Glory!Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Then Moses and Aaron went into the Tabernacle, and when they came back out, they blessed the people again, and the glory of the LORD appeared to the whole community. Fire blazed forth from the LORD’s presence and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When the people saw this, they shouted with joy and fell face down on the ground.
After Aaron and his sons were ordained as priests for Israel, Moses informed Aaron that he was to present a variety of offerings to the Lord because he intended to reveal his glory to the people. So Aaron followed Moses' instructions, sacrificing what the Lord required and raising his hands to bless the people. At this moment, "the glory of the LORD appeared to the whole community. Fire blazed forth from the LORD's presence and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar" (9:23). The people marveled at what they observed, shouting joyfully and falling down on their faces before the Lord (9:24).
We don't know exactly the form in which God's glory was manifested to the Israelites, though it appears to have included fire. It's possible that God revealed himself as a pillar of cloud and fire, much as he had done when leading the Israelites out of Egypt (see Exodus 13:20-22). What we do know is that the people identified whatever they saw the as glory of God, such that they responded with joyful abandon and humble worship.
When I try to imagine God's glory, I think of brilliant sunsets or the vast expanse of a nighttime sky. These scenes fill me with awe, both because of their beauty and because of their enormous size. As it says in Psalm 19:1, "The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship."
Centuries after the revelation of God's glory to Israel as recorded in Leviticus 9, God revealed his glory in an altogether new, different, and unexpected way. It was seen in the birth of an apparently insignificant baby in Bethlehem. Here, the Word of God became flesh, and "we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father's one and only Son" (John 1:14). The Son not only revealed the Father's glory in his life and teaching, but also, paradoxically, in his death (for example, John 17:1). By enduring the humiliation of the cross, Jesus revealed the glorious grace and love of God. Thus, even as in Leviticus 9 the glory of God was associated with sacrifice, so it is with Jesus, whose once-for-all sacrifice exhibited the matchless glory of God.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: When you think of God's glory, what comes to mind? How do you respond to the glory of God? Is your response anything like that of the Israelites?
PRAYER: Glorious God, there's no way I can comprehend the fullness of your glory. Nevertheless, I thank you for ways you have made your glory known to me. Thank you for the awesome beauty of your creation, especially the heavens that proclaim your grandeur.
Thank you most of all for Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, the ultimate revelation of your glory. As I gaze upon him, I see you. In his death, I see the unfathomable glory of your grace and love.
Glorious God, may I live my life in response to the revelation of your glory in Christ. Like the Israelites, may I rejoice in you. And may I bow before you in humble worship, offering my whole life to you.
All praise be to you, God of grace and God of glory! Amen.