The Glory of the Lord

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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Moses could no longer enter the Tabernacle because the cloud had settled down over it, and the glory of the LORD filled the Tabernacle.

Exodus 40:35

Exodus 40 recounts the first time the Tabernacle was set up. The Lord told Moses what to do and in what order. Moses did exactly what God had told him to do (40:16). When the work was finished, a cloud covered the Tabernacle, a visual sign of God’s presence. Moreover, “the glory of the LORD filled the Tabernacle” (40:34). He had come to dwell with his people, to guide and bless them.

We don’t know exactly what form God’s glory took in the Tabernacle. The Hebrew word for glory (kavod) is related to the adjective meaning “heavy” (kaved). In English, we can speak of “weighty matters” as those of particular importance. In Hebrew, the sense of kavod goes far beyond mere heaviness. It can be translated as “abundance, riches, splendor, honor, glory.” It’s tempting to think of God’s glory in the Tabernacle as blinding light, but we can’t be positive of this.

We do know, however, that this glory was so powerful that Moses could no longer enter the Tabernacle to speak with God, as he had once done (40:35). God’s presence was too overwhelming even for Moses, who had previously experienced a uniquely intimate relationship with God.

When I consider Moses’ inability to enter into God’s glorious presence, I’m reminded of the contrast we find in Hebrew 4:16: “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Though the imagery here is of a throne room rather than a Tabernacle, nevertheless we are invited to come before God’s glorious, regal presence. Because of what Christ has done as our High Priest, we can even approach God’s throne boldly, knowing that we will find gracious acceptance and help for our needs. What an amazing invitation to enjoy intimate fellowship with our holy God and mighty King!

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: When you imagine God’s glory, what comes to mind? What have you experienced in this life that seems best to approximate God’s own glory? How do you respond to the invitation to approach God’s throne of grace with boldness?

PRAYER: What a joy it must have been for the Israelites when you descended upon the Tabernacle and filled it with your glory. I wish I could have been there to see that!

Yet, for Moses, your presence in the Tabernacle meant he could no longer enter it to converse with you. His unique friendship with you had entered a new season. I wonder if Moses felt a sense of loss, even as he rejoiced because you had made your presence known among the Israelites.

As I reflect upon this story, Lord, I am reminded of the astounding invitation of Hebrews 4:16. What an amazing thing it is that I am invited to come into your holy, royal presence! Thank you, dear Lord, for this privilege. May I come before you regularly, humbly, even boldly, through Christ our High Priest, in whose name I pray, Amen.

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