The story in the Bible of the exodus and the tent of meeting ends on a high note. The cloud covers the tabernacle, and God’s glory bursts out, completely filling it (Exodus 40:34–35). This glorious filling teaches us about God’s desire and intent. God wants us to be in His presence. The tabernacle foreshadows the time when God will fill the entire world with His glory. “But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord” (Numbers 14:21, NKJV).
In 2 Chronicles 5:11–14, God’s glory manifests in a similar way. When the Davidic Temple was erected and filled at the end of the ceremony, the priests emerged from the temple with those singing and playing instruments:
It came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying,
“For He is good,
For His mercy endures forever,”
that the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.NKJV
God’s glory is linked to the praising of His name. Celebrating and declaring His goodness and mercy draw God into the scene. When we think of God’s glory, we may focus on His expressions of power—His omnipotence and supremacy—but there is a different way to think about it. Jesus’ hour of glory—which displayed the wonderful selfless character of God—arrived as He approached the cross, manifesting the self-giving and beautiful love that would restore honor to God’s name. Jesus expressed His desire to magnify the glory of God on earth, but He will fill the world not by sheer force or strength but through the beautiful glory of His selfless love.
Jesus’ prayer in John 17 expresses His desire that we see His glory. God’s aim from the foundation of the world has been to unite with humans (John 17:24). Jesus prayed that He would have many sons and daughters who could reflect God’s love, which He had revealed. He prayed that we would manifest His glory to become as one in love, allowing the whole earth to be filled with the glory of God (John 17:25–26).
No story is greater than that of the world becoming God’s tabernacle. It inspires me to draw close to God, who longs for us know Him and to receive His love. Perhaps we don’t feel the glory of God in this world as we should because no one is working to bring Him here. May I make room for God today and replicate His love, bringing His glory into our midst.
Craig Ashton Jr.