Show me your glory

I’ve been thinking about, singing about and experiencing the enjoyment of God’s glory. But what is it?

The Greek word often translated “glory” in the NT is δοξα and means

“the condition of being bright or shining, brightness, splendor, radiance” or “a state of being magnificent, greatness, splendour, honour as enhancement or recognition of status or performance”, or “fame, recognition, renown, honour, prestige” [1]

The root of the Hebrew word for glory כָּבוֹד means “heaviness”. It is used figuratively for abundance, honour, glory etc. You can sometimes experience God’s presence as a weightiness in the room. It becomes harder to stand. The air gets thicker. Richer. It creates a “Wow” feeling. Like you have just been told some massive news and have to sit down to process the implications. Not necessarily in a bad way but in a “I need to take some time to think about this” sort of way. It’s like your brain has too much to process and think about and can’t continue to give the necessary energy and attention to balancing your body on your legs.

Moses asked God to show him his glory.

18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” 19 And he said, “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. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” 21 And the LORD said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, Exodus 33:18–21 (ESV)

5 The LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. 6 The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” 8 And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped. Exodus 34:5–8 (ESV)

God’s glory is his tangible, visible goodness, in particular his mercy, grace and love in forgiving sin. Yet it’s backdrop is his refusal to clear the guilty of their sin. The riddle is only solved, and God’s glory fully revealed, in Jesus’ sin bearing death on the cross. Our sin was placed on Jesus. He was punished in our place. We are declared innocent. God is shown to be both the one who is just and who justifies sinners. Glorious!!

Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory (Heb 1:3) and our worship and submission to Jesus is glorious. It’s part of the visible display of his excellence:

9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9–11 (ESV)

I think Wayne Grudem defines glory as something like “the visible outshining of all God’s invisible excellence”. God’s glory is the reason the universe and everything in it was created –  To show how brilliant God is. The heavens declare his glory (Psalm 19:1) and one day his glory will fill the earth as the waters cover the sea (Hab 2:14). God created light and laughter, atoms and molecules, stars and planets and poppies and people in order to display his glory in and through his son. Just as the moon reflects the light of the sun so the church reflects the glory of God’s son. Men and women, freely forgiven because of God’s grace and love.

to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:21 (ESV)

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18 (ESV)

Here is a great song calling on God to show us his glory:

When we call out to God to show us his glory, the Holy Spirit comes and puts the spot light on Jesus but he also works in us a right response to all that he is so that we reflect his glory too.

If you think you have seen some amazing firework or laser light shows, just wait until Jesus comes back in his glory (Matt 25:31).

…and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. 17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead…Revelation 1:13–17 (ESV)

Moses quickly bowed his head and worshipped. John fell at his feet. It’s hard to stand when Jesus turns up.



[1] Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


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