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Posts Tagged ‘show me your glory’

In Charismatic/Pentecostal circles there is much attention given to God’s “Glory”, and for the most part it seems to be centered on the story of Moses asking God to, “Show me Your glory?” (Ex.33:18)  Within that account, the Lord informs Moses that no man can look into His face and live (Ex.33:20), and so He has to hide him in the cleft of the rock in order to pass by. 

In many ways this appears to be a failed attempt to experience God’s glory, and yet this story seems to be revered amongst modern worshippers.  I suspect that the epic nature of the mystical glory cloud stirs our imaginations, and appeals to our desire for the spectacular, but I sense that the Lord is seeking something more profound and personal.

Recently, I felt like the Lord pointed out that this scene was eventually played out again, in a new covenant context that dramatically altered the narrative.  The most significant change being that because of Christ, we can now look into the face of God, and live.  Indeed, the Hebrew writer said that Jesus is the perfect representation of God’s glory (Heb.1:3), and Christ told His followers that anyone who had seen Him had seen the Father (John 14:9). 

There are multiple gospel accounts (Matt.17, Mark 9) of the transfigured Christ (along with Moses and Elijah) appearing to a select group of disciples (Peter, James & John), allowing them to witness the Son in a glorified form.  And like many worshippers today, these followers had a strong desire to camp atop the mountain, basking in the midst of heaven’s glory.  But when the moment passed, Jesus led them back down to the valley, back into the sea of a lost and struggling humanity.

It is this picture that the Lord used to speak about His glory in our current context.  In light of what Jesus accomplished on the cross, and given the indwelling of His Holy Spirit, Paul told the Colossians that it is “Christ in you” that is now the hope of His glory (Col.1:27).  In other words, the manifestation of God’s glory on the earth isn’t a mystical cloud descending from heaven, it is Christ emerging from within those who claim to belong to Him.

After years of gathering with folks beseeching God to reveal His glory, I now sense the Lord Himself challenging us to do the same.

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In my nearly twenty years of involvement with the Charismatic movement I have been blessed to discover that God is much more interested in my daily life than I ever could have imagined, and for that, I am truly grateful.  But as time has gone on, I’ve become increasingly aware of the pension for Charismatic/Pentecostal folks to immerse themselves in Old Testament imagery and aesthetics.  We imagine ourselves to be like Moses, as we cry, “Show me your glory”; or like Elijah, as we sing, “Send the fire!”; or like any number of other Prophets, as we parrot their words and mimic their actions.  And while all of these stories have their place in our journey to know the Lord, there is an event that happens in the second half of the book that was meant to revolutionize the way we walk with Him.

 

After years of sending floods, and fire, and plagues, and angels, and prophets, He sent a perfect Lamb, who was slain “once” and “for all”.  And I believe that when Jesus said, “It is finished”, He was declaring that the work was done, and that God wouldn’t need to send anything else from heaven, because His Spirit would now dwell within those who truly believe.  Indeed, God’s answer to what the world lacked was Himself (in the form of His Son) and His provision for the future was also Himself (in the form of His Holy Spirit).  The Apostle Paul spoke of the treasure that had been deposited in our earthen vessels, and declared that it was “Christ in us” that is the “hope of glory”.

 

In light of this, there is something wickedly perverse about the picture of a people, who have the Spirit of the Most High God living inside of them, crying out for God to send them something else.  And while some might want to argue whether it really matters if God’s power comes from within or if it comes from heaven, I would submit that it does.  Ultimately it is the difference between waiting on a million dollar check to arrive in the mail, and knowing that there is a million dollars in gold nuggets buried in your backyard.  In the first instance, all you can do is wait, and maybe pester the mailman.  In the latter, you can get a shovel and start digging.

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