Monday, July 24, 2023

The Glory of the Lord (Exodus 33)

“Please, show me Your glory” (Ex. 33:18).

The Hebrew word for glory is kabod, which means heaviness or weightiness, implying importance. Of all the important leaders who have ever walked the face of this earth, only Christ, the King of kings, is truly glorious. Not Solomon, not Nebuchadnezzar, not Caesar at the height of his splendor can compare with the glory of the Lord. Only God’s glory is pure and holy.

The Scriptures associate the glory of the Lord with fire and light—representations of purity. When God led His people out of Egypt, He manifested His presence among them by a cloud, the Shekinah cloud: “Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.… For the cloud of the LORD was above the tabernacle by day, and fire was over it by night …” (Ex. 40:34–38). God’s glory is described as a “consuming fire” (Ex. 24:17; Isa. 66:15). Ezekiel witnessed the glory of God as flashing lightning and brilliant light: “The center of the fire looked like glowing metal, and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures.… and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be His waist up He looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down He looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded Him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rain day, so was the radiance around Him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord” (Ezek. 1:4ff). What on earth can compare to the glory and splendor of the Lord? Who can question the majesty and power of Christ?

The disciples peered behind the veil that cloaked Christ’s glory on earth. For just a moment, three of them beheld the purity and brilliance of His power (Matt. 17). Like Ezekiel, they fell on their faces, terrified. Yet, like Moses they needed to behold God’s glory. Only when we see Christ for who He is, only when we see His glory with the eye of faith, will we find peace, fulfillment, and strength, for man was made to live in the presence of God. Without it, he is in darkness, but through faith in Christ, the light of God shines into our hearts, transforming us into the likeness of Christ, that we can behold His glory and rejoice.

Read Exodus 33:12–23. What is the relationship between God’s presence and our rest? What does this imply about those who do not live in God’s presence? Why did God place Moses in the cleft? Why did Moses need this covering? Our covering is Christ. Do you desire to see the glory of God? If so, are you covered by Jesus Christ?