06 Feb Reflecting the Glory of the Lord
Hi Ladies! It’s been an unbelievably balmy February and I’m reveling in the warm mornings, the glorious sunshine, and the excuse to wear my husband’s basketball shorts because I’m 37 weeks pregnant and about to pop.
When I can ignore the overwhelming urge to scrub the grout between the bathroom tile and arrange my daughter’s books in the colors of the rainbow (this nesting thing is for real), the Lord has been speaking to me about reflecting his glory—the mind-boggling majesty of the truth that our living, breathing, messy human bodies are the final place he’s chosen to dwell with his Spirit.
A few months ago, I began my second journey through the entirety of the Bible, this time in the Amplified Version (which is SO awesome), and like before, my progress is very slow. I just finished the book of Exodus, and was struck by how much incredible detail God gives to Moses to specify the construction of the Tabernacle. Eleven chapters in Exodus are devoted to the specifications of the Tabernacle, with God prescribing every possible fine point and measurement, down to the pattern of the hem of the garments used for the priestly robes. If I ever doubted that God cares about the details of my daily life, a journey through Exodus has cured me of that errant thought.
Then you shall make exterior curtains of goats’ hair as a tent over the tabernacle. You shall make eleven curtains in all. Each curtain shall be thirty cubits long and four cubits wide. The eleven curtains shall all measure the same. You shall join five curtains by themselves and the other six curtains by themselves, and you shall double over the sixth curtain at the front of the tent to make a closed door. Make fifty loops on the edge of the outermost curtain in the first set, and fifty loops on the edge of the outermost curtain in the second set…(Exodus 26:7-10 AMP).
Pretty detailed, right? Once the Tabernacle is finished, this beautiful piece of Scripture concludes the book of Exodus, casting a stunning picture of the tangible presence of God.
Then the cloud [the Shekinah, God’s visible, dwelling presence] covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory and brilliance of the Lord filled the tabernacle … the glory and brilliance of the Lord filled the tabernacle. In all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the Israelites would set out; but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not journey on until the day when it was taken up. For throughout all their journeys, the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and there was fire in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel (Exodus 40:34-38 AMP).
Can you even imagine what it would be like to see the cloud of God by day and the fire of God by night? You’d look up and say, “Oh, there’s God over there,” and it would be so miraculous and such a present, physical manifestation of his reality that you couldn’t help but believe he is God and that he cares for you. I love that phrase, “in the sight of all the house of Israel.” Moses wanted to be clear that no one could miss the sight of the presence of God and that God was with them throughout all their journeys.
Later, when King Solomon finished building the Temple in Jerusalem, the permanent house of God, the same incredible glory filled the temple:
When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the [Shekinah] glory and brilliance of the Lord filled the house … When all the people of Israel saw how the fire came down and saw the glory and brilliance of the Lord upon the house, they bowed down on the stone pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and praised the Lord, saying, ‘For he is good, for his mercy and lovingkindness endure forever’” (2 Chronicles 7:1-3 AMP).
In the New Testament, Christ came to earth and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. In his death and resurrection, Christ paid the eternal debt for our sins and freed us from the shackles of the law. The law of the Old Testament could never redeem our souls, but rather revealed our sinful need of a Savior. In John 14, Jesus promises that upon his death and ascension to heaven, God will send an advocate and a helper to be with us forever, “he lives with you and will be in you.” In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul elaborates on this concept, exhorting the Corinthian church to purity, saying “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?”
In 2 Corinthians 3, Paul further explains how the glory of the Lord dwells in us as believers:
Indeed, what had glory [the Law], in this case no longer has glory because of the glory that surpasses it [the gospel]. For if that [Law] which fades away came with glory, how much more must that gospel which remains and is permanent abide in glory and splendor! Since we have such a glorious hope and confident expectation, we speak with great courage … Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [emancipation from bondage, true freedom]. And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into his image from one degree of glory to even more glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:10-12;17-18 AMP).
Through Christ, we are progressively being transformed into God’s image, from glory to even more glory, through the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. God, the creator of the universe, the One who was, and is, and is to come, first made his home among men in an elaborately crafted tabernacle, then he dwelt in the majestic, mountaintop temple in Jerusalem, and finally, through the death and resurrection of his son, God bridged the gap caused by our sin and chose to dwell in us. We, collectively as the church, and individually as his daughters, reflect his glory. We are filled with his Spirit. We, through that Spirit, have the power to be the presence of God wherever we go. My dear women, wherever you find yourselves this week, may you be a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, reflecting with unveiled face, the beautiful glory of the Lord who dwells within you. May all who gaze upon your face see that you are alight with his presence, full of glorious hope and confident expectation.