Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Yahweh, My Glory

But You, O LORD … my glory. (Psalm 3:3)

The Hebrew word for “glory” is kabod, from a word that means to be heavy or weighty. It speaks of the manifestation and abundance of goodness. The psalms are full of references to the glory of the Lord, too many to even begin to list here. The glory of God, the “weightiness” of His great goodness, is very important.

It goes back to the beginning, when humanity was created in the image and likeness of God, that we might bear His glory and reflect His goodness on the earth. But as Paul said, we all have sinned and come up short of that glory (Romans 3:23). So God chose a man, Abraham, and from him created a covenant people, Israel, to reveal His glory to the nations and His goodness to all the families of the earth. But Israel fell under the weight of her own unfaithfulness and failed to show forth the divine glory.

So God promised a Messiah who would come forth from Israel, who would deliver Israel and establish His glory among the nations. This was Jesus who, being born of a virgin by the Spirit of God, was fully human and fully divine. As the “brightness” of God’s glory and the “express image of His person” (Hebrews 1:3), Jesus fulfills God’s purpose for humanity, to bear the divine glory on earth. On the night before He went to the cross to defeat everything that stands against or comes short of that glory, Jesus prayed this for Himself and the disciples:
And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was … And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one. (John 17:5, 22)
This is true for every one who trusts Jesus. God has conformed us, in our inward being and by the life of Jesus at work in us, to the image of Jesus (Romans 8:28. That is, we are conformed to the image of the One who perfectly expresses the image of God and bears the brightness of His glory. God is now in the process of manifesting that image and glory in our outward being. The apostle John said, “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). Paul said, “When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:4). When Jesus appears, His glory will be apparent in us as well. Peter says, “When the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away” (1 Peter 5:4).

David called Yahweh, “My Glory.” Another psalm writer declared, “For the LORD God is a sun and a shield; the LORD will give grace and glory” (Psalm 84:11). God’s desire has always been to give us His glory — indeed, to come and be our glory. That is, to fill us with every good thing and display His splendor in our lives and in the world. He does this by filling us with Himself.