GLORY, GOODNESS AND LIGHT

 

Exodus chapter 33 describes Moses making request to Yahweh: “he said, I beseech thee, shew my thy glory” (Exod. 33:18).  In response, he was told, “I will make all my goodness pass before thee” and again, “it shall come to pass while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by.  And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen”

From these words, we learn that the Glory of God is seen in his Goodness: Moses asked to see the glory, and in the event, he saw the goodness of God.

Chapter 34 describes what passed before Moses:

“Yahweh passed by before him, and proclaimed, Yahweh, Yahweh God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin …” (Exo. 34:5-7)

Notice that the Goodness and Glory was not in things visible to the natural eye, things that could be seen: rather, it was in what was proclaimed in words.  The voice of the Angel declared the glorious and good Attributes of the Almighty: this comprised his Glory.

In John chapter 1, we find that whereas Moses asked “show my thy glory”, we read that: “we beheld his glory”.  The whole verse is as follows:

“The Word was made 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”. (Jno. 1:14).

Here, the Glory is seen in the attributes of Messiah, the fact that he was “the word made flesh.”  All of the attributes spoken to Moses can be seen in the character of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Word that he embodied is where true glory can be seen, even the Glory of the Father.

John chapter 1 also describes the New Creation in terms of the Old, commencing with Light shining into darkness: “in him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not” (verses 4-5).  Associated with Glory, then, we have the Word, and the Light.

But Moses was told that he could not see the Face of Glory.  By contrast however, the Apostle Paul wrote of Christ:

“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 Cor. 4:6).

Notice that in these words, we have the same threads woven together: the glory of God being seen, the Face, and the Word, and the Light.  All of these aspects come together in our Lord Jesus Christ.  Another link is seen in verse 4, where we have reference to “the glorious Gospel of Christ”.  Notice also, that the Gospel is Glorious, and that Glory is associated with Goodness, and the Word (i.e. the word Gospel = “Good News”)

These things provide us with many points of exhortation.  We see the Glory in the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Light that emanates from him.  God has shone into our hearts, to cause Divine Light to enter the darkest recesses thereof.  We therefore should strive to be like Jesus, and try to live out the spirit of the Word.  We need to show the Glory of God in our daily lives: “ye are a chosen generation … that ye should show forth the virtues of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Pet. 2:9).

The Apostle continues in this chapter to describe that glory further:

“our Light Affliction, which is but for a moment worketh for us a far more exceeding and Eternal Weight of Glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen …” (2 Cor. 4:17-18)

Like in the case of Moses, the Glory is not in that which can be seen, but in that which cannot be seen by the natural eye.  We must attend to the Word therefore, to develop in our minds a picture of those glorious times to come.  We must not seek any glory in this life, but that in the life to come.  As the Apostle continues to say: “… for the things that are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”  No matter what troubles life brings, when compared with the “Eternal Weight of Glory” they fade into insignificance.  Just imagine what it will be like to be made immortal!  Living for a thousand years and much more!  After living for thousands of years, when we look back, the few days of our mortal pilgrimage will seem as nothing: just a fleeting moment.  So we have that wonderful prospect before us: let us never lose sight of the promised blessedness in the Age to Come.

Christopher Maddocks