BRILLIANT BURST MINE EYES HAVE SEEN THE GLORY
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen
Years ago, there was a radio announcer who used to begin his morning program with an invitation for the listening audience to join him in prayer: “Each in his own words, each in his own way, bow your heads and let us pray.”
It seems like a democratic invitation. Americans generally believe that we each have the right to worship God according to the dictates of our conscience. While it’s true that I can choose which god I will worship, the fact is once I’ve chosen my god, my rights begin to evaporate. The way you worship becomes mandated by that god. You begin to be ruled by the god you worship.
When it comes to the Living God, the Bible tells us how to worship, and what will happen in response when we worship God’s way.
The way we worship is related to the presence of the glory of God
God’s glory is manifest as a result of worshipping God and doing it God’s way. This is a biblical standard, not a denominational approach. The two fundamental issues related to worshipping God’s way are the presence of His glory and the answering of human need. The foundation of it all is a people who will commit to worship God His way.
Jesus perfected the Old Testament sacrificial system in His death. As a result, there is a New Testament counterpart to Old Testament worship. We see this in Romans 12:1-2, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (cf. Hebrews 9:22-24; 10:14). We are implored to worship Him in a three-fold dimension:
- With our bodies, not only “in our heart” Present your bodies a living sacrifice…
- With our minds (Greek word logakos meaning intelligent and spiritual)…which is your reasonable [intelligent and spiritual] service…
- With our spirits (same Greek word logakos) Be not conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind… We are to worship in distinction from the way the world functions, and unlock the discovery of God’s purpose in our lives.
Worship comprises our total being, being made alive in Holy Spirit
Worship is a way of life, not just an hour on Sunday. The totality of our being becomes a spiritual sacrifice to the Lord. We are to worship with our words, our bodies, our hearts and our spirits. David writes, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17) It doesn’t mean that God is looking for shattered or brokenhearted personalities, but a person whose will has come under His dominion, whose heart has been shaken free from the dominating forces that would keep us from real worship. (cf. Hebrew 13:15; 1 Peter 2:5)
I) WORSHIP IS INVITATIONAL: IT USHERS IN THE GLORY
Worship from the heart invites the abundance of “kabod,” the weight, substance, blessing and presence of God’s glory. It is through worship that the glory of God’s presence, lost with Adam, is restored to men. Through the lives of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, God taught man that He—and His attendant glory—will walk with those who walk with Him. Through Moses, God issued precise instructions to the Israelites about how to worship Him in the tabernacle to bring His presence and glory into their midst.
II) WORSHIP IS CREATIVE: IT PRODUCES REJOICING IN THE GLORY
An entirely new dimension was added to the worship of Israel through the ministry of David—the spirit of praise, rejoicing and song. So many of the Psalms are reflective of David’s leading the people to worship the Lord in open expressions of song. Here the people learned that the glory is not just a light in which to stand in fear and trepidation of failing God, but the glory is to rejoice in. We are invited to be joyous and happy in God’s presence; it is fundamental to His creation of us.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory” (John 1:14)
The monumental expression of all revelation of the glory of God came with His Son Jesus, Who came to dwell with us. The literal Greek term is “tabernacled” among us. The Bible says we have seen the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Jesus came to transmit the glory of the Father to us, glory that came to be invested in the church and to rest upon the people of God. (1 Peter 4:14)
In John 17:22, He prays to His Father, “the glory which You gave Me, I have given them that they may be one just as We are one.” Through Moses the tabernacle of worship was established; in Jesus, the tabernacle actually came. “For by the law came Moses, but grace and truth have come by Jesus Christ.” (John 1:16)
“…that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man.” (Ephesians 3:16)
The Lord declares He will strengthen us by the weight of His being, so that we would be penetrated with His glory. As we openly worship the Lord, then, the glory of the Lord begins to transform us. We are shaped like the potter’s clay, and our situations and circumstances can be fashioned by the weight of His power unto our fulfillment and unto His glory.
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us…” (Ephesians 3:20)
As we invite the workings of Holy Spirit, the results are according to our openness to the power working in us. Not according to your faith, accomplishments, wisdom or righteousness, but according to your openness to the presence of the glory of the Spirit of God. And according to that power as it is working in you, so is the weight of His glory leaving a stamp. There’s a mark of the presence of the Lord that follows a person who chooses to worship Him and walk cloaked in His glory. From the beginning, God wanted man to have the cloak of His glory, and He has restored this to us through His Son Jesus Christ.
III) WORSHIP IS A RELEASING AGENT: IT RETURNS GLORY TO GOD
The glory comes to dwell among the Lord’s people and rests upon the church, but then Scripture says that the glory abiding in the church is to return to God in worship. It only takes viewing the magnificent spectacle of ocean waves crashing against rugged cliffs to become conscious that all creation praises God except man, the rebel—and even man, the redeemed, is slow to grow in the understanding of what worship is about. Scripture calls for us to ascribe worth to Him, to offer an appropriate response to the living God of the universe, to respond with the full weight of recognition of Who it is we approach.
God doesn’t need my commendation, but I need what happens in me when I recognize Him for Who He is. The Lord wants the light of His glory to increase in us, and it does so when we live in a posture of worship and openness toward Him. As we do, we are constantly being strengthened with might by the riches of His glory in the inner man, and with that comes the weight of His person in us. We become people of substance in the face of circumstance as He begins to wipe out the superficiality and fraud, and transform us into people filled with joy, living in the glory of God.
There comes substance and bearing to a life that has learned to live in the glory of God. What welcomes that glory is a worshipping heart, worshipping lips—a worshipping person who comes before the Lord and lives and walks in the spirit of worship. It is a person who rejoices with the people of God, as David taught Israel; who walks in obedience, as we learned from Moses; and who walks in faith with the living God who created all the universe, as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did, because the Person of Jesus, Who is the image and the glory of God, has come to dwell with us.
Why has God poured out His Spirit in us? To praise Him wherever we go during the course of the day, to lift up our voices with thanksgiving, to sing, to pray, to live in His presence, with the weight, the “kabod” there. So that it will never be said of us, “Ichabod,” the glory has departed, but “kabod,” the glory has come to dwell with us.