The Power and the Glory
To start with we can look and share together (the Power) which culminates the Glory. We know from experience that for the past 6,000 years mankind has never fully understood the working Power from God on high, but we can say with conviction that even now we accept it from the Almighty. Listen if you will to the words in 1 Chronicles 29:10‑12 "Wherefore David blessed the LORD before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. Thine, O LORD is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all." It is wonderful how David who was a shepherd boy and now is able to express his thanks to God in such a way as King over Jerusalem for 33 years, and 7 years prior to that in Hebron. We can testify to God’s power in His wondrous works; and declare this as the psalmist "Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare." (Psalm 75:1)We have substantial evidence before us. The one that comes to my mind when we see the mighty oceans and how God in His infinite wisdom used His creation as well as Himself to control the seas. Some of us might have seen a restless sea that pounds against the rocks and after some time reshapes the rocks by it’s continual force. And the same sea can be so calm that we say it’s like a mill‑pond. Then we get the concentrated rays of the sun that can burn dry grassland. This is limited power from God’s wonderful creation.
Let us at this point refresh our minds to the fourth day of creation Genesis 1:16 "And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: He made the stars also." As we know the greater light we call the sun and the lesser light the moon. It says God made these lights to rule, which indicates to have control. Psa.29:4 "The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty." This is the all‑powerful, almighty God, full of strength and majesty. He is the One whom we serve and dwell with. Is this not a terrific rich and wonderful blessing. He has the authority to do anything. We are told that His Kingdom is not in word, but power. A God of excellence. In other words He uses His power in a dignified manner. As we know God is always worthy of honour.
Psalm 104 in the first five verses gives a wonderful description on the points we are making. "Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain: who layeth the beams of His chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds His chariot: who walketh upon the wings of wind: who maketh His angels spirits; His ministers a flaming fire: who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever." We all can say with an honest heart "This is our God."
The psalmist David went through some frightening and difficult experiences, even to the point of life threatening. He thanked his God for His power of deliverance which was impossible in David’s own strength. There is a remarkable chapter in the book of Samuel, so we can now cite a few verses. 2 Samuel 22, it opens with words of deliverance. Then he mentions what God means to him. Let us mentally remember or keep in mind those words recorded in verse four. He says "I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised". As we go down the verses to seven "in my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God". Why? Because He is God, almighty and powerful. When we come to verse eighteen it confirms what we have just said, "He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me." Is it any wonder that he called upon his all powerful God. We now come to verse thirty‑three "God is my strength and power: and He maketh my way perfect". And David closes with a word of gratitude and thanks.
Two verses from the prayer of Moses—Psa.90:1:2 "Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God." There is no God like our God. The mighty power of God that divided the sea for a pathway of deliverance. The almighty God that defended His people in battle. The all‑powerful God that sent fire from heaven. He sent plagues for the injustice and disobedience. His power caused a dislocated ankle for His purpose. If it was not for God’s power we would not be here today. We shall expand this thought a little later. Only the power of the almighty God could rent the veil in the temple from top to bottom. Only the power of God could open prison gates without a key or roll a huge stone away from a tomb. The power we speak of is beyond human comprehension. Who can change the hearts of a whole nation? This is by God’s almighty power. In fact He will bring all nations unto Jerusalem. The all‑powerful almighty God has and will manifest His power in His works as well as His Word of promise. His power is in everything we see that He has created because He declared it as being very good. In His wisdom and power this means nothing else can excel. Have you heard or read how man tries to play God and what a mess he often makes of it? If you name one thing man has made powerful; it is usually noisy. Whereas, God’s power is almost unnoticeable. Every living organism God has created has breath of life. One example is living cells. A hidden power from on high. These cells are ten square micrometres. This in itself is almost unbelievable if it was not from such a mighty powerful creator. When it comes to us regarding God’s power we should pause and consider the words the apostle Paul gave to Timothy. We go to verse seven of the second epistle to Timothy chapter one, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." The spirit of power, love and a sound mind. As we know it’s all by His grace. How do we use it? And for what possible purpose was it given? If we fear anything is it not a mind of uncertainty. The words "fear not" are given for each day of the calendar year in the word of God. Let’s for example take the spirit of power and love together. This will rule out any possible doubts, because the love that is spoken of here is perfect love and perfect love casteth out fear. A description of casting out can be used in the sense of fishing. Once the line is cast out into the mid oceans, that part is gone, and it needs physical power to pull in the fish.
We come back to the second part of the question which was–What possible purpose was given? One simple answer could be to help us overcome evil with good. What does the sound mind part of the text imply? Two suggestions:
Let us highlight these scriptures. It is good to read them but the suggestion is to mentally ponder over what we highlight and think about what it means to us individually. The Father of the Lord Jesus Christ is the Father of Glory. Think in our mind now the word Selah meaning—pause, consider and meditate. Then again God gives us the spirit but this time it is in relationship with His Son. The spirit of wisdom and revelation (Selah). Now we come to the mind because it reacts to what we see and understand. The true light from God opens up our minds by the windows of our eyes. (Selah).
Then to that great and mighty power of God of whom we have been speaking about, verse twenty we have already considered. The next three verses give the expanse and vastness of God’s power to its ultimate end. Everything we have expressed, should we trust, to the glory of God. It seems now appropriate to turn our thoughts to Psalm 19 the first two verses "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth
His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge." The psalmist knew what he was referring to. This was possibly the literal heavens in David’s mind for he often gazed to the heavens. God’s glory is even revealed to us today when we look at the grandeur. The heavens revolving day and night in perfect silence. This in itself should also confirm our faith in God and the knowledge of Him is increased.
Some have asked the question—What is glory? The dictionary describes it this way—illustrious, splendid, excellent, delightful and heavenly bliss. It certainly is illustrious and excellent. There are many other ways in describing the glory of the heavens. If we have any knowledge and understanding at all; we do know it did not evolve or came with a bang. These are only theories. The prophet Isaiah states that the earth is full of His glory. One writer puts it this way–"Our spiritual lives would benefit if we would stand aside from the ordinary pursuits of our daily lives and enter into the majestic presence of God who set the stars in orbits, and say within ourselves, "What is man, that thou art mindful of him"? (Psalm 8:4) Perhaps the most needful spiritual experience, not only among secular man, but also among believers today, is a sense of awe such as Isaiah experienced in the presence of the holy God whose glory fills the whole earth.
Let us turn to the Mount Sinai scene. Exodus 24:15‑18 "Moses went up to the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the LORD rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; and on the seventh day He called to Moses from the midst of the cloud. And to the eyes of the sons of Israel the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the mountain top. Moses entered the midst of the cloud as he went up to the mountain; and Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights." (NASB) We mention this scene because it describes the glory of the Lord upon Mount Sinai. We then have a detailed description of the tabernacle and its furnishings. The entrance to the tabernacle always faced east. This is important when we read Ezekiel 10:19 "and every one stood at the door of the east gate of the LORD’s house; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above." The Shekinah Glory is the presence of God. Another evidence of the Shekinah is found in Ezekiel 43. Look at verse two "and behold; the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the way of the east. And His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory." (NASB) The well‑known historian Josephus makes an interesting thought as regards to the Shekinah; here’s what he mentions: "that in the Spring of 66 A.D. some astonishing events took place within the Temple. He recorded three miracles associated with Yehovah’s ‘Shekinah’ and the Temple—each one showed clearly that the ‘Shekinah’ was departing from the Holy of Holies. He stated "that a Great Light shone over the altar for thirty minutes at 3 o’clock in the morning (a week before Passover in A.D.66) and then it departed. He said the sacred scribes interpreted this sign as a bad omen for the Temple. It was like the Shekinah Glory moving away from the Tabernacle in the wilderness as a sign to disassemble the Tabernacle and transport it to another location" (ibid.). Josephus goes on to say that a few days later (during Passover itself) the enormous brass gates of Nicanor, requiring twenty men to open and close them, opened at midnight of their own accord. This was also interpreted as showing a desolation coming upon the Temple. And then about fifty days later, on Pentecost, the final sign was given which definitely showed that the Shekinah Glory was departing the Temple as the other signs indicated." (ibid.) There are many more occasions of God’s Glory with many references but we now want to move forward to the New Testament. At the time of Jesus’ birth you will remember the shepherds were carrying out their normal duties watching over their sheep at night, the angel of Lord appeared to them suddenly which is itself very frightening. The possibly bright light which was brighter than the mid‑day sun shone over them. The scripture states that this is the glory of the Lord. Where was the star that guided the wise men? Yes! in the east; significant; possibly. When Jesus commenced His ministry by the power of the Spirit He was known throughout the region of Galilee. As we know He taught in the synagogues. In Luke 4:16‑19 (NASB) "And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, "THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED (downtrodden), TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD." Then verse twenty is the reaction and as their eyes were fixed on Him: He began to say unto them, (v.21) "This Day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." So, throughout His ministry the Spirit of God empowered Him to heal the sick and perform those outstanding miracles that could never be achieved in any other way.
Let’s go to the city called Nain; a mother who was a widow with her dead and only son. The Lord Jesus had compassion on her, and said unto her; "Weep not." And He touched the bier and they that bare him stood still. And He said, "young man, I say unto thee, Arise, and he that was dead sat up and began to speak." What a miracle, what a power and they glorified God. (Luke 7:11‑17) Well: the power and the glory, so amazing.
Now we come to the Day of Pentecost. God chose His twelve disciples to dwell together in one place; in an upper room to experience a unique power from on high. For it was the third hour on the day of Pentecost. And while they were praying and offering up supplications, suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. Well, the nearest we can describe this is possibly like our whirlwinds. True to say we do not know but I understand the sound is terrific and frightening. The word describes it a sound of a rushing mighty wind. Acts 2:3,4 "And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were…filled with the Holy Spirit." Each one of them were empowered by the almighty Himself. Why is that? The scriptures once again as evidence: if needed to be fulfilled. The prophet Joel refers to the time when the Lord God will pour out His Spirit upon all flesh. As a reference it is Joel 2:28 onwards. The same as Peter proclaimed to clear the confusion of drunkenness and the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:14 onwards.
We said earlier if it was not God’s power at work, we would not be here today. Because, of the resurrection of Jesus by the power of God. There would not be any purpose or belief in thinking that there is life after death, no hope in living, no blessings now and certainly no hope for mankind. Everything would be corrupt and of a futile nature. Thank God that we have been given the power that raised Jesus Christ from the tomb. As we know those who are born of the spirit are also led by the spirit. It is not only believing and receiving, which is worthwhile and right; but what do we do with it? We all have a personal responsibility. To want to be here should be some of the answer, so that we can help and build one another up in love. This is the privileged power God has given us; and this in itself pleases God. When we praise and thank Him we are bringing respectful honour and glory to God through Jesus Christ His Son. There are times when the whole of heaven sing praises to God. Because we believe in the power and the glory of God and all that we receive of Him is through His Son we do testify for "we know that the Son of God is come, and given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life." (1 John 5:20)
The power and the glory of God have complete control even today. If there is any slightest doubt, it is because He still has the authority to allow some things to take place; so that His creation is tried and tested and that in due time will turn man’s hearts and minds to the great and powerful God and creator of all things. We continue to give Him the honour and the glory. We continue to resound His name abroad and proclaim Him as the God of the universe. May our prayers be similar to David’s in Psalm 72:18,19 "Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who alone works wonders. And blessed be His glorious name forever; and may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen, and Amen." (NASB)