Seeking the Glory of God
II Chron.5:1 Thus all the work that Solomon made for the house of the Lord was finished: and Solomon brought in all the things that David his father had dedicated; and the silver, and the gold, and all the instruments, put he among the treasures of the house of God.
2 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion.
3 Wherefore all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto the king in the feast which was in the seventh month.
4 And all the elders of Israel came; and the Levites took up the ark.
5 And they brought up the ark, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, these did the priests and the Levites bring up.
6 Also king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel that were assembled unto him before the ark, sacrificed sheep and oxen, which could not be told nor numbered for multitude.
7 And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord unto his place, to the oracle of the house, into the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims:
8 For the cherubims spread forth their wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above.
9 And they drew out the staves of the ark, that the ends of the staves were seen from the ark before the oracle; but they were not seen without. And there it is unto this day.
10 There was nothing in the ark save the two tables which Moses put therein at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of Egypt.
11 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place: (for all the priests that were present were sanctified, and did not then wait by course:
12 Also the Levites which were the singers, all of them of Asaph, of Heman, of Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, being arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets:)
13 It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord;
14 So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God.
David had been a man of war and the Lord did not allow him to build the new Temple in which to serve and worship Him. But the Lord chose Solomon instead. Solomon chose the sacred spot and began to build this Temple patterned generally after the tabernacle of his father, David. It would be magnificent in scope and grandeur. He called out skilled builders and craftsmen, and he was keenly aware of the immense scope and the sacredness of his task.
Now when the Temple was complete, Solomon had the Levites bring in the Ark of the Covenant and place it in the Holiest Place. This they did according to the direction concerning how the ark should be carried. Then some of the Levites who were singers and played instruments began to sing and play praises unto the Lord. It was a majestic time of sacred consecration unto the Lord of Hosts. The glory of the Lord was so strong that the priests could not even stand up to minister.
Solomon begins a prayer of dedication and consecration unto the Lord. He speaks for the people and confesses their sins and beseeches God’s help and favor in the future. It is evident God’s presence and power was with them. And with all the worship and praise going unto God, the glory of God was ushered into the temple with such sacred power that no one could even enter into the Temple. Can you even imagine such a thing? The glory of God manifested by His presence overwhelmed all earthly powers and the inside of this magnificent Temple became a blazing furnace of God’s glory! This was more than just a burning bush; this was a blazing forest! It was God’s way of sanctifying this Temple and an open display of His holy power.
Let us go forward. Isaiah was a prophet who ministered during the reign of King Uzziah. And one day King Uzziah thought it best to enter the temple and offer incense, which of course was the ministry of the priesthood. You see, God forbids kings and rulers and presidents from usurping the sacred ministry of the church, or in this case the Temple. God struck him with leprosy. Please note that the priests did not let Uzziah speak in the temple or hand out political pamphlets. They chased him out physically. (II Chron.26)
King Uzziah died in shame. But in the year that he died, the Lord Himself appeared unto the Prophet Isaiah.
Is.6:1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.
Notice what happened to Isaiah when he was in the Lord’s presence. Many today claim they have seen the Lord or even have been to heaven and back. But they are charlatans seeking their own glory and not the glory of God. The great prophet was undone. He confessed his unworthiness quickly. What a vision; what a sight! And this train that filled the Temple is the glory of God. Human words are poor looking glasses when it comes to the glory of God. It is quite beyond us.
There were scores of revelations of God’s glory in the Old Testament narratives. But what about we who live in the New Covenant? Can we experience the glory of God or are we resigned to live only by the activities of the church or the written statements of faith? Oh my dear friends, I am no mystic or one who by techniques suggest we can conjure up the True and Living Christ. We can never borrow eastern mysticism or the techniques and practices of other religions and incorporate them into the faith. That is heresy and leads to all kinds of spiritual mischief.
However, the western church has left the glory of God and has sought after organization, doctrinal intellectualism, and the earthly encouragement of social interaction. All this at the expense of experiencing God’s glory and being changed by His glorious power. When you retrace the church’s journey it will reveal quite a path filled with compromise and self centeredness. And most believers are ignorant and unaware of what spiritual treasures are being laid waste, and many more openly suggest that there is no such thing as experiencing God other than in doctrinal format. Very sad indeed.
But these things are not hidden from us. In fact, throughout the Book of Acts as well as the epistles, we are granted open revelations of just where God’s glory resides today. No longer is God’s glory between two golden cherubim. No longer must you go to a Temple to see God’s glory. No burning bush, no cloud of fire, no cloud of smoke, no visible glows, and no prophetic vision like Isaiah’s. The glory of God can be found today in this:
II Cor.4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.
6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
The glory of God, revealed in part throughout the Old Testament, is found in all its fullness in the face of Jesus Christ. But what does the Scripture mean when it says the “face of Jesus Christ”? Why the face? The face is the source of communication and expression. It is centerpiece of our physical being. Watch two lovers at a table gaze into each other’s face. They are in love and their love grows and is expressed as they look deeply into each other’s face.
Martha was busy serving Jesus, and that was good. But Mary sat at his feet and gazed up into His face. She watched His eyes and she heard His voice. How many times have you said to your children, “Look at my face”? Why? You desired their undivided attention. All these things and more are what the Spirit is teaching when He refers to the face of Jesus. And there is where the glory of God can be found. But are we motivated spiritually to seek His face? Have we become so jaded, so earthly, and so proud of our written doctrinal statements that we no longer even feel the need, much less the urge, to diligently seek God and His presence? We have dissected doctrinally and with that we are satisfied?
The prayer closet has layers of dust. Fasting is only for diets. Times alone with God cannot be forced into our schedule. And where do we find a semblance of God’s presence? It usually comes through the music fueled gatherings where we often mistake emotions for God‘s presence. How many believers arrive at the gathering fresh from rising early in order to have an elongated time with God through the spirit of prayer. How many arrive having confessed their sins, and just having a substantive audience with the King of Glory? And yet most of the congregation has spent more time on their hair than they have with God. Pray without ceasing? No, we have ceased to pray.
But with that scenario we suggest we have met with Him? And as we file out with dry eyes and a lunch destination in the forefront of our agenda, are we not embarrassed to call that a “worship service”. Read the accounts where believers actually had an encounter with Christ. They were changed; they were broken; they were filled with the spirit of repentance and an air of eternal glory. Where is that in today’s fast paced gathering designed to end before people’s attention span wanes?
So finally, allow me a poor and most insufficient exhortation concerning the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Try and release the bonds of this world and let your spirit free to search out Him, and Him alone. Do not detour into the church realm, and do not look at how others need correction. Beseech the Spirit to filet your heart wide open, and invite a greater revelation of Him to enter. The brilliance of the Son of God is beyond us. In fact, just the world brilliance indicate some measurement or level of brightness.
He is beyond all that, even though we are limited to human words. He is beautiful. He is ponderous. He is majestic. He is incandescent. Redemptive love emanates from His very being. There is no one who can compare with Him. He is our Savior. He is our Redeemer. He is our Master. He is our Lord. He is our life. He reigns with august splendor untarnished by any sin, even the sin He became for us. The glory of the entire angelic host is a flickering candle compared with one second of His eternal glory.
Rev.1:13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead.
Look at His face! It shines like the Sun at its zenith! Who can know it? Who can come to terms with such colossal glory? Who among us can even live in these earthly frames if we were exposed to that kind of glory? And the Apostle John, who so often laid His head upon the Incarnate bosom, now falls at His feet as though dead! Can you fathom what has happened and why?
God offers us a small portion of prophetic glory even before we meet Him face to face. And if we sincerely understand that promise, and if we understand that His greatness and glory is beyond us, does not our inward man created in His image leap within us? God will receive diligent seekers and pull back the veil ever so slightly, but enough to impact and change us. To behold Him, even by faith in prayer and worship, is a gift far greater than the entire world.
The Taj Mahal bows to His presence. Mount Everest shrinks to His greatness. The Sun fades to His brightness. The roar of the ocean remains silent to His voice. Angels cover their eyes and lips before His eternal glory. Please do not consider my metaphors as hyperbole. Far from it, they are feeble representatives of Who He is in the eternal reality. And all those who by faith who have been grafted in, will one day wonder at Him. New bodies will allow us to look and live, but those new bodies and new minds will still be astonished, shocked, dazed, and so amazed that we will be driven to our knees in surrendered worship.
Look out at the sea of worshipers. All of whom were rescued by the same blood, all of whom had the same sin. Look at the waves of praise that naturally emanates from this great company of the redeemed. Blood washed and robed in white robes of light, they cannot take their eyes and hearts off of Him. High and lifted up, the Lion King has been adored by Cherubim and Seraphim and the great hordes of angels. How much more will those who sold their right to heaven, how much more will those who owe Him for this gift of eternal life, how much more will we worship Him forever!
It is quite the imagery. And what moves the soul and electrifies the spirit is that it is not only a coming reality, but that these human words have only touched the hem of His garment. Selah…selah.
All honor, praise, blessings, and glory to the Eternal Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus the Christ!