Yesterday’s post, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner” has energized healthy conversation, particularly about God’s glory and glorifying God. I had hoped for this and I am thankful for the opportunity to continue the conversation. Since “no one of us is as smart as all of us” let’s see what we can come up with together.
In the New Testament there are at least thirty different words that get translated as or are closely related to ‘glory.” Glory, then, is a huge word with many and various connotations, implications and meanings.
Most commonly, in the New Testament, the word glory is defined as “exercising personal opinion which determines value.” We see this in the Christmas narrative, “And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.” Luke 2:20
In this sense, we have a ton of glory to give to God. One of my favorite responses to God’s great acts among His people is, “Glory to God!” With that sentence, I am exercising my personal opinion of the great value of God. I am giving God glory.
It may be helpful to consider that the Hebrew language uses words for which there are no adequate Greek (or English) equivalent. A great illustration is the word, Shekinah. Shekinah is the bright cloud of the manifest presence of God among His people. There is no Greek or English word for Shekinah, except for the word glory.
It makes total sense to say, “Let’s all give glory (exercising personal opinion of God’s great worth) to God.”
However, it is almost blasphemous to say, “Let’s all give Shekinah to God.”
This distinction is super important to me because I understand the Bible to reveal that God still “Shekinah’s” with His people today.
In my experience, the “glorify God” school of thought has predominantly left any interest in the Shekinah far behind. In 1647 the Westminster Shorter Catechism was finalized and included the following: “What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”
The Pentecostal heritage honors glorifying God and enjoying Him forever. These are both excellent experiences, yet they pale in comparison to experiencing Shekinah.
My prayer is, “Lord, may we again “behold His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”