The weight of Glory

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Then Moses said, “Please, let me see Your glory.” Exodus 33:18

I learned something this morning (thanks, Stephanie). She mentioned the above referenced passage of Scripture, and the glory of God. And although this happens to be one of my favorite passages in the Bible, I never really looked into what glory means. Because when I hear the word glory, I think I know. But Stephanie said that if you look up the root word, from which glory is derived, you find something more. Because among other meanings, glory comes from a Hebrew word that means: to be heavy, to be weighty, to be grievous, and to be burdensome. So in essence, when Moses asked for God to show him His glory, not only did he see it, but he must have felt the full weight of God’s glory. Because according to the root word, God’s glory is heavy… and weighty. And Moses was near to God. He was with God. Oh, I’m sure… he felt God’s glory.

And the meaning of the word is not at all what I expected to find. See, my son has described God’s glory as sparkle and shine. And truth be known, this is what I always believed God’s glory to be. And so, perhaps it’s this weightiness that I lack today. Because if God’s glory is weighty, shouldn’t I be driven to my knees. Like in Old Testament times, shouldn’t I fall face down to the ground when I encounter the living God in my own living room? Because in the pages of Scripture, you see people doing this again and again. Because when they felt God’s glory… the heaviness pressed them to the ground.

You know, after Moses spent time with God, his own face shone. So indeed, God’s glory is sparkle and shine. But it’s so much more. Because the Israelites were afraid to even come near Moses, so radiant was his face. And this is what the glory of God can do… inspire heaviness and reverence and a holy fear. Because He is God. He is glory. And like Moses, shouldn’t our own faces reflect that light… that glory… after we spend time with Him?

Unfortunately, a byproduct of our hectic lives is heaviness… but not the heaviness of God’s glory. We tend to carry heavy loads and burdens that we’re not meant to bear. We tend to be so consumed by the problems that lie before us, that we are weighed down under the strain. And so, we can miss it… His glory. So weighed down by burdens, we overlook the heaviness of His glory. Rather than knees that bend in worship, our knees are bent because the weight of the world has been laid upon our shoulders. But it doesn’t have to be this way, for we have another option. We have an invitation from Jesus…

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”            Matthew 11:28-30

It’s rest that we need. Rest from the craziness of life. It was Henry Drummond (1851-1897), who said, “Rest is not a hallowed feeling that comes over us in church, it is the repose of a heart set deep in God.” Jesus promises us that rest. We simply need to unyoke ourselves from that which keeps us deep down, and align ourselves to Him. His ways. For His burden is light. And when we arrive there… to a heart deeply set in God… the trials and tribulations of this world will dim in comparison to the light of His glory. When we set our hearts and minds on the things above, eternal things, the weight and cares of this world will fall away. And then, that worldly load will be lifted. And then, like Moses, we will not only see God’s glory, but we will feel His glory. We just need take the load off, for in actuality, Jesus has already born the weight of it all. Eternally speaking, the weight has already been lifted. Eternally speaking, God’s glory is right there near us…

Then He replied, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then Moses said, “Please, let me see Your glory.” The LORD said, “Here is a place near Me. You are to stand on the rock, and when My glory passes by, I will put you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will take My hand away, and you will see My back, but My face will not be seen.” Exodus 33:14, 18, 21-23

God’s glory is heavy. It’s so heavy that we cannot even gaze upon His face. Just perhaps, when we let Jesus carry the weight or our burdens like we’re supposed to… just maybe, then, we will then feel the full weight of God’s glory. Just maybe it will be His very own hand that covers us, and presses us down in worship. For He is worthy. We just need to take the load off…

At the end of your rope

Here lately, words of comfort escape me. Because I look around, and honestly, all that I see is struggle. It seems as if every person in my life is going through something, and this morning my heart breaks. Every person I know is suffering in some way… whether it’s doubt, bitterness, despair, overwhelmed, distrust, pain, disease, or something else… it’s there. All the people I love seem to be coming to the end of their rope. Do you know what that term really means? It’s when someone is at the limit of their patience or endurance. And this sums it up… my loved ones have just about hit the wall. Patience and endurance are running low, and for some reason, I am empty with regard to words of encouragement. As a matter of fact, it’s as if I, too, have come to the end of my rope. And so this morning, I did the only thing I knew to do. I cried. I lifted my voice to God and asked for His help. For me… and for all those that I know who are at the end of their rope. And I heard Him. He said, “Strength.”

It was the end of last week when I read the book of Ruth. She married a man named Boaz, and his name means, “In Him is Strength.” I entered the word “Strength” in my journal, and wondered if this was the word I needed to carry with me for my present season in life. And so now I know… it is. But not just for me… strength for them… and strength for you. Last week I read a blog that pointed to Psalm 27. This particular Psalm holds a special place in my heart because of the fall of 2010. My husband had a job interview with a company located in Northern Virginia and I wanted it bad. So we prayed beforehand, and we happened to use this Psalm. But before we even finished, I knew the answer was, “Not this one.” I knew it deep down because we prayed… “Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD!”

Wait on the LORD and He shall strengthen your heart. Do you know that “wait” means to look for, hope and expect? I didn’t know that till a few years ago. To me, wait simply meant that… wait. But God says not to just wait. He says to look for Him, hope in Him, and expect in Him. He says He’ll strengthen our hearts. And we know (at least in our heads), that there is purpose in the wait. God doesn’t allow us to go through things for no reason. He’s working on us. As we wait on Him, we look to Him. We pray to Him. We ask Him for help… we ask Him for His strength. Because we cannot do it alone. We do not possess the strength to get through life on our own. Remember, it’s “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). It’s “In Him is Strength”, not in me. And so we wait.

It’s recently that I’ve felt a glimmer of excitement. There’s a fresh hope in me. Because God has reminded me of His strength and power. Somehow, I forgot this most important truth. I became weary with my life and present circumstances. But it was yesterday through Psalm 21:1 that He reminded me… there is joy in His strength. It was through Nehemiah 8:10 that He reminded me, the joy of the LORD is my strength. He knew I needed to read this. Because I was coming to the end of my rope. And it’s obvious that all those around me are sliding down to the end of theirs, too. They’ve just about lost their grip in that no endurance remains, and their patience has run thin. They’ve become weary with their trials… they’re tired of their doubt and bitterness, sick of their distrust and despair, they no longer want to feel overwhelmed, and they don’t want to face another day of pain or disease. What LORD, can You offer as a word of encouragement? Because I’ve been feeling down, too. I don’t know that I have the words…

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. There is no searching of His understanding. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases in strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31

I have to smile when I read that last part… they shall run… they shall walk. Today those words have to be specifically for my dear friend. You see, she’s on crutches. And her God wants her to know He sees her. He is telling her that not only will she walk, but she will run. And may we all run. As we wait on Him, may we be expectant! As we wait on Him, may we have hope! And may we endure… because He will provide the strength.

“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27