The Glory of the LORD

appears at different times for different purposes.

Exodus 24:12-18 (ESV)

The LORD said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” So Moses rose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. And he said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we return to you. And behold, Aaron and Hur are with you. Whoever has a dispute, let him go to them.”

Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the LORD dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. Now the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. Moses entered the cloud and went up on the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

It seems that it’s OK for all the others to see the LORD’s feet, but not his glory; only Moses gets to see that. So, what exactly does “the glory of the LORD” mean? Some references make it seem that seeing His glory is not far from seeing His face (something man cannot do and live).

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. – Exodus 34:29 (ESV)

And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. – Exodus 40:35 (ESV)

Other references are less dramatic.

And Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting, and when they came out they blessed the people, and the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people. – Leviticus 9:23 (ESV)

And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. – Luke 2:9 (ESV)

The glory of the LORD is always a wondrous, intimidating sight. But it appears at different times for different reasons and purposes. Thus, by choice, it can have different effects.

Life has different effects. We never know what’s in store for us next. That can be exciting or intimidating. Still, our goal must always be to seek God’s direction. That is the great challenge facing every Christian.

Thus, a big part of every Christian’s prayer life should be seeking His will. Every big decision should be laid them before the LORD. If you feel so led, it’s okay to ask for a sign. There is biblical precedent.

But, there’s one possibility that most Christians don’t think of. Sometimes the answer is, “You must choose; I’m not bailing you out on this one.” Making our own choices (even mistakes) may be important.

The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.