As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house. When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshipped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures for ever.” -2 Chronicles 7:1-3 ESV
“The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts.’” -Haggai 2:9 ESV
Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” -Exodus 33:18 ESV
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. -2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV
There are three things that are set within a pattern in the Old and New Testaments. These three things work together to bring honour and glory to God. They are divine order, God’s glory, and God’s judgement.
Whenever we see God’s glory it encompasses those who were holy and living solely for God. God set order to a world that was without form or basically a world that was disorderly. The earth was formless and chaotic. Nothing was in place until God set everything into motion. God spoke order into being. When He created Adam and Eve, they were covered with God’s shekinah glory, they had no need for outward clothing. They walked in God’s glory, slept in God’s glory, ate in God’s glory, and lived in God’s glory. Their fellowship with God was sweet. They did not have to worry about anything because everything was provided for them. Until Satan came into the picture.
Once again, he wanted the glory and honour. Thus the reason he was kicked out of heaven. He tempted Eve and of course she fell for it and ate the fruit. Then Adam although knowing what God had told him about the fruit, ate it as well. He deliberately disobeyed God and blamed Eve for his own disobedience. Because of their disobedience, they realised that they were naked. At this point the glory of God had departed from them. They lost that sweet, beautiful relationship with Him at that particular point due to disobedience. If we too disobey God after tasting and seeing His glory, we will be punished. This is discipline from a just and loving Father.
Each time God set things into motion, someone in the Bible messed things up. Look at Moses. He was a holy man, stood in the very presence of God on the top of Sinai. He had a willing heart to follow Him and to lead the Israelites out of Egypt to the Promised land. He tasted the Lord, he knew that the Lord was good. He even came down from the mountain top so full of God’s glory that others could not bear to see His sight. Moses was very close to God. However, because of disobedience, he lost the chance to be able to walk into the Promised Land. He knew what God had said and the human side got in the way and he disobeyed by striking the rock. It may seem like a minor sin to us, nothing to worry about. It may even seem like cruel and unusual punishment for Moses to miss out on walking into that land that God had promised His people so many years ago. However, because Moses experienced the shekinah glory of God, he was held to a higher standard. We too are held to a higher standard when we carry the name of Jesus as our faith. And no this is not just the pastor that has to live up to that higher standard, everyone that claims they are a Christian is accountable once we know His truth.
So, why have we not seen much of this shekinah glory? Why does it not fall like it used to in the early days? What has happened to us? First of all, the church has become too religious. We have become too comfortable, too deceived, and very unaware of our true heart condition. We have also become too afraid of the extraordinary. We need a sure foundation in their spiritual lives before they can grow in their spiritual walk. If God poured out His Spirit like He did in the olden days of the Welsh or other revivals, what a difference it would make. In the early days of the church, people didn’t care whether or not they were opposed, they were on fire for Jesus and they wanted the world to know about it. They counted the costs and realised that life with Jesus, though they had to give up everything, was far better than life without Him.
We cannot live on formula prayers. We can recite the Lord’s prayer all we want, but if we do not truly believe the truths that are stated in that prayer, what is the point? The problem is there are very few people that even attend prayer meetings within the church. And if there is a prayer meeting, it lacks passion or power in prayer. When is the last time any of us really prayed hard about something or someone? When is the last time we came before God in tears and agony over them? When is the last time we actually cried out for hours or even days for God to answer a specific prayer? When is the last time we shouted in anger at God over injustices, or pure no understanding of situations? We need passion in our relationship with God, we need power in our prayers!
But we cannot have this if we do not really know God. It’s not just knowing scriptures, coming to church, singing a few hymns. It’s about really knowing God intimately like Adam and Eve and Moses. I would love to hear from God as Abraham did, I am a friend of God. We can only love God as much as we know Him. How many of us loved our best friend or spouse before we even knew them? Impossible isn’t it. We may have that brotherly love towards them, but I am talking about intimate, passionate love. That’s what God wants from us. That can only come through a living relationship with Him.
Jesus said on judgement day He will be separating the sheep from the goats. There are some that will cry out and say didn’t we claim you as Lord, didn’t we go to church, didn’t we sing those beautiful hymns uplifting your name, didn’t we serve others and give all the time unto your name? And Jesus will look at them and tell them ‘I do not know you.’ But why? Why would Jesus say this? Surely if we have said to Him Lord I confess my sins, I ask you to come into my heart and forgive me of my sins, we will go to heaven. We are to work our salvation out daily, being in a relationship with Him. There is no point in giving to the church and serving in the church if we are going to neglect the poor, the down trodden, the beaten, the lonely, the hurting. If we are in relationship with Jesus, we will love them as well, because we never know, we may be entertaining angels or even Jesus himself. Jesus said whatever you have done unto these brothers you have done unto me.
If we want to see God’s glory in the church, there must be divine order in our lives. We must know God intimately. We have to die to ourselves and have no agendas but God’s. In the early church, the disciples in the Upper Room were in one accord. The interesting thing I found was that there were only a few that afternoon in the Upper Room compared to the amount of people that said that they were followers of Jesus. There was a little over a hundred and that may seem a lot but when compared to 5000 plus people, but really it is not.
Those who decide that they want to experience the true shekinah glory of the Lord will wait for Him, they will die to themselves, and they will go where God goes. All that should matter is following Jesus. Those that left Jesus, either got fed up and bored waiting, got too comfortable and just wanted it the way it had always been, or just went back to their old lifestyles. The ones that had the true desire to know God intimately, received His power at Pentecost. And when His power came, thousands came to know the Lord as their Saviour after Peter stood up and preached. They were so full of His power that the people thought they were absolutely drunk in the later hours of the morning!
It is our choice whether or not we really want to experience the true glory of God. He wants to share it with us. He wants to have that intimate relationship with us as He did with Adam and Eve in the garden. He wants to have a closeness with us as He did with Moses, David, Peter, Paul. We have to take a look at the costs of following Him and decide, is this worth it. Are we willing to stop following our own agendas for ourselves and or the church? Are we willing to die to ourselves and pursue His holiness, pursue His glory? I cannot make the decision for you. I can only make it for myself. Do we really want what God wants for us or do we just want to keep going as we are?
It is my desire to follow hard after God’s own heart. I want to experience His shekinah glory and I want to really know Him. The more I do, the more I love Him and I want to share that love. I want to be busy going where God wants and being who He has called me to be. Do you?