We are trying to glorify God by preaching the gospel; and with good deeds we bring glory to Him. This is for our own good after all. Mother says that if we give glory to God, the glory returns to us.
To the people of God, one of the most important virtues is to display God’s glory. Many of the prophecies in the Bible tell us that we are created for the glory of God. Through the Bible, let’s find wisdom to know how we can bring the greatest glory to God.
A father and his son were making a journey on foot together. Picturesque and beautiful sights along the way pleased the eyes of the travelers tired from their long journey.
The son was captivated by the scenic beauty of the spot and begged his father to pitch their tent and live there. At his earnest request, the father decided to camp there for a few days. His son became so excited; he pitched the tent and also built a fence around it. His father said to him:
“Son, you don’t need to put yourself here. After only a couple of days we must leave here and go back home. Do not be so captivated by this place.”
However, the son paid no attention to what his father said. He fenced the place with solid woods and planted flowers. It seemed as if he would live there forever.
Like the father and son in the above story, we are travelers on life’s journey. Our journey will end in heaven, our eternal home.
Our Father reminds us of our heavenly home through His words. But sometimes we forget our everlasting kingdom. Like the son who was captivated by the scenery and wanted to make a house and a beautiful garden and live there, we sometimes set our hearts on earthly things rather than on the kingdom of God that is coming, not listening attentively to our Father’s voice, “Let’s hurry home.”
Of course, we cannot totally disregard our earthly life, though transient.
However we must not forget the kingdom of heaven―our journey’s destination.
Now, let’s look into ourselves: Do we live a life of forcefully laying hold of the kingdom of heaven, our destination? Do we not put our hope in earthly things rather than in heaven?
As travelers on the journey toward heaven, we must display God’s glory to reach our destination of heaven, because we are created for His glory.
“… ‘Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth―everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.’ …”Isa 43:1-7
“Then will all your people be righteous and they will possess the land forever. They are the shoot I have planted, the work of my hands, for the display of my splendor. The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation. I am the LORD; in its time I will do this swiftly.”Isa 60:21-22
The prophet Isaiah states that God’s people exist to display His glory. And he foretells that when God’s children fully reveal His glory, the least of them will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation.
We are created for God’s glory. Then, how can we display His glory? Let’s take a look at biblical history.
Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram … He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy. Now bands from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” … So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.” But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than any of the waters of Israel? … ” Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.2 Ki 5:1-14
In the past, leprosy was known as an incurable disease, and it was called “divine punishment.” Naaman, the commander of Aram’s army, suffered from this dreadful disease, and he visited a prophet of Israel named Elisha for some advice. However Elisha, inspired by God, didn’t come out to meet Naaman who was the great commander of a nation’s army, and he just sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and you will be cured.”
Naaman, who had expected the prophet to conduct a special ceremony for healing, became furious. If he had let himself be carried away by his emotions and disobeyed God’s word to the end, he would not have experienced God’s glory and power.
He became angry when he put his feelings ahead of God’s word. But when he obeyed His word, persuaded by his servants, he was completely cured of his leprosy. Then he realized the existence and power of God and gave glory to Him.
Thus, God’s great glory reveals when we obey His word in faith. Like in the case of Naaman, our obedience to God results in bringing not only God’s glory to the world but also blessing and happiness to us.
The Bible repeatedly mentions examples of those who displayed God’s glory through obedience. Joshua 6 describes the fall of Jericho. Joshua and the Israelites obeyed God’s word and marched against Jericho after he circumcised them and celebrated the Passover.
Now Jericho was tightly shut up because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in. Then the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in.”Jos 6:1-5
On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the people, “Shout! For the LORD has given you the city! … ” When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpets, when the people gave a loud shot, the wall collapsed …Jos 6:15-20
Jericho was an impregnable fortress; its inhabitants were so great and tall that the Israelites felt like grasshoppers compared to them. By the power of God, however, the wall of Jericho instantly fell down.
What brought such a display of God’s glory upon the whole world? It was the faith and obedience of Joshua and the Israelites.
So was Gideon. When God commanded him to fight against 135,000 men with only 300, he obeyed Him. If he had thought it was impossible and disobeyed God, he would have had an unfavorable result. However, he obeyed and God worked a great wonder to him and revealed His glory; He caused their Midianite enemies to turn against each other with their swords.
All this was a result of his faith and obedience.
Thus, the Bible shows that when God’s people obeyed His word and willingly put it into action, His miraculous power always worked and He was glorified in them.
Jesus Christ glorified God greatly by destroying the power of the devil and delivering mankind from slavery to sin and death. Let us see how He accomplished this great work and glorified God.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.Php 2:5-11
According to the Trinity, Jesus is in very nature God. However, He became obedient to death, so that we might follow His example of displaying God’s glory. The Bible describes that Jesus was given the name above every name.
Even God, who came in the flesh, became “obedient to death” and fulfilled all things through His perfect obedience, that He glorified God and Himself as well. Obedience is the best way to glorify God.
Who are described as the most obedient people following Christ’s example in the Bible? Apostle John described the 144,000, who are to appear in the last days, as the most obedient people. He wrote, “They follow the Lamb wherever he goes” (Rev 14:1-5).
They gladly follow God’s will without complaining. In faith they are willing to follow God wherever He leads them―whether into the wilderness or through a thorny path. Since they have such complete obedience, Isaiah 60 describes them as the ones to display God’s splendor.
Without obedience, we can never experience God’s glory. Joshua and the Israelites obeyed God’s word, so that they could witness the miraculous fall of the wall of Jericho. They were just obedient to God’s word, and it brought glory to God.
The Bible says that the 144,000, who are to appear at the end of the 6,000 years, follow the Lamb wherever He goes. And it is prophesied that through them the light of God’s glory will shine in the whole world.
The Biblical history shows that faithful obedience always resulted in a display of God’s glory, while disobedience brought an unfavorable outcome.
King Saul is an example of disobedience; he did not obey God’s word but went his own way, that he was rejected by God. Here God gives us this instruction: “To obey is better than sacrifice.”
But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.”1 Sa 15:22-23
Seeing the above passages, we need to examine how fully we obey God’s word. It is our task to display God’s glory by obedience in our journey toward heaven. The Apostle Peter set a good example of obedience for us.
He was a fisherman. When he fished all night but caught nothing, Jesus told him to go into deep water and let down his nets. Depending on Jesus’ word, Peter let down the nets and he was astonished at the catch of fish that filled the nets. Through his beautiful obedience from faith, he displayed God’s splendor. Finally he received Christ and became one of the twelve apostles as a “fisher of men” (Lk 5:1-11).
Peter obeyed God, depending upon His word, which resulted in the display of God’s miraculous power and glory and also brought a favorable outcome.
Like Peter, let us have faith and obey everything God taught us, saying, “I will do that, depending on Your word,” so that we may display God’s glory to the whole world as the children of heaven.
Wouldn’t it be better to follow Peter’s example rather than Naaman’s? Peter immediately obeyed God at His word, but Naaman didn’t; he felt insulted and became angry at first because he had his own ideas of how he could be cured. God is ready to punish every act of disobedience, when our obedience is complete (2 Co 10:6).
God is most glorified in us when we gladly follow Him wherever He leads us. Let’s think of all the examples of obedience by Jesus, Apostle Peter, Naaman, Joshua, Gideon, etc. I hope all our family members of Zion will pay more attention to God’s word and completely obey God, as the prophesied 144,000.