July 26, 2012
I recently spent a night out in the wilderness near Mt. San Jacinto. Stars spanned from horizon to horizon in every direction, so thick they seemed to be touching one another. We can even see the heavens more fully through a telescope, or in pictures taken through one. The Scriptures say that, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1, ESV) Yet as urban dwellers, how often do we get a good look into the night sky that takes our breath away and lets us see it for what it really is? In the same way that man-made light or clouds get in the way of revealing a full view of the night sky, I think our view of the glory of God is too easily hindered. Of all places, we should clearly see the glory of God in the worship service. It ought to be like getting a good look through a telescope. Here are a few pointers on seeing the glory of God next time you come to worship.
First of all, God is pleased when we ask him to reveal his glory to us. Moses did. He was in the midst of a pretty intense personal worship moment. Speaking with the Lord, he made this plea, “Please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight.” (Exodus 33:13) The Lord granted this wish and promised his presence. Then Moses went even deeper. He made a bold request: “Please show me your glory.” (vs.18) Again, God agreed, but on his terms—not a full view, just a view of his back. God said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you my name, the Lord.” (vs.19) It is appropriate to ask when the asking accompanies our desire to know God more and submits to God’s terms.
Second, God’s glory is indeed present every time we come to worship him, but we may not be aware. Paul makes two revealing statements about where the glory of God shows up. In 2 Corinthians 4:6, we are told that God gives us, “…the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” I’m reminded that the more clearly we see Christ, the more we experience the glory of God! Both the message and the worship music at Trinity is intended to focus the telescope in on Christ and the gospel, so that the worshiper who seeks Jesus’ face, will indeed be rewarded. Another stunning statement is found a few verses prior: “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV) The transforming work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is a primary way that God reveals his glory. His glory is reflected in his people gathered to worship.
The word magnify is synonymous with glorify and helps us understand our role of singing or speaking praise to the Lord. When I magnify something, I’m able to see the finer details and it becomes bigger and more magnificent. That’s what happens when we corporately gather to worship the Lord. “Oh, magnify the Lord with me, let us exalt his name together!” (Psalm 34:3)