From glory to Glory

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the Glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of Glory to another; for this comes from the Lord Who is the Spirit.                          II Corinthians 3:18


[Exodus 24:15-18; 34:29-34]  Then Moses went up on the mountain and the cloud covered the mountain.  The Glory of the Lord settled 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. ….

When Moses came down … (he) did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God.  And when Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.  But Moses called to them … and talked with them … all that the Lord had spoken with him in Mount Sinai.  When Moses finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face; but whenever he went in before the Lord to speak with Him, he took the veil off, until he came out; and when he came out, and told the people of Israel what he was commanded.

Moses talked with God – had a conversation with Jehovah – saw God’s Glory, and his face shone.  What a privilege that had been!!  Moses got to talk with God!!  It was so wonderful that his face captured just a glimpse of that Glory and it shone – it was all lit up, all bright.  In fact, it was so overpowering that everybody was afraid of this man, they didn’t know what to do with him, they didn’t know how to handle him.

Often, especially in this account, we immediately think of God’s Glory as a brightness.   However, prior to these verses which describe how Moses’ face shone and the people’s fear of him, there are some significant verses in Exodus 33 and the beginning of chapter 34.  Within a relationship described as remarkably close, Moses felt bold to ask the Creator of the Universe, “Please, show me Your Glory.”

God’s instant response reveals an essential understanding as to what He values in His Glory:

 “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you the [Covenant] Name ‘Jehovah’; I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy” [33:19]

and then

“Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast Love [HESED] and faithfulness, keeping steadfast Love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but Who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and their children, to the third and the fourth generation” [34:6-7].

If this is the Glory which imprints itself upon Moses’ face, then it is not merely brightness, but somehow the full range of this Glory as God defined it, I would expect in some way it would also be spiritually embedded in that brilliance.

Yet the people are afraid – or better described as overwhelmed.  How content we are to have a God Who fits neatly into a picture we have imagined, but this – this is beyond what we can handle.  Even God’s good qualities in which we find comfort are so intense, so encompassing, that we only want just a glimpse with spiritual sunglasses on.

So now listen again to St Paul in today’s text:

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the Glory of the Lord, are being changed into His likeness from one degree of Glory to another; for this comes from the Lord Who is the Spirit.

How about you?  When you go to talk with the Lord, do you see His Glory?  Do you return from Him with your face shining?  Do you return to your daily life just radiating the peace of God which surpasses all understanding; with the joy that is full because His joy is in you; with the power to do even more than Jesus did because He has gone to the Father; meanwhile your face radiates Christ’s presence, because He is with us always even to the end of this age?

Do you catch the Glory of the Lord as you stand in His presence finding yourself being changed into His likeness from one degree of Glory to another?  Do people not know quite what to do with you because SOMETHING is radiating through you that they just don’t know how to handle?  Is that what happens to you?

Or is it that when you finish talking with the Lord, you may feel maybe a little better, but not usually?  How easy it is to come back from our prayers with the vague feeling that nobody was listening, or perhaps that we only got the Lord’s answering machine, and that He’ll “get back to us later.”  Do you have the sense that although you talked with the Lord, things really won’t change – that you merely go back into the same old way of life, the same old habits and problems, the same old you? l Is that what happens when you talk with the Lord?

DHEA: Low level of testosterone is considered as one of levitra from canada the easiest medicinal treatments that must be administered orally along with water to the patient. There are many good spas are really providing the best massage services cheap sale viagra to the customers. It has become a popular export in the form of seeds, juice, frozen fruit pulp and dried/freeze-dried formats. The green stalks of this herb should be pounded with an equal amount of sugar. Perhaps the reason why we don’t have the Glory of God shining through us is because too often we don’t even see His Glory.  Does that describe your life?  Do you take time – to actually set aside some time to see His Glory – to make this a part of your prayer life?  Or are you so full of your problems and cares, so full of your worries and concerns, so full of yourself and your world, that you never pause long enough to focus on the Lord of the Universe and to give Him a chance to reply – that you never take your eyes off of your things to consider the breadth of His Glory?  that you never stop to see Him and His greatness FOR your life and problems?

You know that’s often our situation – we never give God a chance.  So often our prayers are monologues, not conversations with Him.  Our prayers can frequently be so preoccupied with ourselves that we really don’t bother looking mindfully at HIM.

God is there and involved in everything you do at home, in your normal activities, shopping, recreation, at whatever is your business of the day; His Glory – everything that God is – His love, His power, His joy, His wrath, His creativeness, His ability – everything – this GLORY is found even in the most dull or frustrating or disappointing of days.  His Glory is still there powerfully brilliant from a God that is very much involved and in control.  That Glory is a part of your play, your sleeping, your eating – everywhere in your life.

Do you really take the time to see the Glory of God?  Does He get at least equal time in your prayers, a time where you stop looking down at all the things you are concerned about, and look up, to see His Glory?

The best place to start is to look at the Cross, for there is the Glory of His great steadfast Love for you.  There is the evidence of what God wants for you, not that you die on that Cross but that the debt, the penalty, the suffering, the death you owe for your rebellion has been paid in full.  There is the greatness of our Lord’s faithfulness that would not stumble at the edge of giving Himself, even when confronted with death.  That Cross is the seal and the guarantee of God’s free gift of Life, of forgiveness.  Take a moment in your prayers for a long hard look at the Cross!

Then look at the Glory of Christ’s resurrection, this power of God unto salvation, the power of God to reverse even the laws of nature.  Here is the God Who is not afraid to shake the universe for His children, to bend His mighty power simply because His child asked Him to.  Here is the God Who shows He can truly give Life to you.

How about catching sight of the Glory of God’s presence in you, through the Holy Spirit!  He is not afraid nor ashamed to be that remarkably connected with you, so that you have a special “edge” for facing the world – because “greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world” [I John 4:4] and “nothing in all of creation can separate us from this Love of God” [Romans 8:38-39] – because He is IN US, not merely with us.  He is our Shield around us so that nothing, no trial, no temptation, no disaster, no terrifying thing, NOTHING can even come close to us except it be by His permission.

See the Glory of God in your Baptism – where God has raised you up to the very same level as His Son, to be loved just as much and just as deeply as Jesus Christ is loved – you are a co-heir with Jesus Christ! [Romans 8:17]  Just think what it means to be able to call God Father – to be that personal with Him, and to realize that He’s more open and more ready to listen to you than any earthly father could be.  Think of that, that He would actually say to you, “My beloved son, in Whom I am well pleased; My beloved daughter, in whom I take great delight.”

Look at the Glory in Holy Communion, where God Himself makes Himself available to you, that He is present as He has promised and that He has come here especially for you – as He gives you His very self, so that you can eat and drink of Him, so that you can enjoy Him: so that you can truly “taste and see that the Lord is good” [Psalm 34:8].

In the Benediction concluding the service are the words: “The Lord make His face shine upon you, The Lord lift up His countenance upon you” [Numbers 6:23-27]  Have you ever really stopped to listen to those words?  The Lord takes such delight in you that His face just shines, because you are here.  And because you are just you, the whole countenance – the whole being of God – just lifts, every time He remembers you – because that’s His Love!!  for you!!  A Love that is freely given to you, not something you had to earn and work for.  Most of all, He just loves you because you are you.

What a perspective this can give to your prayers!  Now the Lord has a chance to show you Himself, to converse with you as you see your problems against the backdrop of this wonderful Glory of the Lord.  And then opening the Bible to have Him actually talk to you through His Word – you know, given half a chance, that can get downright exciting!

Think about this God Who died for you – that despite the so many times where we have betrayed Him, that despite the many times where we act as if He is nothing, that He is more or less a fool who doesn’t see or understand what we are doing, how He still would give Himself for us so totally and in so many ways.  Just think what it means that you are His beloved child over whom He rejoices [Isaiah 62:5; Matthew 18:13].

What a wonderful opportunity to talk WITH the Lord and not just TO Him, to know that He wants to show us all sorts of things about Himself – to show us His Glory, to show us just how His power, His love, His presence – and all the other things that make Him God – how in all these things He wants to make Himself part of our lives, because that’s His concern for you and me.

That’s the Glory of this God, a Glory that is so great that it can just fill you with all its wonder and joy and peace.  Come before this God, humbly repenting how you have so neglected His Glory so that He may now fill your vision with the wonder of all He is and has.  And when your face has captured that Glory because you have, like Moses, gone and talked with the Lord, it will just radiate through you and be a Glory that people will notice about you.

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