What do we mean when we talk about God’s glory?

September 27, 2012 admin

sunsetAnd we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:2b

When I was a kid, I heard the word glory or glorious in only 3 contexts:

  • on Hockey Night in Canada in the 1960’s, commentator Danny Gallivan would often cite a “glorious scoring opportunity” which usually meant someone failed to put the puck in the net.
  • every morning at Vincent Massey Public School we’d sing “God Save the Queen”, including the confusing (at least to a child) assertion “Send her victorious, happy and glorious, long to reign over us…”
  • and, at church in hymns, sermons, and Bible readings.

But, what exactly does glory mean when we talk about God?

In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word translated glory is the term kabod. It meant to be honoured, respected, dignified. And it also meant to be heavy. In a culture where items of value were measured by their weight (wheat, oil, gold, silver), glory was associated with that which was heavy.

The New Testament corresponding Greek work is doxa, which was similar in meaning to the Hebrew term, but also carried with it the idea of brightness. The glory of God was often seen in refulgent light:

  • the shepherds in the Christmas story saw the angels, “and the glory of the Lord shone around them” (Luke 2:9).
  • when Jesus was transfigured before His inner circle of disciples, “His face shone like the sun and His clothes became as white as light.”
  • John’s vision of Christ in Revelation describes “His eyes were like blazing fire…His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance” (Revelation 1:14,16).

No wonder the writer to the Hebrews declares, “The Son is the radiance of God‘s glory” (Hebrews 1:3).

We need to be people who are looking for evidence of God’s glory in our routine existence – anything that reflects the glory, the dignity, the honour, the weight, the radiant brightness of the character of our God.

Takeaway: My prayer is that the Lord would open the eyes of my heart to see His glory – and thereby grow in my appreciation for Him – as it is shone around me every day.