Exodus Teaching - 09 - All Cloudless Glory

Title: Exodus Teaching - 09 - All Cloudless Glory
Category: Bible Studies
Subject: Exodus Study

Exodus Teaching Series #9

TITLE: All Cloudless Glory

TEXT: Exodus 16:10; 19:16-22; 20:18-21; 33:18-23


There have been many heroes in world history, from Abraham to Joseph to Moses, to Joshua, to David, and on and on. We also have some genuine American heros. Of course, I have one in mind, even though there are many more. Two of the most amazing men in our history were General Robert E. Lee and General Stonewall Jackson. That may surprise some people, and it may surprise some to learn that General Lee freed his slaves before either President Lincoln or General Grant. Robert E. Lee was a Christian, not only in name but in every day life. Everyone who knew Stonewall Jackson knew he was a godly man who said he never took a bite of food without thanking the Lord. I could think of others, presidents like Andrew Jackson, and generals like Nathan Bedford Forest, who had 29 horses shot out from under him during the Civil War. One British military historian said, “The single greatest soldier in the Civil War was Nathan Bedford Forest.”

I could name scientists, explorers, and inventors. Decades ago, a group of men sat in the shade of some old oak trees near the depot in Water Valley, Mississippi, where these friends and acquaintances regularly gathered to play checkers or dominoes. On this particular day someone brought up famous inventors. They discussed Thomas Edison for a while, and then someone brought up Eli Whitney, who invented the cotton gin. Alexander Graham Bell and others were discussed, but it would have been obvious to any observer that the man who introduced a new name was determine to prove that his inventor was the greatest ever. Finally, after the discussion evolved into a heated discussion, often referred to as an argument, one older man who had not said a word, offered the comment that “Old Levi Garret wasn’t no slouch!” Those who didn’t smoke or chew tobacco might dip snuff and this old man was betting on Levi Garret.

We have heard debates about athletes, scientists, musicians, statesmen, and maybe even some politicians . I have my all time favorite boxers (Rocky Marciano), baseball players (from childhood, Ted Williams and Stan Musial), and of course, football players. I may be repeating myself here, but I was a young pastor making a call at Delta Medical Center in Greenville, Mississippi when I saw him for the first time - not the patient, the quarterback. It was the championship game between the New York Giants and the Baltimore Colts, and ever time the Colts needed a first down Johnny Unitas, who called his own plays, called a play, dropped back and threw the football out of bounds, just enough for Raymond Berry to dive across the line, snag the pass and drag his toes across the line. That was one of the longest hospital visits I believe I have ever made. I was hooked on the NFL and on Johnny Unitas.

Though it may vary from time to time, my all time American hero (at the moment) is the man whose picture was posted on the wall above the teacher’s desk in every classroom where I went to elementary and high school. He was General George Washington, who has been called The First American, and The Greatest American. When I saw a book about George Washington many years ago I bought it and read it. The title of that book is, ALL CLOUDLESS GLORY. Think about it: ALL CLOUDLESS GLORY. At some ceremony at a noted battlefield an Indian chief showed up and said he wanted to see the man whose God would not let him die. He explained that during one battle he ordered all the braves near him to concentrate their fire on the obvious chief, whom he would come to know as General Washington. They did as ordered, but the white chief still commanded his troops. Not one bullet hit him. After the battle, I read somewhere, they found seventeen bullet holes in his hat and his coat. His God would not let him die!

At the end of the Revolutionary War, General Washington, American’s hero, rode up to the Capitol building (in all cloudless glory!), with people wonder whether or not he would declare himself King George I of America. He resigned his commission and went home. Our Founding Fathers tell us George Washington was a godly man, a man of character, courage, dignity, and wisdom. In a human sense, the title of the book, ALL CLOUDLESS GLORY, may seem appropriate. However, as a student of the Word of God, I must reserve that title for One who absolutely deserves it. In fact, when you look at the entire history of the world, only One Person actually does deserve it and He is the One who created the world and sustains it. He is our Creator, our Redeemer, our Lord, our Judge, our Friend. He is the One who possesses ALL CLOUDLESS GLORY. What an appropriate title for the One who spoke to Moses from the burning bush that was not being consumed! What a title for the One who parted the waters of the Red sea so the Israelites could walk across on dry land. What a title for the one who caused the waters to collapse upon the Egyptian army and destroy them. On the way to Sinai, the Israelites saw the glory of God: “As Aaron was speaking to the entire Israelite community, they turned toward the wilderness, and there in a cloud the Lord’s glory appeared.” (Ex 16:10, HCSB) And what a title for the God who came down upon Mount Sinai in fire and smoke. ALL CLOUDLESS GLORY!

The word glory is used 344 times in Bible. The first time we see it is in Genesis 45:13, where Joseph, after revealing his identity to his ten brothers, said: “Tell my father about all my glory in Egypt and about all you have seen. And bring my father here quickly.” (Gen 45:13, HCSB) Joseph was aware of the fact that the real glory belonged to the One who would, some 430 years later, speak to a an elderly shepherd from a burning bush that was not being consumed and identify Himself to Moses as I Am (YAHWEH). That was in the desert of Midian.

Perhaps the words, “...His majestic splendor” (Isaiah 2:10) will help us to understand a little better what the glory of God denotes. In this message I would like for us to look at the glory of God as it is revealed to us.

I have searched for definitions of he word “glory”, and asked a number of long time Christians how they would define the Lord’s glory. I checked with dictionaries and finally checked an old favorite, the International Standard Bible Encyclopeida (ISBE) and here is a paragraph that helps introduce the study in the ISBE:

“But chiefly glory is the possession and characteristic of Yahweh, and is given by Him to His people or to anything which is connected with Him. In Isaiah 60:7 the Lord promises to glorify the house of His glory, and the meaning is clearly that He will impart to His house something of the beauty and majesty which belong to Him. Glory is one of the qualities which are distinctive of Yahweh (1 Chron. 29:11); and Isaiah, in one of his earliest utterances, uses the word "glory" to describe Yahweh's self-manifestation in judgment to bring to naught the pride and power of men (Isaiah 2:10, 19, 21).” [ISBE]


A. His Glory Is Witnessed in What Is Seen.

1. The God of Creation reveals His glory in His creation. I am convinced that creation was a testimony to the Holy Trinity, based, in part, on the testimony of the Holy Spirit in the Prologue to the Gospel According to John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created.” (John 1:1-3, HCSB). Paul assured Timothy that “All Scripture is inspired by God...” (2 Tim 3:16) If the Holy Spirit inspired Moses, Joshua, David, Isaiah, and Jeremiah He had to be a presence in the Old Testament period.

The Bible begins with the God Who has no beginning and no end. No world existed until God said, “Let there be... and it was so.” Believers see His glory, and it is a testimony to lost people. He is not threatened by man’s unbelief. You believe and pray, or reject Him and pay. When one Russian Cosmonaut circled the earth and returned he declared that he was up there for some time and if there was a God he never saw Him anywhere up there. John Glenn said, “I was up there and I saw Him everywhere.”

The six days of creation declare the glory of His wisdom, His power, and His sovereignty. In fact, the very name for God in the first verse of the Bible, Elohim, declares His power, and another name for our Lord, Adonai, declares His sovereign right to rein over all He has created. The name He gave Moses at the burning bush, YAHWEH (Jehovah in the NASB), is the Covenant name for God, and as such a especially holy and glorious name. You can usually tell which name is used when you read and English translation of the Bible because the word Elohim is rendered, “God”; whereas the name Adonai is translated “Lord” (capital “L” and lower case “ord”); and YAHWEH (we actually have only the consonants YHWH) is the verb, “I AM”, but it actually means, I am that which I am, I was that which I was, and I will be that which I will be.” A noted Hebrew scholar, the late Dr. H. Leo Eddleman, whom I had the privilege of knowing, and one with whom I spent a considerable amount of time, assured me that YAHWEH means that, but it means more than that. He said, “it carries the idea that “I am the source of My existence and I am the source of your existence.” He is the source of all that exists.

Creation in general is a testimony to the Creator’s power, presence, and preeminence. If the Lord had limited creation to this one planet we call Earth, there would be enough to keep students and scholars busy until the Lord returns just trying to figure it all out and explain it. Think of all the discoveries that have been announced over the past several decades, thanks to the telescope and the microscope. We have landed men on the moon and we have discovered a cure for countless illnesses that once claimed lives of many of our citizens.

2. The glory of God is declared by that which He created for His pleasure. Everywhere we look around us we see things that are truly amazing. That He could have created all the things we cannot see may be even more amazing. That He created it all in six literal days is enough to blow one’s mind. For those who really know and believe the Bible it is mind boggling to observe the extent to which non-believers will go to dispute special Creation for theories that simply will not hold water. One explains that the Grand Canyon is millions of years old, but cannot explain what an older layer is doing resting on top of a young layer. It is also interesting to see how some paint themselves into a corner when they come up with a compromise theory. Many, when they began hearing about the Intelligent Design theory (ID) seemed to think someone had finally come up with a theory we can all embrace. I read that someone mentioned Intelligent Design to a creation scientist at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) and received the response, “We are not into Intelligent Design, we are into the Intelligent Designer.”

I believe God created the heavens and the earth, and all that inhabit the earth, just as the Bible says He did. Furthermore, If we don’t have a Creator at the beginning we don’t need a Redeemer in the middle, because we will not need a Judge at the end. I also believe He created everything identified in Genesis One in six literal 24 hour days. The Hebrew word for “day” generally means a 24 hour day. If you don’t believe God created this world the way He said He did, I would encourage you to spell your god with a small “g”; I spell my God’s name with a capital “G”.

For more on what I believe about Creation and the Creator, please go to SermonCity.Com and click on Authors, then my name, and then scroll down to Genesis, Vol. I, in my Bible Notebook study of Genesis, Chapters 1-3.

3. The creation of man declares God’s glory in a special way. All we have to do to sense the glory of God and the glory of His creation is to look at the first chapter in Genesis, verses 26-28:

(26) “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.” (27) So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female. (28) God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.”

A man wrote a Letter to the Editor in a local newspaper around the end of May, 2013, in which he took Christians to task for believing in God and in His creation. First, he arrogantly challenged them on the grounds that the name for God in Genesis 1:1 is plural, and then asked, does that mean that God and (he listed several false gods) created the world? Actually, the name for God in Genesis 1:1, Elohim, does have a plural ending. Some hold that the plural underscores the greatness of God. If that were true it would certainly emphasize His glory. In reality, I am convinced there is the possibility that, as I have already mentioned, the plural allows for, or even demands our awareness that Creation was the work of the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

The most amazing thing about the special creation of which we read in Genesis 1 is the fact God did something completely different when He created Adam and Eve than when He created the plants of the field, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and the animals that walk on the earth. He created man in His own image. God’s glory is manifested in His creative work up until He created man, but then it reaches new heights. He created man in His Own image, making human beings the most glorious part of His creative activity. He created man with the ability and privilege of communicating with the Creator, just as Adam and Eve talked with Him in the Garden of Eden before the Fall. Today, we hear a lot about wireless communication and even young adults can remember when we began hearing that expression. There is nothing new in this to the Lord. There has been wireless communication between God and human beings since the creation of Adam and Eve. He gave man the ability to think logically, philosophically, analytically, and deductively. He gave him the ability to communicate with other people, and to communicate to some degree with domestic animals. Above all, God created man a living soul, capable of communicating with his Creator, as well as the privilege of knowing the Creator personally.

B. The Sabbath Day Declares God’s Glory, Genesis 1, Ex. 20:8.

As God is different from all things He has created, so is the Sabbath different from all other days. It is so significant that one of the Ten Commandments is, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” (Ex 20:8). God did all His work of creation in six days and then desisted from work on the Sabbath day. God had not exhausted Himself with the labor of creation, but after all creation was completed the Bible tells us that He desisted, or ceased His work on the Seventh Day.

The Sabbath is the Lord’s Day, a day of rest, a day for worship, a holy day. In Matthew, we read that the, “ Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” (Matt 12:8) The Sabbath is a holy day, a day for worshiping the Lord of the Sabbath. However, only true believers can appreciate that fact. True worshipers will recognize the glory of God when they worship Him. Only true believers can fully appreciate His glory because only true believers can appreciate the significance of the Sabbath Day.

C. Even the Flood Declares the Glory of God.

The greatest judgment the world has ever seen was the world-wide flood often referred to by archaeologists as the Deluge, and to you and me as Noah’s Flood, or simply as the Flood. The Flood was indeed a testimony to the holiness of Almighty God. The people of the earth looked God in the face and said, “We don’t want anything to do with you!” With the exception of Noah, Mrs. Noah, their three sons and their wives, the entire population of the earth was destroyed in the most earth shaking judgment the world has ever seen, or will see until God’s end-time judgment when all elements will melt, not in water but in fire.

In spite of that judgment, and in spite of the destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 B.

C., the people of Judah continued to say, “we will not obey You!” The Babylonian Captivity went a long way toward ridding Judah of idolatry, but they still did not obey him faithfully. People in Jesus’ day rejected Him and people are still rejecting Jesus, even though the Lord has declared both His salvation and His judgment. However, while the masses reject Him, the saints still sing, “To God be the glory, great things He hath done.”

I have a question for you. How could a world wide flood which destroyed all life on earth, except for those on the ark, possibly manifest the glory of God? That may seem like a fair question, and it would be if He was no more than one of the pagan gods worshiped by the enemies of God. The pagan gods were powerless to do anything about it when their worshipers rebelled against them. Yahweh was not powerless! The gods made from sticks and stones were powerless because they were lifeless. They couldn’t think, they couldn’t speak, they couldn’t send an enemy against their worshipers. The Lord God of Israel was not made of sticks and bricks, of stones and bones.

He was not sightless, He was not deaf, He was not without reason, He was not without a brain. If the people of Judah refused to listen when He spoke through Isaiah or Jeremiah, He could point out what happened to Israel, their brothers and sisters in the Northern Kingdom. Yahweh could deal with a sinful and rebellious people. Their besetting sin from the Exodus on to the days of Jeremiah was idolatry. God sent them into captivity in Babylon for seventy years, but the remnant that returned, returned without idols. They had other sins, but resisted every effort to impose idolatry on them again. Idols were lifeless, mindless, thoughtless, objects, but when blessed by Satan they became vile, evil, and deadly. Pagan gods were without glory. Yahweh could manifest His glory any time He willed it. In fact, His presence declares His glory, either in blessings or in curses.

He manifests His glory today in the His Son, Jesus Christ and in the presence of the Holy Spirit, whom He sent at Pentecost to indwell all true believers. May I make a suggestion? If you would see the glory of God, prayerfully open the Bible, the Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and read the Gospels, read the story of creation, the birth of Jesus, the Sermon on the Mount, the Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus Christ. Keep praying and keep waiting and you will know the presence of the Lord.

Here is another question for you. Why is it that anywhere you go on earth you will find people who will be worshiping. They will either be worshiping the one true God, or they will be worshiping some worthless stick or stone. Why is that? The stick did not call them. The stone did not send them out to serve it. Why then do they do it? The answer is that the same enemy who tempted Eve has been tempting people ever since. His temptations normally come in two forms, either of which serves Satan and dishonor God. Satan encourages the worship of false gods, and the false worship of the true God.

The devil appeared before the Lord to challenge Him for His servant Job and “ The Lord asked Satan, “Where have you come from?” “From roaming through the earth,” Satan answered Him, “and walking around on it.” (Job 1:7) Satan Is Alive and Well on Planet Earth, just as Hal Lindsey proclaimed in his book with that title. When it came out I knew professors who dismissed him as a right-wing nut case. Some didn’t believe in the existence of Satan. I know this because when the professor who taught my Intensive in Revelation was pinned down he finally admitted that, to him, Satan was nothing more than “the personification of evil.” Satan is real, and he still advocates and promotes evil. When the United States Supreme Court hands down a ruling that the federal government will have to pay benefits to those living in a same-sex “marriage”, we know Satan is prevailing in the highest courts in the land. There is no glory in lying, killing, prostitution, or homosexuality, but the God of glory will someday manifest His full glory and those who doubt it should read Revelation 21:8.

II. YAHWEH’S GLORY IS SEEN AT SINAI (Ex. 17:4; 17-18; 24:16-17).

A. God Manifested His Glory in Egypt.

1. His glory was first seen in the burning bush in Midian. Only Moses saw the burning bush that was not being consumed by the fire, but that bush is still testifying to the glory of the One who identified Himself as I Am (Yahweh or possibly Jehovah), His holy name, His covenant name, was given to Moses, and to the world, as God spoke to him from a bush that was burning but not being consumed. Since the scribes preserved only the consonants YHWH, we cannot be sure how to pronounce that name; and since the Hebrew people would not have said “Jehovah” because they did not write the letter “J” or pronounce it. They, for example did not call the name of Mosses’ successor Joshua, they called him Yeshua. Those of us who seek to know Him in His All Cloudless Glory will not be distracted by that debate.

2. The ten Plagues declared the glory of Yahweh. I have a study on Exodus posted on the SermonCity.Com web site, and in it there is a review of the ten plagues. Each was an attack by the Lord on some form of pagan deity in Egypt. The God Who is (I Am) destroyed the gods that did not, and could not exist (the gods who ain’t!). Those ten plagues swept the land of Egypt, inflicting discomfort, pain, and defeat upon the false gods of Egypt and upon those who worshiped the gods who did not exist instead of the God who identified Himself as I Am.

3. The Exodus itself manifested His glory. That is a fact, but rather than trying to prove it, or even explain it, we will let the Lord Himself declare it:

“Then I will receive glory by means of Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am Yahweh.” So the Israelites did this.” (Ex 14:4)

“I will receive glory by means of Pharaoh, all his army, and his chariots and horsemen. (18) The Egyptians will know that I am Yahweh when I receive glory through Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.” (Ex 14:17-18)

4. The Lord manifested His glory. Time after time in the Exodus experience, Yahweh revealed His glory. When do we see the glory of God exhibited as often and as powerfully as we see it in Exodus and at Sinai? Think about it: there is (1) the burning bush, (2) the ten plagues, (3) crossing the Red Sea, (4) The bitter springs of Marah made sweet, (5) manna, (6) Rephidim, and (7) water from a rock in the desert.

Paul was inspired to write: “For they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ.” (1 Cor 10:4) Jesus, unlike the false gods of the pagan people of the world, is not a literal rock, but “a spiritual rock” Who provided them the water they needed for their journey through the wilderness. In the Gospel according to John, Jesus is seen as the Water of Life, the Living Water. He was the water of life in the wilderness.

B. The Glory of the Lord Is Revealed at Sinai.

“This evening you will know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt; (7) in the morning you will see the Lord’s glory because He has heard your complaints about Him. For who are we that you complain about us?” (Ex 16:6-7)

“As Aaron was speaking to the entire Israelite community, they turned toward the wilderness, and there in a cloud the Lord’s glory appeared.” (Ex 16:10)

This was a momentous occasion. What an amazing experience! Two million people, God’s Chosen People, turned toward the wilderness and saw a cloud and in that cloud there appeared something they somehow knew was a manifestation of the glory of God. But what does that mean? How do you define the glory of God? What was the revelation of the glory of God? How did He do that? I have asked various people to define the glory of God for me and it seems that they, too, must search their minds for an answer. In a sense, we know what it is, but have a problem defining it. The point is, He revealed His glory to them and they recognized it. His glory is manifested in His presence, or in the special revelation of His presence.

At Sinai, the glory of the Lord was manifested dramatically, miraculously, at specific times, as in
this cloud: “the Lord’s glory appeared.” Clouds may cover or conceal, as clouds cover the moon and stars at night and the sun in the daytime, but the One who created the clouds may reveal Himself in and through them. All cloudless glory!

The people must have talked about it among themselves for as long as they lived, or did they? How long was it before they began griping and complaining again? How could they have been so foolish? How could they have been so shallow? How can we, with much greater understanding of the Lord than they had, worship Yahweh on Sunday morning and then devote the rest of the Lord’s day to our own interests? How can we go through a revival and feel the presence of the Lord in our hearts, witness souls being saved, and then within days be so caught up in the things of the world that we assume the Lord is pleased if we only read our “daily Bible reading,” or remember to “say the blessing” at meals? How can a Christian say the Lord has blessed us with a special awareness of His presence during the morning worship service, but be at the mall or at a movie when his church is having the evening worship service?

C. Yahweh Continued to Reveal His Glory at Sinai (Ex. 24:16-17).

“The glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh day He called to Moses from the cloud. (17) The appearance of the Lord’s glory to the Israelites was like a consuming fire on the mountaintop.”

The people did not seek out the glory of the Lord, nor did they accidentally stumble upon it. He displayed His glory before all Israel for six days, and then on the seventh day “He called out to Moses from a cloud.” This experience was so special, so amazing, that it is had to believe these people would ever complain against the Lord again. Even today, after some 3500 years, both explorers Bob Cornuke and Larry Williams, and the Caldwell family tell us they have stood before Mt. Sinai (in Arabia, Gal. 4:25) and looked at the black top of the mountain. Everything around the mountain is a sandy reddish color, but the top is black, like the color of coal. They show us their pictures from afar and from up close. Williams and Cornuke tell us they picked up some of the black rocks and broke them and found that the insides were the same color as the rest of the mountain. These people has seen the evidence of a real fire that burned for days on the top of the mountain - and nowhere else!

Until recently, I questioned all claims about the discovery of Sinai in Midian, rather than on the Sinai Peninsula, until I watched the video of their experience over and over. Let’s face one simple fact: if the Israelites had crossed from Egypt, through the Red Sea at the traditional location, they would have come out on what we know as the Sinai Peninsula: they would have crossed from Egypt to Egypt! I finally became convinced that this is the mountain (Sinai in Arabia, Gal. 4:25) upon which the Lord came down in a great fire and manifested His presence to the Israelites. However, the Lord did not confine His presence to one seven day period on top of the mountain. He continually revealed His presence and therefore, His glory to the people. His glory was revealed in His presence on the mountain, as His glory is always revealed in (1) His Presence, (2) His Name, (3) His Law, (4)
His power, (5) His Sprit, (6) His Word, (7) His Holy Day, and (8) His worship, (9) His creation, and (10) in ways we cannot explain.

D. Aaron’s Robe Showed the Glory of the Lord.

The Lord told Moses to “Make holy garments for your brother Aaron, for glory and beauty” (Ex 28:2). Yahweh continued His to instruct Moses:

“You are to instruct all the skilled craftsmen, whom I have filled with a spirit of wisdom, to make Aaron’s garments for consecrating him to serve Me as priest. (4) These are the garments that they must make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a specially woven tunic, a turban, and a sash. They are to make holy garments for your brother Aaron and his sons so that they may serve Me as priests. (5) They should use gold; blue, purple, and scarlet yarn; and fine linen” (Ex 28:3-5)

In 28:40, the Lord told Moses to tell the craftsmen to “Make tunics, sashes, and headbands for Aaron’s sons to ⌊give them⌋ glory and beauty.” (Ex 28:40) The Sinai experience was filled with references to the presence and glory of Yahweh, whether the world “glory” is mentioned or not. The presence, or any manifestation of the presence of the Lord, proclaimed the glory of the Lord.

E. Moses Asked the Lord to Led Him See His Glory (Ex; 33:12-23).

1. He asked the Lord to teach him His ways.

“Moses said to the Lord, “Look, You have told me, ‘Lead this people up,’ but You have not let me know whom You will send with me. You said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in My sight.’ (13) Now if I have indeed found favor in Your sight, please teach me Your ways, and I will know You and find favor in Your sight. Now consider that this nation is Your people.” (Ex. 33:12-13)

Moses had walked with the Lord and served him faithfully for some time. He had seen the manifestation of God’s presence and glory and he knew what the Lord wanted him to do. He did not want His people Israel to flounder in the wilderness for years. He wanted them in Canaan, the land flowing with milk and honey, a land where they would not have to live on manna for forty years.

2. Yahweh answered Moses. We read, “Then He replied, “My presence will go ⌊with you⌋, and I will give you rest.” (Ex. 33:14) In the Scripture, as we have seen, to know the Lord’s presence is to see His glory. There is no way a true believer can sense the presence of the Lord without some awareness of the glory of the Lord - that is, if the believer has any knowledge whatsoever of the presence and glory of the Lord. If he lacks that knowledge he is a babe in Christ - teach him!

3. Moses knew he could not lead these people into the Promised Land on his own. He made one of the defining statements of his entire Sinai experience when he declared:

(15) “If Your presence does not go,” Moses responded to Him, “don’t make us go up from here. (16) How will it be known that I and Your people have found favor in Your sight unless You go with us? I and Your people will be distinguished ⌊by this⌋ from all the other people on the face of the earth.” (33:15-16)

4. The Lord assured Moses of His presence. His words are recorded: “The Lord answered Moses, “I will do this very thing you have asked, for you have found favor in My sight, and I know you by name.” (33:17) Wouldn’t be glorious if the Lord answered us in such a manner today? If we do not sense the presence of the Lord, and if we do not recognize the voice of the Lord in our daily life, we need to confess our sin (1 John 1;9) and repent. Now, let me add that if someone begins telling me that the Lord speaks audibly to him I may have some doubts about that. However, I am positive that the Lord speaks to us all the time, whether we hear Him verbally or not. He speaks to us through the Holy Spirit, Whom He places in the heart of every believer at the point of salvation. Sadly, a wrong translation of Acts 19:2 has led many to adopt a faulty view of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Authorized version reads, “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” (Acts 19:2, KJV) Correctly translated, it reads, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” (Acts 19:2, HCSB) The NASB also has, “"Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”

The Holy Spirit is placed in the believer’s heart at the time of his or her salvation and His purpose is outlined in the New Testament, with special emphasis in our Lord’s Farewell Address (John 14-16). When I do not sense that the Holy Spirit is speaking to me I know I need to find a quiet place and begin reading the Bible (prayerfully). The Holy Spirit miraculously inspired every word of Scripture, He has miraculously preserved it, and when I read it He miraculously illuminates my heart in order to help me understand what I am reading. When I sense the presence of the Holy Spirit in my heart I sense the glory of the Lord in my heart. When I read a passage I have read dozens of times, if not hundreds of times, and suddenly see something I have never seen before, I know the Holy Spirit is revealing something fresh to me. When I see that, I sense the presence of the Lord, and when I sense the presence of the Lord I sense the glory of the Lord. It just doesn’t get any better than that!

In the reference to Acts 19:2, I mentioned two very good translations. Most people are familiar with the New American Standard Bible. The Holman Christian Standard Bible which is newer, is published by the oldest Bible publisher in America. This was the first translation done with computers and the Internet as tools some one hundred translators were able to use. They were able to check words for consistency with the click of a button, and through e-mail or conference calls, instantly check with other translators.

Some found it amusing when a few Southern Baptists began joking that HCSB stands for Hard Core Southern Baptist. I found it somewhat less amusing, even though I realized they may have been totally ignorant of the truth. The Holman Christian Standard Bible is a Southern Baptist Publication, but it is not a Southern Baptist translation. I can’t help but wonder whether or not those who joke about the HCSB realize that the General Editor, Dr. Ed Blum, a brilliant Presbyterian minister - a hard core Presbyterian?

I was attending my first Executive Board meeting with LifeWay Christian Resources, assigned to the Broadman and Holman Committee, which oversees B & H Publishers, and in my very first committee meeting, my first vote other that on minutes and agenda, was to recommend to the Plenary Session that we go forward with this translation. This vote in the B & H Committee followed a length question and answer session with Dr. Ed Blum. Later, at lunch, LifeWay President (at that time) Dr. Jimmy Draper brought Dr. Blum to my table to answer questions a Board member from Miami had about the use of the word “slave” where other translations and versions use “servant.” Dr. Blum explained, “When you receive Jesus Christ as your Savior you belong to Him. You are not your own, you were bought with a price. You are His slave.” I have communicated with Dr. Blum since that time, and a good friend, Bill Pace, attended a Friday morning Bible study at Highland Baptist Church, Dallas that was taught by Dr. Blum. That Bible study was attended by both Baptists and Presbyterians.

5. Moses asked the Lord, “Please, let me see Your glory.” (Ex. 33:18) Wow! Can you believe that?! This is amazing, but why should we be surprised? We serve an amazing God. Did Moses really believe the Lord would let him see His glory? We shall see.

(19) “He said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim the name Yahweh before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” (20) But He answered, “You cannot see My face, for no one can see Me and live.” (21) The Lord said, “Here is a place near Me. You are to stand on the rock, (22) and when My glory passes by, I will put you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. (23) Then I will take My hand away, and you will see My back, but My face will not be seen.” (Ex 33:12-23)

In vs. 19, the Lord said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim the name Yahweh before you.” Does this mean His glory is revealed in His absolute goodness and in His proclaiming the name, Yahweh, before Moses? That is certainly part of it. His glory is revealed through His Name and His Proclamation. Try this: read the OT and each time you see the name Yahweh, or a Yahweh speech, print a G for Glory in the margin. I often print a “C” in the margin when I read a reference to Creation. He has the sovereign right to show compassion or to withhold it. Is His glory not also seen in His sovereignty? Absolutely.

In vs. 20, we read, “But He answered, “You cannot see My face, for no one can see Me and live.” Does this sound like something you would expect from One of whom it is said, “God is love?” It does if we can make the distinction between the love of God and the holiness of God. Sometimes those who speak of His love and His holiness confuse the two. He loves us enough that He sent His Son to die an especially cruel death on the cross for us, but He never compromises His holiness, and those who challenge or offend His holiness must repent or suffer the consequences. At Sinai, the people are warned not to touch the mountain while Yahweh was on the mountain. He is not denying them a privilege because He does not love them, He is careful to protect them because He does love them.

In vs. 22, the Lord said, “and when My glory passes by, I will put you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. He did not say, “I want you to hide yourself in a crevice in the rock and I want you to cover your face with your hand.” This was much too important for Moses to make a mistake, or to slip up and get something wrong. “He hideth my soul in the cleft of a rock, and covers me there with His hand.”

Finally, in verse 23, the Lord says, “Then I will take My hand away, and you will see My back, but My face will not be seen.” This is absolutely amazing. This had never happened before and it has never happened since, and at the same time, I had rather live in this day when we can look back to passages like this, and look back to Jesus Christ on the cross and ahead to His Resurrection and Ascension, and look ahead to His promised return. We have every advantage today because believers have been indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who has taken up residence in our heart. He reveals the Father and the Son, and helps us to understand the Scripture. This is not a one time experience for us. We may go to our heavenly Father, in the name of His precious Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit any time, day or night. No wonder Jesus told His disciples that it was better for Him to go back to the Father so He could send the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit indwells you, the glory of God indwells you. If you do not sense it, you need to repent and ask the Lord to forgive you and bless you. When you are walking in the Spirit you will be walking in His glory.

6. The presence of the Lord manifests the glory of the Lord, (Is. 6:1-5). The presence of the Lord has always attested the glory of the Lord. When Isaiah saw the vision in the year King Uzziah died (740 B. C.), he describes how the presence and glory of the Lord filled the temple (in his vision). Isaiah described the vision:

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, and His robe filled the temple. (2) Seraphim were standing above Him; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. (3) And one called to another: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts; His glory fills the whole earth.

(4) “The foundations of the doorways shook at the sound of their voices, and the temple was filled with smoke. (5) Then I said: Woe is me for I am ruined because I am a man of unclean lips and live among a people of unclean lips, ⌊and⌋ because my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts.”

In this astounding vision Isaiah “saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne.” He was not ascending to a high and lofty throne, He was seated on the throne that has always been His and shall always be His. Where the presence of the Lord is we would expect to find the glory of the Lord, and we do! Where do we see it? Isaiah testified that “His robe filled the temple.” His presence filled the temple and where His presence is there you will find His glory.


A. His Glory Is Seen in the Birth of Jesus.

The Messiah was promised all through the Old Testament, from the Garden of Eden to Noah, to the Abrahamic Covenant, to the Davidic Covenant, and on through the Prophets. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem numerous prophecies were fulfilled. The glory of the new born King surrounds every aspect of the story, not the least of which was the fulfillment of all those Old Testament prophecies of His coming, the virgin birth, the place of His birth, the visit by the wise men, the visit to the temple when He was circumcised, the blessings by Simeon and Anna, the flight to Egypt, the return from Egypt, and the move to Nazareth.

B. His Glory Is Seen in the Preaching of Jesus.

We should simply read the Sermon on the Mount. When has there ever been a sermon preached like that? Volumes have been written on the Beatitudes alone. In fact, one might consider a book on each of the Beatitudes. Thousands of preachers have preached sermons on from the Sermon on the Mount. In the Gospel According to Mark we see that people were amazed at the teaching of Jesus because they had never heard anyone teach like He did. They never heard anyone teach or preach as Jesus did. He taught as one having authority, which, of course, He does.

C. His Glory Is Seen in the Miracles of Jesus.

Jesus Christ walked on the surface of the Sea of Galilee. He calmed the water in the middle of a storm. With a lad’s small lunch he fed five thousand people, plus the women and children. On another occasions He fed four thousand men, plus women and children. Jesus raised a widow’s son from death. He called His friend Lazarus out of his tomb after four days. He gave sight to the blind and enabled the lame to walk. He raised a little girl from her death bed. He healed Simon Peter’s mother, and he healed a child from a distance. And, He is still healing, counseling, encouraging, and saving lost people.

D. His Glory Is Seen in the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus.

Jesus submitted to one of the most cruel deaths imaginable, and in His death He took our sins upon Himself. He was buried and on the third day He was raised from death and over the next few days appeared to individuals and groups some 10 or 11 times. He appeared before a large group of witnesses at His Ascension back into heaven from which He watches over His saints, and where He intercedes for us when we pray or when we repent of our sins. The glory of God is seen each time any person is saved, but the greatest manifestation of His glory will be seen when all believers are united with Him forever in Heaven.

E. His Glory Is Seen in the Salvation Jesus Offers.

We often see a sign, a sticker, or an imprint on a shirt that reads, JESUS SAVES. I was in the Executive Committee meeting for LifeWay Christian Resources when we voted to recommend that we create a new research committee at LifeWay and bring Dr. Brad Waggoner from Southern Seminary in to head the program. I sat with Brad Waggoner and others at breakfast one morning when he answered questions for us about the Emerging Church. More recently, Brad noted that research showed that over fifty percent of Southern Baptists said they believed that Jesus is not the only way to get to heaven. No true Christian who knows anything about the Word of God would ever say anything like that. The New Testament is clear: “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12, HCSB)


A. The Glory of Christ Is Proclaimed in the Revelation (Rev. 1).

The Apostle John, the beloved disciple, was chosen to record the Revelation and he writes:

“When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. He laid His right hand on me, and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last, (18) and the Living One. I was dead, but look—I am alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and Hades.” (Rev 1:17-18)

This is just the beginning of His revelation of Himself and the Heavenly Father, His plans for His church, His promised return for His church, and eternal life in Heaven with Him and with all believers.

In the Revelation there is the glory of His office: He sits at the right hand of the Father. This speaks of the glory of His position: He sits in the position of power and authority. Then, there is His ministry to the church: He is the Head of the church and the church is the body of Christ. The glory of Christ is seen in His ministry of intercession. It is seen in His authority, His compassion, and His holiness. Can you imagine this: you will have the same access to His throne as anyone else. There will be no ecclesiastical positions - no bishops, cardinals, or superintendents, or presidents between you and Jesus. Forever.

B. The Glory of Christ Is Seen in His Promise to Return.

Jesus promised to return for His saints:

“Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. (2) In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. (3) If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:1-3)

It was this same John whom Jesus chose to record His Revelation. Just read any part of that amazing book. Consider also these words written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit by Luke:

“After He had said this, He was taken up as they were watching, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. (10) While He was going, they were gazing into heaven, and suddenly two men in white clothes stood by them. (11) They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen Him going into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11)


This is a long sermon, but not to worry! I plan to preach it in two or three parts. For one thing, when I began this one I was concerned about finding enough material for it. I asked various individuals what the Glory of God means to them. They had no better definition than mine. I then looked at some commentaries and found that some do not give a lot of attention to it. I looked at Bible dictionaries with the same results: a little help, but not what I was seeking. I turned to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia and was not disappointed in the volume of material, but the definition seemed to be lacking something. So, I did what pastors have been doing for ages. I turned to the Scripture, and to the concordance and began reading what the Bible has to say about the glory of God. When I did that I discovered that this sermon started out rather brief, but ended up a little long. The first thing I would like for us to do is see the glory about which we read in this verse:

“Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the splendor and the majesty, for everything in the heavens and on earth belongs to You. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom, and You are exalted as head over all.” (1 Chron 29:11)

These words - greatness, power, glory, splendor, and majesty - bear witness to the glory of God, to which the Bible speaks. I see that, but what does that mean to me? Why can I not see the glory of God as clearly as Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah, Isaiah, or Jeremiah? Do we not have many advantages over those Old Testament saints? We have the New Testament, which provides proof that many Old Testament prophecies have been fulfilled. Chief among those prophecies was the coming and ministry of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to indwell all believers. That same Holy Spirit inspired every word of Scripture, and illuminates our hearts and minds so that we can understand it.

Now, with that in mind, let me tell you about my experience. I had just started the first grade at Dundee, Mississippi when an early frost destroyed out cotton crop. My parents moved to Mobile where they got jobs in a shipyard. For fear that the different grading system in Alabama might cost me a year in school, my parents left me with my mother’s older sister in Leakesville, Mississippi. At the end of the school years they moved me on to Mobile with them and my little brother James. The next year, I was in the first grade again (!), since they started children in the primmer. Students, they told me, graduated at the end of the eleventh grade.

The next year, my father was one of the older men drafted in World War II. My mother and James moved in with her sister at Big Creek, near Calhoun City, Mississippi and they moved me in with my great Aunt Effie, who loved me as much as any grandmother could love a grandchild. She had joined her mother in caring for my father and his brother and sister after their father was killed in a hunting accident. They started me in yet another school, but since the report card from Alabama noted that I had been promoted to the second grade, the school would not let me start in the third grade. For weeks, the teacher told the principal that I had already had everything they were studying and should be in the third grade. She convinced them - but only after Christmas. I move from the front of one class to the back of the other.

By the end of that school year my mother and brother had moved back into our house on the farm they had bought near Sledge, Mississippi. At the end of the year a relative picked me up at Aunt Effie’s and took me back home. That means I would start the fourth grade in my fifth school, and I had spent a good part of my life with someone other than my parents. I am not looking for sympathy; my father came home after the war. Many did not.

Here is the point. I do not remember going to church before we moved from the farm, but I know we did because I was told that my father was saved and baptized by the Associational Director of Missions, Bro. John Gore, whom I met the day I moved into the dorm at Mississippi College. His son, Dr. Sam Gore became a good friend to me and to my family. When we returned to the farm I heard my family talk about a Bro. M. C. Waldrup returning as the Director of Missions, but the only time we attended a service was when an interim (I suppose that was his title) and his wife came out for a Christmas fellowship in a neighbor’s home.

It seems that I went to church a few times in Leaksville, MS, but I don’t remember going to any church in Mobile. During the school year I spent with Aunt Effie we had no way to go to a church, but she talked with me at times about the Lord. When Bro. and Mrs. Waldrup, and their daughter Barbara started up the work up again in our mission church, I love it. I loved Sunday School, Training Union, Vacation Bible School, worship services. My family talked about services during the week.

One day after Bible School in the afternoon, I visited with a friend an we were throwing a baseball around in the yard when his older sister came outside and walked up to me and asked me when I was going to ask Jesus to save me! If she had dumped a tub of ice water on me I could not have been more shocked. I was very uncomfortable the rest of the day, and during the revival service that night I could hardly wait for the evangelist to finish his sermon so I could make my public profession of faith in Jesus. As soon as they started the invitation I was on my way down the aisle.

After the service we went outside and got into the back of our pickup truck. The cab was filled with adults and the bed was filled with older kids and teenagers. A number of neighborhood kids rode to church with us all the time, and the kids were really loud. My friends were loud that night but it took some time for the noise to break through to my mind. When I began distinguishing between voices and realized they were laughing and joking. I could hardly believer it. My first fully conscious thought was, “DON’T THEY UNDERSTAND WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME?!” I was twelve years old that years and the Lord called me into the ministry a year later.

My brother James was saved when he was dight years old and a few years later my little five year old sister made a profession of faith during a revival in the church I served as a student pastor. I asked our evangelist to take her back to a Sunday School room and talk with her to see if he thought she knew what she was doing. When he came back out he said, “She knows exactly what she is doing and she wants to know how to tell her friend Allie Mae how to be saved!” My baby brother Mike was seven years old when he was saved and I was given the opportunity to baptize him. A cousin about his age was visiting with us and I took them swimming at Paradise Point on the back side of Moon Lake, northwest of Clarksdale, MS. After some time I called Mike to me and showed
him what I would ask him to do when I baptized him. Mike said to Ray, I am going to be baptized Sunday.” Ray said, “I am going to be baptized, too.” To which, Mike said, “You can’t be saved until accept Jesus as our Savior.” Ray said, “In Oxford you can!”

James, Linda, and Mike had the advantage of growing up in church, in a family that took the Lord and His services very seriously. We could expect to talk about the Bible, last Sunday’s sermon, or the Sunday School lesson during the week. There were no fanatics in our home, just “fans” of the Lord. I thank the Lord my brothers and sister had a different childhood from mine, just as I thank Him for revealing to me my need to be saved by believing in His Son.

Where is the glory in my testimony. I didn’t understand it then but I do now. That night: when I professed faith in Jesus, and when I was so focused on what had happened to me? That was the night “Heaven came down and glory filled my soul.” There is more. When I read John, Romans, or Jeremiah and see that I have notes in the margin, lines highlighted (in two colors!), and references at the bottom of the page, and then I read the Scripture and the Holy Spirit reveals something to me that I had never seen before, I sense the presence of the Lord, and His presence is accompanied by His glory. Once again, “Heaven came down and glory filled my soul.”

I can celebrate with David:

(7) “Lift up your heads, you gates!
Rise up, ancient doors!
Then the King of glory will come in.

(8) Who is this King of glory?
The Lord, strong and mighty,
the Lord, mighty in battle.

(9) Lift up your heads, you gates!
Rise up, ancient doors!
Then the King of glory will come in.

(10) Who is He, this King of glory?
The Lord of Hosts,
He is the King of glory.” (Ps. 24:7-10)


Johnny L. Sanders, D.Min.
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