Two ways to manifest the glory of God
The last time we interacted we talked about manifesting the glory of God and we said it can be done in two ways: by walking in a manner worthy of the calling we have received, that is, the calling of holiness; and then by manifesting of God’s power. This morning we want to continue from there and look at a few other things about the glory of God.
God wants his glory to live in the church forever
I believe God wants his glory to dwell among his people forever. So, in his prayer in Ephesians, Paul said “To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever.” But sometimes, though unfortunate, the children of get to a place where the glory is lost so, today, I speak to the topic, “The lost glory.” I will look at the causes and, if time permits, the effects of the lost glory on the church.
The form without the power
Read 1 Samuel 4:19-22 NLT.
War broke out between the Israelites and their archenemies the Philistines. It was a fierce battle and it got to a point where the Israelites felt they had no other option but to bring the ark of the covenant to the warfront. They thought by doing that they had brought the presence of God into the war since that was what it represented. When they brought it, there was so much jubilation that the Philistines feared but the Israelites did not know that God had left them.
The outcome of that battle was a disaster for the Israelites:
1. Israel was defeated and the ark was captured.
2. Eli and his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas died (1 Samuel 4:17-18).
3. Eli’s daughter-in-law went into premature labor and subsequently died.
What does it mean to lose the glory of God?
1. To miss out on the presence of God
The glory of God is the glorious presence of God so to miss out on his presence is to miss out on his glory. In the case of Israel, they lost the ark of God which represented his glorious presence. This is one of the most dangerous things that can happen to a child of God.
2. To lose your spiritual weight
One meaning of glory relates to the weight of the thing. When you lose your spiritual weight you become so light that you can be tossed about by any kind of wind. I pray we never get there. The believer then does not carry any weight. May God forbid that such a thing will ever happen to us.
We can lose the glory of God
It is possible to lose the glory of God. It is possible to get to ichabod. No matter how long you have been in the church, it is possible to lose out on the glory and miss out on his presence and to lose your weight. It is possible for the glory of God to be pushed out from the church.
How Samson lost the glory
Samson’s life started in glory. It was glorious until something happened for him to lose the glory. When Delilah saw that she had told her his heart, she called in his enemies to shave off his hair, thereby betraying him. When his enemies came and Samson tried to shake himself as he had done previously, he realized that the Lord had left him without him knowing. He was then captured and turned into a laborer and an object of entertainment for his enemies. Hence, don’t assume that you have become something in the church so you can never lose the glory of God. Regardless of your position or your status in society, it is possible to lose the glory.
How the people of Israel lost the glory
The second example is from the life of the Israelites. In Ezekiel 8:3-6, the glory of God was in the temple but because the people of Israel were committing abominations, the glory which was seated in the temple left and stood at the entrance (Ezekiel 9:3). In Ezekiel 10:18 the glory moved away from the door. The glory first moved from the temple to its entrance; it then moved from the door finally went out of the city (Ezekiel 11:23). May we never get to that point.
What would cause the glory of God to depart?
1. A sinful and immoral lifestyle
Sin will drive away the glory of God from the life of the believer and the church. If one lives in sin and immorality and enjoys it, that person loses the glory of God. Sin and an immoral lifestyle are recipes for disaster.
We have seen that in 1 Samuel 4, Israel lost the ark of God which represented the glory of God in the battle. Losing the ark meant losing the glory of God and the presence of God.
In 1 Samuel 2:12, we see that the sons of Eli were corrupt and did not know the Lord. In verse 17 we see that the sins of these young men were serious in the Lord’s sight because they treated the Lord’s offering with contempt. In verse 22 of the same chapter we are told that they were sleeping with the women who were serving at the entrance of the tent of meeting. Yet, when they got to the battlefield, it was these same sinful priests who were carrying the ark. Evil hands cannot carry the ark of God so it was not surprising that the people of Israel lost the war and the ark.
You may give huge offerings and may be well-regarded in church but so long as you get involved in sin, you will lose the glory of God.
In the book of Ezekiel we saw the glory of God moving from the temple to the entrance, and then from the entrance out of the city.
God told Ezekiel about what the people were doing (Ezekiel 8:6) and said they were going to do even worse. In Revelation we see Jesus knocking at the door because he had been taken out of the church.
Holiness is the key to seeing God and his glory. Holiness is the law of the temple (Ezekiel 43:12). This is not just an Old Testament principle that is no longer applicable. In Hebrews 12:14 we see that without holiness no one will see the Lord.
2. Not cultivating his presence
The presence of God must be cultivated by having time in his presence and fellowshipping with him in his word and prayer. In Mark 3:14 he appointed the twelve to be with him and so he could send them out to preach. It must not only be in church that we fall in love with God. We must enjoy his presence at all times.
May we always remember that the temple rule is absolute holiness. We must first be with him before we do any other thing.
1 Samuel 4:19-22, Ezekiel 9:3, Ezekiel 10:18, Ezekiel 11:23, 1 Samuel 2:12-22, Ezekiel 8:6, Ezekiel 43:12, Hebrews 12:14, Mark 3:14