Glorify the Lord

Bringing glory to God is, in essence, why we are here on this Earth. I suppose there are many ways in which we can glorify the Lord. In fact, I would be keen to hear your thoughts on that, so do comments below. What does it mean to you to “glorify the Lord?” How do you do it day by day?

We are on the earth to glorify God. How do you do that? #Bible #Jesus #Christianity

Looking to the Scripture, I turn to a specific example from Joshua to help us see one way to do this. It may not, as I have found, be immediately intuitive as to how this account fits in with “glorifying the Lord,” but let’s see what we can learn.

The actual words I want to look at appear in Joshua 7, but before I share them, we need to remind ourselves of what happened in Joshua 6. This is the account of how the Israelites, under Joshua’s lead, took the city of Jericho. God instructs the people not to just attack, but instead offers them a rather unorthodox battle plan. For seven days, they are to march around the city walls. Imagine trying to sell that to your generals! On the seventh day, they are to march around not once, but seven times and once complete they are to shout. As they do this, the wall of the city will fall and they can rush in upon the enemy.

Strange as it may sound, this is precisely what happens. They march, they blow trumpets, and then they shout. The walls fall and the enemy is destroyed.

God gave specific instructions through Joshua about the spoils of the attack. They were not to take anything that was devoted to destruction.

On the seventh day, they rose early at the dawning of the day, and marched around the city in the same way seven times. On this day only they marched around the city seven times. 16 At the seventh time, when the priests blew the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout, for Yahweh has given you the city! 17 The city shall be devoted, even it and all that is in it, to Yahweh. Only Rahab the prostitute shall live, she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent. 18 But as for you, only keep yourselves from what is devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted it, you take of the devoted thing; so you would make the camp of Israel accursed and trouble it. 19 But all the silver, gold, and vessels of bronze and iron are holy to Yahweh. They shall come into Yahweh’s treasury.”

Joshua 6:15-19 WEB

This is not unclear. There is no room for misunderstanding or negotiation. Take nothing for yourselves. If you do, you will bring a curse and trouble upon the camp of Israel.

Did they all obey this instruction? You can probably guess, but if not, Joshua 7 begins:

But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the devoted things; for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. Therefore Yahweh’s anger burned against the children of Israel.

Joshua 7:1 WEB

So we see that a man named Achan took some of the spoil for himself, and thus broke God’s command. I recently heard John MacArthur say that you can remember this because Achan was “aching” to take something!

What happens next is that the Israelites go up to spy on the people of Ai, and the spies say (in my own words) “Don’t worry about it, just send up a few thousand men as we won’t need the full army to take the few people of Ai!”

They lose. Around 36 Israelites are slain, and the people of Ai chase the army. The result is tremendous fear among the men of Israel, so much so that the Bible describes their hearts melting and turning like water (see Joshua 7:5). So shocked are they at this loss, that they cry out to God in confusion, unable to fathom how God’s people were defeated. God reveals that there is sin among them and that they must root out the cause.

Joshua assembles the people, and then begins to whittle down the group by tribe, family and household. Achan and his family are brought forwards.

We read:

Joshua said to Achan, “My son, please give glory to Yahweh, the God of Israel, and make confession to him. Tell me now what you have done! Don’t hide it from me!”

Joshua 7:19 WEB

Achan is caught. Notice Joshua’s words here “Glorify the Lord.” What does he mean, and why would Achan confessing his sin bring glory to God?

I think that there are two main reasons why this confession would bring God glory.

Firstly, God is holy, and we are not. This is a critical lesson we need to review frequently I believe. Confessing sin admits that God is greater than we are, and so brings Him glory. We are sinful, and He is not, and that makes Him superior. More than this though, He is also the One with the power to forgive and cleanse us. Confessing sin not only recognises our inferiority to God, but also glorifies Him by seeking His favour in forgiveness.

#God is #holy and we are not. Confessing our sin brings Him #glory #Bible #Jesus #Christianity

Forgiveness is only available through the cleansing blood of God’s Son – Jesus Christ. To seek forgiveness from God is to acknowledge the sacrifice of His Son. While Achan perhaps had little idea of Jesus’ work at the cross that would one day come, we certainly do. Achan, though, did know that he had fallen far short of obedience before God.

Secondly, God’s reputation is at stake here before all the people. He has brought out the clans, tribes and families and selected Achan. Were Achan to deny it, it would essentially be calling God a liar in front of everyone. “You are quite wrong God! It wasn’t me! I did no such things!” Imagine that! Imagine bearing false witness against the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Even disobedient Achan did not go that far, and neither should we.

Do you put God’s reputation above your own? It is better to admit when we are wrong than God’s Name be maligned #Bible #Christianity

So, Achan brings God glory by confessing his sin. He admits to taking the items dedicated to destruction, and Joshua sends men to go and find them. There, beneath his tent, the stolen goods are found and brought to Joshua. What happens next may seen harsh to our ears. Achan and his entire family are taken and stoned, and all the people and goods are burned I the valley. This indicates to us how seriously God hates sin, and that we ought not to trifle with it. It is also clear that Achan could not have done this without his family knowing, as it is rather hard to bury the goods in the middle of the tent without those living I the tent noticing. None of them came forward to tell Joshua what had been done, and neither did they give back the goods. They had hoped, like Achan, to get away with it.

So returning to the question we began with, how do we bring glory to God? Was confessing your sin on your list? It probably would not have been on my top ten! There may be many ways to glorify the Lord, and admitting our faults and rejoicing in His forgiveness is certainly one way to do it.

Will you bring Him glory today? Will you stand before Him and be open about your failures? Thank God that He has made a way for us to be forgiven and set free! Thank God that we need not face the same penalty as Achan, but instead can tell the world how great our God is!

When I Consider (Poem on Psalm 8)

I recently posted a poetic version of Psalm 150 which you can read here – Psalm 150 Poetry.

At church this week I was inspired to write this poetic version of Psalm 8. Here’s the poem, and after the text of the Scripture.

Enjoy!


How wonderful You are!

The greatness of Your Name

Throughout all the earth

Is Your magnificent fame


When I consider

The works of Your hands

The moon, and the stars,

All the seas and lands.


What am I before You?

A mere human being

A son of man

All my cares You are seeing


I am less than a god

And lower than an angel

Yet crowned with such honour

Your glory I’ll tell


You made me a ruler

Over the works of Your hands

All creation is beneath me

From the snows to the sands


The sheep and the oxen

The wild beasts too

The fish of the sea

And the birds that flew


How magnificent, how wonderful

Is Your Name on high

Let all the earth praise!

From the ground to the sky!


Yahweh, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

    You have set your glory above the heavens!

2 From the lips of babes and infants you have established strength,

    because of your adversaries, that you might silence the enemy and the avenger.

3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,

    the moon and the stars, which you have ordained;

4 what is man, that you think of him?

    What is the son of man, that you care for him?

5 For you have made him a little lower than the angels,[a]

    and crowned him with glory and honor.

6 You make him ruler over the works of your hands.

    You have put all things under his feet:

7 All sheep and cattle,

    yes, and the animals of the field,

8     the birds of the sky, the fish of the sea,

    and whatever passes through the paths of the seas.

9 Yahweh, our Lord,

    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalm 8 (WEB)

Rainbows

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, you may have noticed the sudden appearance of rainbows in windows near where you live. It has become a symbol of hope for people, and a way of lifting our spirits in this difficult time.

The picture above was drawn by one of my budding artist daughters…

But did you know that the rainbow has a specific meaning in the Bible?

The rainbow was a symbol which God gave humanity shortly after the flood of Noah. Here is part of the story from Genesis 9.

God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying, 9 “As for me, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your offspring after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you: the birds, the livestock, and every animal of the earth with you, of all that go out of the ship, even every animal of the earth. 11 I will establish my covenant with you: All flesh will not be cut off any more by the waters of the flood. There will never again be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 God said, “This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: 13 I set my rainbow in the cloud, and it will be a sign of a covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow will be seen in the cloud, 15 I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh, and the waters will no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 The rainbow will be in the cloud. I will look at it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17 God said to Noah, “This is the token of the covenant which I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

Genesis 9:8-17 (WEB)

At the end of the global flood, God had preserved Noah and his family on the Ark. God made a covenant with humanity and all of the living creatures of the Earth, that He would never again destroy all flesh with a flood. God said that the rainbow would be a token between us and God of this promise.

So the rainbow in the sky is a reminder of God’s covenant. When God makes a promise, He means it. While the text above does say that God will remember the covenant when He sees the rainbow, there is no danger of Him forgetting. Rather it is for us to know that God remembers what He has promised us.

God did not promise that the world would never end, simply that all life would not be destroyed by flood. In fact, in Peter’s second letter to the church, he writes that the heavens and the earth will indeed come to an end but not in floodwaters, but burning heat (see 2 Peter 3:10).

I have not heard anyone suggest that COVID-19 will destroy all flesh, as Noah’s flood once did, but there are some asking if it is a sign of the End Times. The Bible does not appear to mention COVID specifically, although does say that pestilence is such a sign. Whether it is a specific sign of the End Times or not, I think it is a clear warning or opportunity from God for all of us to assess our relationship with Him and make sure we are in right standing with him.

The rainbow of Noah’s story is not the only rainbow we see in the Bible. In the book of Ezekiel, he opens his prophecy with a strange description of heavenly, angelic beings and even tries to describe the glory of the Lord.

In verse 28 we read:

As the appearance of the rainbow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around.

Ezekiel 1:28 (WEB)

So vivid is the appearance of the Lord’s glory, Ezekiel struggles to describe it. He likens it to the appearance of a bright rainbow in the sky on a cloudy day.

We also see a rainbow surrounding the throne in heaven.

Immediately I was in the Spirit. Behold, there was a throne set in heaven, and one sitting on the throne 3 that looked like a jasper stone and a sardius. There was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald to look at.

Revelation 4:2-3 (WEB)

We also see some angels wear the likeness of a rainbow.

I saw a mighty angel coming down out of the sky, clothed with a cloud. A rainbow was on his head. His face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire.

Revelation 10:1 (WEB)

The rainbow, therefore, is a simile for heavenly glory. The glory of God and His heavens are such that they cannot be described in words. They can only be expressed in figures of speech to give us some glimmer of understanding.

Rainbows are an impressive sight. Whenever the sun and rain collide, you will often hear people mention a rainbow, and scanning the skies to find one. When they appear, bright and crisp above us, they can be breath-taking. God’s glory goes far beyond this.

As you take your daily exercise today, why not go rainbow spotting. If the weather is right, yu may see a real one, and if not, then there’s a good chance you’ll see them displayed in a nearby window.

Focus on that rainbow. It has a specific promise behind it, and yet also symbolises the very glory of God. Take the time to praise Him for His glory this day and always!