What comes to mind when I mention God’s “glory”?
The reference to God’s “glory” may cause some of us to run to a dictionary. It’s not the easiest term to comprehend. For others we may think of “glory” along the lines of something more trivial like the phrase “glory, hallelujah,” a filler phrase, a cliché dried of all meaning and spiritual value.
However we speak of glory, Scripture prohibits us from speaking of God’s glory in impersonal terms. It is not that.
To fully understand glory will require that we see it with our own eyes. This was the request of Moses on that quaking mountain of fire and smoke. Moses asked of the Lord, “Please show me your glory.” And the Lord complied. But notice the response: “I will make all my goodness pass before you” (Ex. 33:18-19).
How often do we think of God’s glory as a synonym for God’s goodness?
Jonathan Edwards wrote: “The glory of the Lord in Scripture seems to signify the excellent brightness and fullness of God, and especially as spread abroad, diffused and as it were enlarged, or, in one word, the excellency of God flowing forth.” (Misc. 1082)
The glory of God, in other words, is the fountain or sun in which all our eternal enjoyments originate. Edwards would go on to say that glory is the source for all eternal blessing, a synonym for the waters of life and pleasures forever. And central to all of Edwards’s theology is an understanding that the shining forth of God’s glory is a fundamental purpose behind the act of creation.
We could go on in many directions. But the simple point is that Exodus 33 convicts me of my low view of God’s glory. God’s glory is His means to communicate to us His goodness. Banish the unaffected and impersonal thoughts of God’s glory. His glory is my goodness.