Why, why, why is God such a glory hog? If one of our fellow humans acts this way, we find it appalling. No, really! When you work with someone who insists on getting all the glory for a job well done, doesn’t it just rankle? Hey, even if she deserves all the glory, it’s not considered good taste for her to insist on being given it. And if she wants to make sure everybody knows it was she who did it all and she’s the greatest . . . well, I don’t think I need to draw a picture. Nobody likes this chickie babe.
So what’s all this about God not sharing His glory and God getting all the glory and glorifying God all the time? Aren’t we supposed to be becoming more like Him? If that’s the case, couldn’t He at least try to pretend that He’d like to appear to have the teensiest bit of modest decorum? Why all the time “Look at Me! Look at Me!”? Does God have a self-esteem problem? Does He need us to prop Him up? To help Him feel better about Himself? To tell Him He’s worthy?
Now if you know Him, you know that can’t be so. Something doesn’t fit with the whole glory thing. There’s something here we’re not seeing. What is glory anyway, and why does God seem so obsessed with making sure no one gets any but Him? And why would He even want it so much?
Yet there’s no arguing . . . scripture is chock full of commands to give God the glory, glorify Him, glory, glory, glory — gimme more glory! A few years ago, I started obsessing about glory, too, because I’ve always been taught to be modest and self-effacing (probably to a fault) and not put myself forward or insist on getting credit for good things I’d done or display any desire or regard for the praise of men. The upshot has been that I’ve had to be sneaky about it. “Oh that ol’ thang?” (fetching blush — I hope) Well yes . . . I guess I did make that . . . .
Anyway, I decided to find out what “glory” really was, in a biblical sense. In the Old Testament, the word kabod is translated glory. It means, at its foundation, heavy. It connotes splendor, copiousness, and honor. Put that way, it’s hard to begrudge these things to God. All it amounts to is telling the true story of who He is. It’s He who created us and this splendid home in which we live, the world. He’s supplied this planet copiously with all we need, and who but He should we honor for all this? When you consider how easily humankind has tended to fall into all forms of idolatry — and how disastrous that idolatry has been in terms of human suffering, it only makes sense that our loving Father should insist that we acknowledge that HE, and no one else, is God.
The New Testament word for glory is doxa. The Thayer definition for this is long, but the first couple of lines read: opinion, judgement, view . . . estimate, whether good or bad concerning someone. One of my other references, which I can’t seem to find just now, described doxa as telling the true story about someone, whether that story was good or bad. In the case of God, this story is, of course, good — providing we know Him well enough to know the true story about Him. Doxa also includes such meanings as splendor, copiousness, and honor, which are hardly incompatible with telling the true story of our wonderful Abba.
I love this definition because it makes so much sense of God’s continual demands for glory. He wishes to be accurately represented. He desires to be known on the earth. This fits. It makes sense. God had a purpose in creating. He was complete in Himself; Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Together in One, God is and has always been love. But love desires to expand itself and to share with an other. God the father had His Beloved in His Son, the Son in His Father, and both in the Holy Spirit as the Spirit loves the Father and Son — yes, they were complete in One and in one another. Yet God wanted a wider circle of love — a wider expression of Himself.
God wished to be revealed through and to the creation He intended to create. And this is glory — in a nutshell — or more accurately, in a seed.
The Holy Spirit has given us a number of pictures of God’s eternal purpose, and in my next post I’ll share one or two of them.