And as soon as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud. Exodus 16:10 (ESV)
What is the glory of God? On a number of occasions scripture records that the glory of the Lord appeared in a cloud. However, the cloud itself is not the glory of God. God appears in the cloud to hide man from his glory; the cloud is a protection.
The apostle Paul wrote to his disciple Timothy concerning God. He said, Who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. (1 Timothy 6:16 ESV)
The apostle John wrote, This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5 ESV) God is perfect light. Should man in his natural state look at the unveiled glory of God he would die (Exodus 33:20). To define the glory of God we must go further than the light for the light is the brilliance of his glory.
Moses asked God to show him his glory (Exodus 33:18). God replied, I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name The LORD. And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. (Exodus 33:19 ESV) It seems that God equated his glory with his goodness and his name. According to Strong’s Concordance the Hebrew word for goodness in Exodus 33:19 is tuwb, which means good in the widest sense. It also carries with it the idea of beauty, gladness and welfare. God also proclaimed the name of Jehovah before Moses. Jehovah is the Jewish national name for God and means self-existent and eternal.
When Moses asked to see God’s glory in Exodus 33:18, he used the Hebrew word kabowd for glory. Kabowd means weightiness, splendor and honor. God’s glory is everything that makes up God; his authority, power, and sovereignty. Thus, the best picture of God’s glory can be seen in his Son, Jesus, because he was God in the flesh (John 1:1, 14). As God in the flesh, Jesus displayed God’s nature (Hebrews 1:3). The apostle Paul wrote, For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6 ESV)
The church is desperate for the glory of the Lord. When his glory is manifest, people are changed just as the countenance of Moses was changed after being in God’s presence (Exodus 34:29, 30). Once we have experienced the wonder of his glory we will be ruined to everything we have known as church.
Do you want to see the glory of God? Have you seen God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ?
Scriptures for meditation:
1 Kings 8:10-11
2 Corinthians 3:18