In part 1, we had a quick overview of some basic concepts of glory. We looked into clouds and darkness a little bit (I hope to cover it more thoroughly later), and we considered the detriment that has taken place for the lack of God’s glory in the Church.
In part 2, we’re going to look at the Hebrew word for glory.
The Hebrew word is kavod (kaw-VODE). This word has a history. It started out meaning weight. When you buy wheat, you must weigh out the silver or gold and the wheat on a scale. You get the allotted amount of wheat for the amount of gold you spend. Over a coarse of time, kavod started to take on another meaning, though.
God’s glory is intertwined with this idea of weight. Have you ever had that moment when something happens or something is said, and you’re suddenly taken aback? Nothing else matters. Something about this time here and now is special. It means something deeper than just what is happening. It might be your wedding day. You have been spending months preparing for this, and now suddenly as she is walking down the aisle you see how important this moment really is. You realize that it is no longer your life – it is both of your lives together. It is no longer just Tommy – it now Tommy and Kimberly.
These moments happen multiple times in our lives. Some are good; others are bad. The point isn’t whether it is good or bad, the point is that the world suddenly changes. Nothing is perceived the same way ever again. These moments shape the people that we are. That is kavod.
The idea comes from a concept that says when you come in contact with this God, you cannot be the same. You will be changed. Either He will come and frighten you, or you will be overwhelmed in joy. But when you leave that moment, something has happened.
God’s glory according to the Hebrew word isn’t so much about this moment of “awe” and angels singing. It isn’t about halos and light and falling down. There is a real concrete interpretation here. We think of glory as some sort of abstract amazing thing. This is why words fail us. We don’t have any clue what glory is. That’s the point, right? If we could describe it, then it must not be glorious…
But the Hebrews had a completely different idea. It isn’t necessarily something that you can see, taste, touch, or hear… Glory is something that you feel in the inner parts. It is something that causes everything to change. There are some Scriptures that talk about a darkness that you can feel (like the plagues of Exodus). But how do you feel darkness? Yet, we all understand full well what is being described, don’t we?
God is glorious. And what is glory? It is a weighty alertness. It causes for you to realize the importance of this moment. It is a sense of “this right here matters more than anything else.” And God desires that we would live from that. He desires that we wouldn’t simply take these glorious moments we experience with Him and cherish them. As crucial as it is to cherish such moments, it is all the more critical to go out into the world and live with that sense of magnitude in all things.
The conversation you have with your friends has a weight of glory in it. The moment you are given to speak in front of people is once and for all. The time that you have to spend with family only comes this once. There is no guarantee that you will have tomorrow to live. This isn’t a fear tactic, but a reality check. How much of our lives are spent like herded cattle?
Every day we go through the motions planning that someday we’ll take a vacation or retire, and then we’ll enjoy life. Until that day, we are only in survival mode. But what happens when that day comes? We are bored. There isn’t enough to do. We thus fill our lives with nonsense and “jobs” that once again disconnect us from the things that really matter.
The cycle doesn’t end.
You have to purposefully choose to be free. And I’ll tell you what happens: you feel like crap. You feel like you aren’t “doing” anything. But since when has God ever said that we have to “do?” It has always been that we are to “be,” and then we are sent out to do. Adam was told to tend the Garden. But this came after God had made Him as an image bearer. Paul was sent out as a missionary and apostle. But this was after he had spent years in fellowship becoming the person that God called him to be.
Don’t rush things.
This is the greatest downfall. We feel complacent, and we aren’t “doing” enough, because we are still under the curse. Adam’s part in the curse was that he will now have to work and toil by the sweat of his brow. It feels good to work. It feels good to accomplish. These things were made of God. But who’s strength are you employing? Are you working yourself to death? Are you forcing yourself into a situation where you cannot simply be with God?
God’s glory is not about working something up.
To understand the glory of God, we need to understand that He is already all around us. Finding the glory of God is finding God in everything. Nothing is common anymore. Everything is valuable. Everything is holy.
And even the word holy seems foreign.
It means separated and consecrated. It is set aside for the Lord. So when the heavens declare the glory of God, it is essentially saying they have been set aside for God exclusively. The heavens are holy. God is altogether other – holy, holy, holy. Why do the seraphim say holy three times? God is three. He is not one in the sense of monotheism, but a trinity.
He is different and set apart – nothing compares to Him.
So when we talk about glory, we talk about kavod.
When we talk about kavod, we talk about the weightiness of all things.
When we talk about weightiness, we talk about holiness.
These are all wrapped up into the same concept together. You cannot understand holiness without understanding glory. You cannot understand glory without understanding holiness. Kavod is the heaviness that we feel when the presence of God comes.