful thunderstorm. Everywhere you look you can see the glory of God.

The Glory of God seen in His own character

In Exodus 33, Moses says to God, “I want to see your glory.”  Our first instinct is to think Moses is going to see something very powerful, such as God’s justice or His holiness. Maybe Moses will see God’s wrath or power. Will God move a mountain or makes the earth quake to show Moses His glory? In verse 19 of Exodus 33, we find out how God revealed His glory to Moses.

Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.” (Exodus 33:18-23)

God revealed his goodness to Moses. He also saw God’s grace and mercy. Moses saw God’s protection and his sovereignty.

Why would Moses die if he saw God’s face?

The glory of God is so brilliant and radiant it would consume you.  It would be like trying to get close to the sun.  The sun is so brilliant and radiant that it would evaporate you.  Let’s look at a few verses to see what happens when people encounter the presence of God:

Isaiah’s reaction to the Glory of God

Isaiah 6:2. “Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew” Even these angels in the presence of God have to cover their face.

Ezekiel’s reaction to the Glory of God

Ezekiel gives us this description in Ezekiel 1:28. “His appearance was like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around Him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell face down.

Daniel’s reaction to the Glory of God

Daniel has a similar reaction. In Daniel 10:5-8, we read: “I looked up, and there was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like topaz, his face like the brilliance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude. Only I, Daniel, saw the vision. The men who were with me did not see it, but a great terror fell on them, and they ran and hid. I was left alone, looking at this great vision. No strength was left in me; my face grew deathly pale, and I was powerless.

John’s reaction to the Glory of God

What was John’s reaction? (Remember John was one of Jesus’ disciples – the one known as the beloved disciple). Let’s read Revelation 1:12-17.

“I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me. When I turned I saw seven gold lampstands, and among the lampstands was One like the Son of Man, dressed in a long robe and with a gold sash wrapped around His chest. His head and hair were white like wool—white as snow—and His eyes like a fiery flame. His feet were like fine bronze as it is fired in a furnace, and His voice like the sound of cascading waters. He had seven stars in His right hand; a sharp double-edged sword came from His mouth, and His face was shining like the sun at midday. When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. He laid His right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last.”

The simple truth

The simple truth is our human minds truly cannot imagine God’s glory and when people come into his presence, they are so overcome by His glory that they “become like dead men.” God is great — so great we cannot possibly know Him until we are in heaven with Him. But still, don’t you wish you could be placed in the cleft of a rock like Moses and see what He saw?

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