“Behold, the angel of the Lord stood before them and the glory of the Lord shone around them and they were greatly afraid.” Lk. 2:9 The angel was standing on the ground in front of the shepherds, not flying and suddenly, a multitude – thousands of other angels were standing around the shepherds as well. They were frightened.
When Jesus was born, local shepherds received a personal announcement. They were in a field. A huge angel stood before them and God’s glory shone around them flooding the hillside.
The shepherds were frightened. The only thing more frightening than thousands of heavenly bodies flying through the atmosphere is a multitude standing around you. The awesome glory of the Lord was present. The angels were worshipping and they accented their announcement. They sang about two amazing things, God’s personal, overwhelming glory and his abundant goodness toward men. Lk. 2:11
In a word, the glory of the Lord is the greatness of the Lord. It may be recognized by intense light, great stature, powerful accomplishments, or supernatural phenomena. It is everything that is awesome and amazing about God. There is no word that can fully describe the grandeur of God’s glory, but it is both wonderful and frightening at the same time.
The heavens (sun, moon, stars and vast expanse) declare God’s glory. Also, the making of the natural world, humankind, and the nations declare God’s glory. These works are great accomplishments, but they are second-hand glory, mere reflections of God’s greatness. Angels, miracles and supernatural experiences reveal a breathtaking measure of God’s glory that reaches beyond what we know as natural wonders. Even these supernatural phenomena cannot fully express God’s glory.
The greatest expression of God’s glory comes from his presence. He is always with us, but when he reveals himself, we experience His manifest presence. The glory of his person is greater than the glory of all created things, natural and supernatural combined.
The manifest presence of God is the most desired experience in the universe. Holy Spirit led worship, prayer and the exercise of spiritual gifts release a measure of God’s glory because his presence, the Holy Spirit, is revealed. There is, however, a huge difference between mechanical expressions of worship and Holy Spirit led worship. One includes the presence of the Lord and the other is just religious activity.
The glory of the Lord is irresistible. In God’s presence, we find love, joy, healing, miracles, guidance, strength, confidence, revelation, and destiny. All that is needed and necessary are found in the manifest presence of the Lord. The difficulties of life that seem impossible can drop away and suddenly everything becomes possible when we come into the glorious presence of the Lord.
The stronger our friendship with God, the more we will know his glory. John, the disciple, and friend of Jesus said,
“We beheld his glory, full of grace and truth.” Jn. 1:14
The disciples experienced the glory of the Lord when they were with him in Galilee. Ordinary men became powerful leaders after spending time with
Jesus. Later, when John was given the vision of Revelation and he saw Jesus in heavenly glory. This revelation of Jesus was different from what John had previously known: Jesus’ face shone like the sun and his eyes were like flames of fire. The glory was so powerful that John was frightened and fell to the ground like a dead man. The Lord lifted him up and revealed to him the vision of Revelation.
Moses was also God’s friend. After leaving Egypt with millions of Israelites, he said,
“If your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here.” Ex. 33:15
For Moses, God’s presence was not just a luxury. It was a necessity. Moses said,
“Please, show me your glory.”
God said, ‘“I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you.’ But he said, ‘You cannot see my face; for no man shall see me, and live. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, I will cover you with my hand.’” Ex. 33:18-22
When Moses returned to the people he had more authority than ever before. His face shone with such brightness that he had to cover it with a veil when he spoke to them. Being God’s friend allowed Moses to experience God’s glory and experiencing God’s glory gave him everything he needed to lead the people.
I have been in gatherings where the glory of the Lord was so powerful that people could not stand up for hours. Every person got their lives right with God. Many were healed and impossible problems dissolved. One moment of God’s glory is more powerful than a thousand hours of preaching, counsel or prayer.
Seeing God’s glory is only the first step. The Lord wants to share that glory with us.
Jesus died to bring many sons to glory. Heb. 2:10
He has called us into his glory. 1Thes. 2:12, 1Pe. 5:10
Christ in you is the hope of glory. Col. 1:27
The suffering of this present time is not worthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us. Rom. 8:18
The divine glory belongs to Israel. Rom. 9:4
God’s Glory will come upon redeemed Israel and the church.
“Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you,… His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light.” Isa. 60:1-3
The scripture also says that God will not share his glory with another. Those verses, however, refer to God sharing his glory with other gods or idols. He definitely will not – but it is clear – he will share his glory with his children.
God’s glory will not only come upon his children, one day it will cover the entire earth.
Ps. 72:19, Isa. 6:3, Hab. 2:14
The days ahead will be challenging. Experiencing God’s presence is not just a luxury, but a necessity. If you draw close to him, as your closest friend, I have no doubt, you will live in His presence and He will show you his glory.