Have you ever pointed your finger at someone else’s obvious mistakes in order to avoid your own? Well, though I hate to admit it, I’m going to start off this post doing just that, because I get so irritated with the Israelites of the Old Testament. I mean, God had performed some amazing miracles to get them out of Egypt, away from 400 years of slavery, and yet, it didn’t seem to take much for them to forget.
This was the God, who split the Red Sea, gave them manna and quail to eat for forty years, kept their shoes from wearing out, and even allowed their band of wanders to defeat the nations that stood in their way of taking the Promised Land. He was an amazing God. His glory was so awesome, that Moses’ face was radiant to the point they covered it, because he’d been in God’s presence.
How did they forget such a God? Why would they give him up for idols they made from gold or silver? What had they ever done for them? Nothing, obviously, but it didn’t keep them from exchanging The Glory for an image of a bull, which eats grass!*
I think I have every right to point my finger at these people, because this was a major theme of the Old Testament, as prophets and leaders continually reminded them of their stupidity, of their sin. Even in writing, I’m shaking my head in disbelief.
How could they? I mean, really?
I think about why such stories are in the Bible, because they don’t really help my attitude toward the Jews. That’s when God says, “Look in the mirror. What do you see?”
I see my finger pointing at me.
How many times have I exchanged the Glory, that should be “Christ in me” for the glory of self or the world?
He draws me back to his word, same issue — God’s glory — but new verse.
But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
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 God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.**
I’m a clay jar when it comes to God’s glory. I fail so many times to keep his glory the focus of my life, but when I do, he’s faithful to show through me, holes and all. In fact, it’s part of the amazing story of grace that he wants anything to do with such weak vessels in the first place, but that’s our God, the only god who loves unconditionally.
That’s what helps me catch myself from making an exchange — what other person or thing out there is like our God? There’s a word used in the Bible that describes it: “all-surpassing glory”. No glory can compare with the Glory of the God of Glory!
Where’s your finger pointing? At others or at yourself? Don’t exchange the most precious thing for something the world can’t even get close to. Let his glory shine through you!
Grace and Peace
*Psalm 106:20 (NIV)
**2 Corinthians 3:16-18, 4:6-7 (NIV)