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“…as surely as the glory of the LORD fills the earth…”

Numbers 14:21

“I am in Yosemite…” I wrote. And frequently, we feel like God’s glory is more easily seen in places like Yosemite, where I can sit on a rock listening to bird calls and the water rushing by in the Merced River – perhaps more of a creek in late summer and early fall. The water cascading down from Bridalveil Falls and its distant roar, the mighty rush of Vernal Falls and even higher Nevada Falls, the mossy rocks, the occasional deer – these things make my heart marvel at the splendor. A part of me sees El Capitan and Half Dome and in derision think to myself that there are higher mountains. But there I was, sitting next to the creek, and I read that God’s glory is everywhere.

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What is glory? When I think of it regarding God, I tend to think of the refulgence of light, beams that blind and obliterate with greatness. Nothing else is except God.

God is the I AM, and they – yes, they – are the living God, one in three, three in one.

When I think about glory for myself, I tend to think of it in terms of being known – that who I am perhaps through my words or actions is seen. Glory is a kind of approval or even worship of the person or thing revealed. Can glory be, can glory exist without an other?

Glory – being seen, known, and appreciated whether through love, fear, or some sort of acknowledgment. Is that correct?

“Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth – everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

Isaiah 43:6b-7

God should be self-sufficient. But in Isaiah, it says that everyone was created for God’s glory. What does that mean?? Is God dependent on humans? No, even if another person is necessary for glory, God is three persons, so he/they are self-sufficient. But he/they do seem to like glory…

Honestly, sometimes I worry that God is a megalomaniac, narcissistic, egotistical god, whining in the sky for everyone to worship him, and meanly punishing everyone ultimately who does not.  But that is not who God is.

Megalomaniac: a true megalomaniac thinks he or she is greater than he or she actually is. But supposedly, God, through whatever means, brought everything into existence. And just a quick look at the last few chapters of Job are enough to jolt me back to reason:

Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said: ‘Who is this who darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.

Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone – while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?

…Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place, that it might take the earth by the edges and shake the wicked out of it?

…Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep? Have the gates of death been shown to you? Have you seen the gates of the shadow of death?  Have you comprehended the vast  expanses of the earth? Tell me, if you know all this.

…Can you bind the beautiful Pleiades? Can you loose the cords of Orion? Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs? Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth?

…Who then is able to stand against me? Who has a claim that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.”

~Job 38:1-7, 12, 16-17, 31-33; Job 41:11.

God is truly great. Or at least God is truly greater than me. No megalomania there.

But is God narcissistic? I’m not a psychologist, but wikipedia describes it as “an individual excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, prestige, and vanity.” I could go the route of considering whether one is truly vain if one is truly beautiful. It is not an “excessive belief” if it is true. But here is what is amazing to me about God: despite (or is it because of?) being glorious, beautiful, powerful, and probably quite worthy of all our worship, God’s plan is to give US glory. That is not the plan of a narcissistic god, nor is it the plan of an egotistical god.

God is amazingly good. (Well, by God define “good” by his very self.) God is nothing like we imagine. What kind of God promises to share his glory?

The Spirit himself testifies that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs- heirs of God and co-heirs of Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us.

~Romans 8:17-18

 

 

 

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