February 7 Message: What Is the Glory of God?
The Old Testament text was from Exodus 34:29-35. Moses, the great leader of The Exodus by the Jews from Egyptian captivity, returns from praying with God on Mt. Sinai while in The Wilderness on the way to the Promised Land, “flowing with milk and honey.” He brought with him The Ten Commandments. Upon his return with the Two Tablets in his hands, Moses encounters his brother, Aaron, and a new Golden Calf. When questioned about this “god = idol,” Aaron is caught off-guard and gives a ridiculous reply that the Jews brought all their gold to him, he threw it in a fire, and out popped this “Golden Calf” which, in reality, the Jews worshipped now since Moses was gone 40 days to be with God. The very first commandment is broken before Moses can even show the Jews “God’s New Laws’: “You shall have not other gods before Me!” In anger, Moses breaks the original Tablets and then appeals to Almighty God to forgive His People of this grievous sin in a second, follow-up visit with God. Moses returns with a heavenly glow [brightness or GLORY] about him and two new Tablets of stone with The Ten Command- ments inscribed on them. It is obvious God’s Glory is all around Moses prompting him to wear a veil outside the temporary, wilderness worship center.
The New Testament text was from Luke 9:28-36. Jesus takes His Inner Circle of Disciples–Peter, James, and John–with Him to pray on Mt. Moriah. The drowsy Disciples are awakened by a brightness, a strong glow of light [GLORY of God] and see three people standing in front of them: Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. They seem to be talking with one another. Ever ready to “do something” for Jesus, Peter says to Jesus: “How great it is for us to be here! Let’s build three, temporary dwellings for you, Moses, and Elijah, and stay for awhile. Jesus’ appearance “transfigures” before them and Moses and Elijah are gone. But the “Glory of God” is still there! Now it is time for all to get to work back home “doing the work of ministry where they are!”
The Glory of God is with us now in the wonderful power of The Holy Spirit. Throughout John’s Gospel, especially beginning in chapter 12 and continuing to the end of the Book [chapter 21], Jesus goes to extreme measures to assure The Disciples He will be leaving them and returning to His Heavenly Father AND He would leave The Comforter, The Paraclete, “The one who walks alongside them” with them. The Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ absence, would lead them into all manner of truth and ways of ministry. To reaffirm His Name upon being born–Emmanuel, the “God who is with us”–now would be the work of The Holy Spirit with them. Now the GLORY of God would be experienced through the dynamic power of God’s Spirit everywhere. God’s Glory, God’s presence, brightness, praise, adoration, and reverence is the Believer’s experience/presence in all that she/he does: prayers, gifts, service, presence, and witness. The Message given to the lowly shepherds is ours as well: “GLORY to God in the highest and, on earth, peace and goodwill to mankind!” This is the Glory we enter into every time we anything in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. “GLORY TO GOD INDEED!” Amen…