Job 14:1-2 (NIV) "Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He springs up like a flower and withers away; like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure."
The Glory of Man: Flowering Grass--Splendid Today, Burnt Tomorrow
Mankind has a certain glory--of bodies, wealth, and accomplishments. It is wise to acknowledge this, and to see how God describes this glory, so that we will consciously make the correct "exchange" of glory: from ephemeral to permanent, from fading to ever increasing. While temporary, man's glory can be vivid. Denial is of no help here, since it merely sets us up to fall when the glory of man suddenly strikes us afresh. God is not asking us to kid ourselves, but to enter into covenant with Him. What He offers is an incredible deal. Listen to Him.Ps 103:15-16 (NIV) As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
Luke 12:27-28 (NIV) "Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendour [glory] was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire... "
John 15:6 (NIV) "If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned."
Glory Into Shame
Ex 20:3-4 (NIV) "...You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below."
Ps 4:2 (NIV) How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?
A.W. Tozer defines idolatry as "entertaining thoughts about God that are unworthy of him". One way to do this is to make idols of men, human achievement, fulfillment, and riches--exalting them into a position of eclipse to the Lord (Eze 14:3). Again, it is wise to admit how fun this is, how glorious this is, otherwise we will be in denial, and thus vulnerable.Phil 3:18-19 (Phi) For... there are many... whose lives make them the enemies of the cross of Christ. These men are heading for utter destruction--their god is their own appetite, they glory in their shame, and this world is the limit of their horizon.
A Surprising End for Those Who Stare At The Wildflowers...
Rom 1:20-25 (NIV) For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse [Ps 19:1-3]. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised...
Rom 1:26-28 (NIV) Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.
The Glory Of The Idolatry Of Greed
Ps 49:12-17 (NIV) But man, despite his riches, does not endure; he is like the beasts that perish. This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings. Like sheep they are destined for the grave, and death will feed on them. The upright will rule over them in the morning; their forms will decay in the grave, far from their princely mansions. But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself. Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor [glory] of his house increases; for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him.
James 1:10-11 (Jer) It is right for ...the rich [brother] to be thankful that he has been humbled, because riches last no longer than the flowers in the grass; the scorching sun comes up, and the grass withers, the flower falls; what looked so beautiful now disappears. It is the same with the rich man: his business goes on; he himself perishes.
Isa 40: 23-24 (NIV) He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.
Isa 64:6-8 (NIV) All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and made us waste away because of our sins. Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
Luke 16:15 (NIV) He said to them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight."
The Glory Of The Old Covenant
Gal 4:21 (Phi) Now tell me, you who want to be under the Law, have you heard what the Law says?
Another kind of glory detailed in Scripture is that of self-righteousness and of "the law". There is a certain glory to the old covenant, a glory to man's attempts to justify himself. It is wise to admit the splendor of human effort, lest we be beguiled to be "under the law" again. Something deep within us wants to impress God (or our fellow man) on our own merits, to stand in our own self-achieved glory. This instinct within us must die. But the old covenant, by which no one will be justified, has its temporary charms, and this should be acknowledged.2 Cor 3:7-13 (NIV) Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away.
Choose Your Glory: The Face Of Moses or The Face Of Christ
Ray Stedman: "There are two splendors--the face of Moses and the face of Jesus Christ. Both are exciting, but one much more than the other. They stand for the two covenants, or arrangements, by which human life is lived. Both have the power to attract men, but one is a fading glory and the other is not. The unredeemed world lives continually by looking at the face of Moses. The Christian can live by either, but never both at the same time. It is either one or the other at any given moment in a Christian's life. 'No man can serve two masters,' said Jesus..."Gal 3:1-3,10 (NIV) You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?... All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law."
Rom 7:6 (NIV) But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.
The Glory Of God
Isa 40:5-8 (NIV) And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken." A voice says, "Cry out." And I said, "What shall I cry?" "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever."
Isa 42:8 (NIV) "I am the Lord... I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols."
Listen to how God describes His glory, as opposed to our own ideas of glory. God showed the following to Moses in the clearest revelation given to men--until its fulfillment in Messiah.Ex 33:18-19,34:5-8 (NIV) Then Moses said, "Now show me your glory." And the Lord said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion..." Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation." Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshipped.
The Glory Of Messiah
God is forgiving, yet just. Loving, yet punitive. How can He be both? Messiah is the answer.Heb 1:3 (NIV) The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
Isa 53:10 (NIV) Yet it was the Lord's will to crush him and cause him to suffer...
Luke 24:25-26 (NIV) He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?"
The Glory Of Resurrection
Heb 2:9-10 (NIV) But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.
Col 3:1-6 (NIV) Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.
The Spirit Of Glory
1 Pet 4:13-14 (NIV) But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.
2 Cor 3:17-18,5:2,4-5 (NIV) Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit... Meanwhile we groan... For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened... so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
The Glory Of The Word Of God
1 Pet 1:23-25 (NIV) For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever." And this is the word that was preached to you.
John 1:14 (NIV) The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
2 Pet 1:3 (NIV) His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
1 Pet 5:10 (NIV) And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
2 Cor 4:6-11,16-18 (NIV) For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ... Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Col 1:27 (Phi) God has chosen to make known... this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Rom. 11:36 (NIV) For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.
1 Cor 1:31 (NKJ) ...As it is written, "He who glories, let him glory in the Lord."