What Is God’s Glory? Part 2
Then the LORD’s glory rose from above the winged creatures and moved toward the temple’s threshold. The temple was filled with the cloud, and the courtyard was filled with the brightness of the LORD’s glory.
In yesterday’s reflection, I began to examine the nature of God’s glory as it’s revealed in the Old Testament. We saw that the basic Hebrew word for glory, kabod, comes from a root that means “heaviness.” God’s glory is heavy in the sense that it comprises all the goodness of God. Add together God’s majesty, power, grace, justice, wisdom, and love, and you begin to fathom God’s all-encompassing “heaviness,” his glory.
Yet the notion of heaviness does not fully convey, in English, the glory of God. In fact, if we equate God’s glory with heaviness, we might miss an essential quality of his glory. Let’s take another look at Ezekiel 10:4: “Then the LORD’s glory rose from above the winged creatures and moved toward the temple’s threshold. The temple was filled with the cloud, and the courtyard was filled with the brightness of the LORD’s glory.” God’s glory is not like a giant rock that sits there passively because it is so large it cannot do anything else. Rather, God’s glory shines like the sun.
In fact, if we’re looking for an image to represent, however incompletely, the glory of God, the sun is a strong candidate. For one thing, the sun is the heaviest object in our solar system (with a weight estimated at more than a hundred times that of the earth). But, of course, the sun doesn’t just sit there. Rather, it is continuously active, burning so fiercely that it lights and warms the earth, which is about 93 million miles away.
The similarity between God’s glory and the sun is found in Scripture. Consider, for example, the promise of Isaiah 60:19: “The sun will no longer be your light by day, nor will the moon shine for illumination by night. The LORD will be your everlasting light; your God will be your glory.” This promise comes true in the vision of the heavenly city found in Revelation 21:23: “The city doesn’t need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because God’s glory is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.”
You and I are called to live our lives in the light of God’s glory. We do so when we acknowledge his glory in worship, and when we live worshipfully each moment, thus reflecting the glory of God in the world.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Can you think of other analogies for God’s glory, besides the sun? How might you live in the light of God’s glory today?
O splendor of God’s glory bright,
O Thou that bringest light from light;
O Light of light, light’s living spring,
O day, all days illumining.
O Thou true Sun, on us Thy glance
Let fall in royal radiance;
The Spirit’s sanctifying beam
Upon our earthly senses stream.
All laud to God the Father be;
All praise, eternal Son, to Thee;
All glory, as is ever meet,
To God the holy Paraclete.
“O Splendor of God’s Glory Bright,” Latin original by Ambrose of Milan, 4th century. English translation by Robert S. Bridges and John M. Neale. Public domain.