Glory and power: two sides of the presence of God

hirsch-643340_640Jeremiah 20:11: But the LORD is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble; they will not overcome me. They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonor will never be forgotten. (ESV)

The presence of God makes all the difference. Moses told God: if your presence does not go with us, take us not from here (Exodus 33:15).

There are two sides of the presence of God: his glory and power. When David talked about encountering God in the temple, he said it is to see his glory and his power (Psalm 63:1-2). And when Jesus taught the lines of prayer, he ended by saying: thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever Amen (Matthew 6:13).

Glory

When God manifested in the temple in the Old Testament, it was in his glory which make it impossible for the priest to perform their normal duty (1Kings 8:11) as the dedication of the temple built by Solomon, when it was being separated to God’s name, which is the definition of holiness.

The manifestation of the glory is based on divine initiative, so all other initiatives, including human and demonic, must move aside, bow down, and bend over. The glory changes the atmosphere.

The glory makes people fall down. Angels bear the glory of God and when Daniel saw an angel, he fell down as one dead (Daniel 10:15-17). His self-effort was paralysed. His ability to make an effort was shut down in the face of the overwhelming glory of God.

When Jesus said “I am he” when certain soldiers came to arrest him in the Garden of Gethsemane, they fell down, to show that if he does not want to be arrested he will not be arrested (John 18:6).

And the miracles are associated with the glory of God. What only God can do is a manifestation of his glory, it is what brings praise to his name. The glory of God creates changes. It changed the water into wine (John 2:1-11).

Sin is counter the glory of God, that is why when man sinned in the garden, he was stripped of the glory of God and found himself naked (Genesis 3). And the bible says: all have sinned, falling short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Therefore, glory of associated with holiness.

God asked Jacob to take his family to Bethel. Years before he had an encounter with the glory of God in that place and he named it Bethel which means the house of God, which is where his glory manifests (Genesis 35:1-7).

He slept in that place and saw heaven opened and the angels of God moving up and down a ladder that reaches from heaven to the earth (Genesis 28:10-15). All the components of the dreams smack of the glory of God,

Heaven is full of the glory, the ladder connects earth to the glory in heaven, where the glory is generated. The earth has no glory of its own to generate, as the moon does not have its light to shine forth.  The angels in that dream are conveyers of the glory. And in the real sense, Jesus is the ladder as he himself revealed to Nathanael (John 1:45-51). That means without Jesus the glory of heaven will not come fully to the earth, and full angelic presence will not be experienced.

After Jacob returned from the house of Laban and had settled down God said he should go to Bethel, but it is if, and only if, his family will rid themselves of all idols. John wrote in one of his letter that we should keep ourselves from idols (1John 5:21), which are spiritual pollutants that counteract the holiness of God.

Paul wrote about being vessels of honour which actually means vessels of his glory, that whoever purges himself from whatever makes impure will be worthy to be a vessel of honour (2Timothy 2:19-22).

When we are separated to God we are able to manifest his glory in and through our lives. On Mount Sinai when God wanted to manifest his glory visibly in the eyes of the children of Israel, he said they need to clean up (Exodus 19:9-21).

And when the glory of God manifested in the lives of a priest Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth, when they had a child in their old age, the bible recorded that they walked with God blameless (Luke 1:6). And the experience of Enoch is instructive (Genesis 5:21-24).

After walking with God for hundreds of years that bible says that he was not, he ceased to be on earth because God took him, he entered fully the glory of God by the strength of his separation to him. Those who are persecuted for the sake of Christ are said to have the spirit of glory resting on them (1Peter 4:14), because of the sacrifice they have made, they have become living sacrifice. Remember the glory is about holiness.

Power

While we can tap into the glory of God through the path of holiness, the power of God is operationalised through faith. Jesus expended energy teaching the disciples about the need for faith. When he displayed power by casting out devils in the child which some of his disciples found difficult to do, he rebuked them for their lack of faith. He told the boy’s father: everything is possible for him who believes (Mark 9:14-21).

Faith turns on the power tap, it is man’s initiative and the glory is something that God initiates. Power is something man initiatives. Jesus said we will lay hands on the sick and they shall recover (Mark 16:15-18). You needed to take the step of faith to lay that hands to see the power of God manifest in healing.

Jesus was preaching at a house in the bible says that the power of God was present to heal (Luke 5:17-26).

While on earth Jesus walked in the power of God, but the glory of God could not be established in our lives without his holiness established in us as the Holy Spirit comes into us. The glory is more subtle. The bible says God is holy and we should be holy in all manner of conversation; that is about our lifestyle, but Jesus said when we have faith in God we will say to a mountain shift and it would obey us; that is power (Mark 11:22-24).

When power was present at that house where Jesus was preaching, not everyone was able to experience it. The friends of a paralysed man who brought him there experienced the power because through faith they initiated an encounter with Jesus.

The bible says that Jesus saw their faith through their action of breaking through the roof and they experienced the power as their friends rose up and walked.

Many times Jesus will say to people your faith as made you whole. A woman pressed through the crowd to touch Jesus and the twelve years of blood issuing from her ended (Luke 8:43-48). Jesus told her that her faith made her whole.

Her life was haemorrhaging away and she took a step of faith at the risk of her own life. She was brave, the four friends of that paralysed men were brave, and their desire for change, desire to experience the power of God was greater than their fear of what people might say. Their faith overcame their fear and they experienced the power of God.

Faith is the strong desire in the direction of what God can do. It is an unshifting desire, faith is an ongoing conversation between a man and heaven that constantly takes the goods of heaven available on earth.

Conclusion

While there are many overlaps between glory and power, they are also distinct. It takes the power of God to manifests gifts, and they can even manifest without holiness, but not so the glory of God.

His has confused many people, who see the display of the supernatural in the life of those who are empty of the life of holiness. But reading the first letter of Paul to the Corinthian church, will clear things up. They lacked behind in no gift (1Corinthians 1:6-7), but fornication was rampant (1Corinthians 5:1). The miracles can blind the eyes from the need for introspection and caution and internal transformation. So we can have the power without the glory. We can also have the glory without the power; that is if we do not believe for miracles. Jesus was the personification of the glory of the glory of God, the fullness of the Godhead bodily. However, when he was in his home town he did not do many miracles because of unbelief, though he taught the people (Mark 6:1-6). We need a balance, because the kingdom of God is about his power and glory, not just power or just glory.

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One thought on “Glory and power: two sides of the presence of God

  1. I liked this a day or two ago. I did not have the time to really read it but had quickly scanned it. Glad I came back today to read it in its entirety! I think it is a powerful message. Well written. Do you mind if I were to reblog it? Again, bless you brother for sharing an inspirational message!

    Liked by 1 person

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