Pastor's Pen

Bring Back the Glory

Pastor Darrell Johns

In the Bible, the word “glory” has several facets of meaning. When glory refers to God, it speaks of His manifested mercy, majesty, magnificence, and might.

You may recall that Moses asked to see the Lord’s glory. The Lord responded that no man can see His full glory and live. In this context, God’s glory was associated with His goodness, graciousness, and mercy. In His mercy, God tucked Moses away in the cleft of a rock, covering Moses with His hand, and, in God’s graciousness, made His glory to pass by. Then, in God’s goodness, after the full brightness of His glory passed by, God removed His hand, permitting Moses to see a glimpse of His glory. (See Exodus 33:18-22.) After this encounter with God, Moses’ face shined with the reflected glory of God. (See Exodus 34:29.)

During their wilderness wanderings, the Israelites experienced the Lord’s glory as an accompanying pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. God’s glory guided the Israelites through the uncharted desert on their journey to the Land of Promise. (See Exodus 13:21.)

Isaiah saw a vision that connected the Lord’s majestic glory with His holy nature. Then, as now, the glory of the Lord dwells in holiness. (See Isaiah 6:1-3.)

God’s glory visited the Tabernacle in the Wilderness and Solomon’s Temple, engulfing them in thick clouds of His presence. Such magnificent manifestations occurred because God’s people honored Him by building places of worship according to God’s precise design and dedicating them as places for Him to dwell. (See Exodus 40:35; 1 Kings 8:10-11.)

The glory of God ultimately was manifested in Jesus Christ. The Apostle John wrote: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Paul wrote: “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined 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).

In the Old Testament, the glory of God brought the power of God. In the New Testament church, the power of God reveals the glory of God. Our goal is to see God’s glory manifested in and through His church. The Bible indicates that it is still possible.

God’s glory, however, is never a given. In the days of Eli, the priest, corruption and sin caused the glory to depart. It is a riveting but sad story. The Ark of the Covenant— the symbol of God’s glory—was captured. Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were irreverent and sinful in their execution of God’s work, leading to their being killed by the Philistines in battle. Shocked by this news, 98-year-old Eli fell backward from his seat, broke his neck and died. Phinehas’ then-widowed wife was expecting a child. When she heard that the ark had been taken and her husband and father-in-law had died, she immediately went into labor and passed away in childbirth. With her dying words, she named her son “Ichabod,” indicating that the glory had departed from Israel. (See 1 Samuel 4:1-22.)

“Ichabod” is the epitaph on the tombstone of every spiritually deceased church: The glory of God is gone.

Thankfully, God’s glory can return, but it does not happen without repentance and rededication. Twenty years after the ark was taken, the prophet Samuel told Israel how to recover the lost ark and its attendant glory. Samuel called the people to return to the Lord completely, prepare their hearts for the Lord, and put away their idols and serve the Lord exclusively. (See 1 Samuel 7:1-3.) However, it was only after King David made room for the ark in Israel that the glory of God’s abiding presence returned to Israel escorted by David’s demonstrative worship. (2 Samuel 6:12-17.)

I pray that we embrace the mission of John the Baptist: to prepare the way for the glory of God to be revealed through the person of Jesus Christ to all people. (See Isaiah 40:3–5.)

My heart yearns for the return of the glory of God in His church. If we reclaim the Apostolic territory defined by our landmarks, if we dig deep to build on a firm foundation, and if we prepare a place for God to dwell, He will come. Let us bring back the glory!