The Intensity of God’s Glory

When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it.16 The glory of the Lord came down on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from inside the cloud.17 To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a fire burning on top of the mountain.18 Then Moses went into the cloud and went higher up the mountain. He was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.

Exodus 24:15-18

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When we think real hard about ‘glory’ we end up gravitating to something that is invisible.  We work it out and it becomes something like honor, prestige, fame or respect.  This is a good start for us, and we do benefit from this sort of mental gymnastics.

Moses gets an invite from God to join Him on top of Sinai.  I can see Moses trembling with excitement as he climbs up into the Glory of God.  I’m willing to guess that the concept of just mere ‘invisible’ attributes was about to go through a major overhaul.  Moses entered the glory.  And nothing would ever be the same again.

Glory is a repeated experience that touched the children of Israel. 

  • First of all, during the Exodus they were led by a pillar of cloud and fire.  It protected and provided all that they needed.  All they had to do is look up.
  • Secondly, God’s glory took residence on Mt. Sinai.  There was much to do.  The Israelites commented that this glory altered the mountain top to ‘a consuming fire’.  I have been in a forest fire and it was quite intimidating; frightening is a very good description.
  • Thirdly, we see the glory of God is at the dedication of Solomon’s Temple.  We are told that the presence of God was so powerful that it temporary incapacitated the priests that were present.  It totally undid them and it laid them out on the floor (1 Kings 8:11).
  • The fourth time we see the Glory of God was at the Transfiguration in Luke 9:29-31.  Three disciples were present, and inexplicably Moses and Elijah.  But it was Jesus that took center-stage.  He seems to be the ‘focal point’ of lots and lots of glory.

I’m coming to see that glory is a whole lot more than esteem or honor.  Glory has a bolder and more intense quality about it.  Yes, it is respect and honor.  But it goes beyond this–it seems to be turbocharged with the supernatural.  I have been in revival meetings that were quite glorious. Perhaps we need to seriously look for or anticipate more of these “disturbances of glory.” (I’ve been saving this verse for the end.)

Our faces, then, are not covered. We all show the Lord’s glory, and we are being changed to be like him. This change in us brings ever greater glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

2 Cor. 3:18, NCV

We are simply ‘display cases’ that take in His glory and magnify it through our humanity.  It changes us to become more Christlike, and this verse seems to suggest that this keeps increasing, it doesn’t fizzle out.  And I’m thinking that this is tremendous!

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The Transfiguration, (Or “Let’s Get It Right, This Time”)

“Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light.” 

Matt. 17:1-2

We observe that Jesus ‘picked and choosed’ three men to go with Him to this incredible place.  Nothing is fabricated, nothing is manipulated.  The three are given a backstage pass into the supernatural, where things are more real than they seem, not less so.

They were led with the pretext of loneliness and separation.  It was critical that they step into this quiet place, with no distraction or disturbance.  The entire situation was based exclusively on the person of Jesus.  He would be the ‘canvas’ on which everything would happen.  Jesus would display and exhibit the spiritual reality of what was about to happen.

All the men could do is observe, and from our text this was their fundamental purpose.  They watched, and Jesus did not disappoint them.  He commenced to radiate from within, an intense light.  It says, ‘He was transformed’.  We don’t have the freedom to make any conjecture of what this entailed.  We can only understand that what was happening was purely and entirely supernatural.

I think that we often we get a little confused about the transforming presence of Jesus in our own lives.  It seems that it happens apart from His presence.  We somehow get changed apart from the direct intervention of Him.  We inexplicably think that this is the way it works, that somehow I will start radiating peace, wisdom and godliness on my own.  Kind of a ‘self -glowing in the dark’ Christian.

But Jesus Christ is the exclusive initiator and upholder of the Christian life.  Jesus is not a by-product, but the entire ‘kit and kaboodle’.  He is at the center of our salvation, both the justifier and sancifier of our being.  We cannot trust Him to justify us, unless we believe that He will also make us holy people.  He takes it all. And all that He takes He will transform.

I guess I’m advocating the return of Jesus to His walk of transfiguration in our lives.  We make Him the center, and let Him shine.  This is not heretical; it is fundamental.  It is also critical.  Only when we arrive at this point can we say “Jesus, why, He is my Lord and King!  He is the Center of the entire universe, and He is my all, in all.”

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ybic, Bryan