To Fellow Glory Hounds (for the Glory of God!)
Oh, the wonders of His grace and the riches of His Glory!
We are living in momentous times—”peace and safety” is on the lips of world leaders. Peace initiatives with summits and conferences are running amok. The world is trying to solve its problems without God as its sovereign Lord and without His moral standards.
There will be no “peace”, however, until the King of Peace shall appear. Meanwhile, the world is “hurtling toward oblivion”, as one writer entitled his book. Nevertheless, one day “the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD.”
I have been thinking about the Glory of God—the manifested presence of God—without whistles, horns, drums, dancing, loud music, or shouts!
Did John see and experience the Glory of God while on the deserted rock island of Patmos? Can the Glory be found in hamlets, deserts, caves, house churches, etc.? Does the suffering Church worldwide experience the Glory of God in the midst of its persecution, tortures, and martyrdom (those who give their life to the Lamb)?
Is the Glory of God always visible, as it was most predominantly in the OT? Does the Glory always come with a vision, a cloud, fire, or a thunderclap? Do we expect to see the Shekinah in today’s Church as it is seen in the OT?
In the OT, the tabernacle and the ark played a significant role in the life of the Israelites. The ark, which was housed in the tabernacle, was a visible representation of God’s presence—the Glory of God—in the midst of His people. It was a testimony to Israel, and to Israel’s neighbors. For the Israelites, to lose the ark was a sure sign of impending disaster.
David wanted to bring back the ark after the Philistines had stolen it because of Israel’s sin. After he consulted with the leaders and the entire congregation, the majority voted that the ark be returned to Jerusalem. II Samuel 6 and I Chronicles 13 describe the events.
The ark was carried on a new cart, just as the Philistines had done when sending it back to Israel. The processional was accompanied with singing, dancing, hilarity, enthusiasm, and a party spirit. Everything was going well until God stopped the party—Uzzah was struck dead!
He had stretched out his hand to steady the ark’s movement. The word used there is that he “took hold of the ark as though it was his possession”—a familiarity with disastrous results—usurping God’s authority.
God is jealous for His own Glory! He will not give His Glory to another. It is always a dangerous thing to “take hold as our possession” the Glory of God—to keep the ark steady—to protect God—when in fact we are usurping the giftings and callings of God. God protects His own Glory. The greatest passion of God’s heart is for His own GLORY—to be glorified!
Later, the ark was returned to Jerusalem God’s way: the sanctified priests carried the ark accompanied with repentance, blood sacrifice, and humility. This time there was also dancing, joy, music, and celebration. In fact, if one had to compare the first attempt with the second from a purely external viewpoint, there would be little difference—they both looked very similar. However, doing it God’s way brought the blessing—God’s approval.
In today’s church world, we may have all the trappings of tabernacle worship, i.e., the bowls, dishes, the table of showbread, the candlestick, and the altar of incense. (How glorious it must have been—the pomp and circumstance!) We may have the ceremonial processions (evangelical and Pentecostal) with cold and lifeless programming. We may have church services that are lively in presentation (though spiritually dry), and have all the trappings of sincere religious service.
However, they are often without any divine interventions, without any supernatural road signs along the way, without any divine confirmations of His unique presence. We are not primarily referring to physical healings, wonders, or acts that are visibly supernatural (thank God He does also show that at times), but to the abiding Anointing that is shown in ways that signify the Divine is present.
In the NT, what is meant by “seeing the Glory of God”? God wants us to see Him differently today—not in visible form, but in the “face of Jesus Christ”.
In Revelation 1, John saw the Glory of God in the person of Jesus Christ. We are not sure whether it was a visible representation or not. John saw Him in His holiness, compassion, grace, unity, and righteousness … he saw Him full of splendor, clothed in His majesty and priestly authority … he saw His purity and His sovereign authority, with holy yet compassionate eyes that speak of His omniscience and our accountability, and His righteous judgment.
This is how we can see Him. In faith, we understand and perceive the splendor of God’s perfections, even on the Isle of Patmos, in the caves, in our churches, or in our lives—a heavenly persistent gaze that changes our lives!
To see Christ in His character, His works, and His words is to see the Glory of God.
When He saves men and women from sin and delivers the self-righteous from their pride so that they become true followers of Christ, we see the Glory of God.
When He delivers the homosexual, prostitute, and drug addict from their sin and perversion, we see the Glory of God.
When He heals the sick and casts out devils, we see the Glory of God.
When He shows compassion on the dying and the destitute, we see the Glory of God.
When men and women go around the world sharing the Gospel of God’s grace to a lost and dying world, we see the Glory of God.
When thousands of hospitals are built to show that God cares, we see the Glory of God.
When homes of rehabilitation are provided for the drug users, the blind, and the lepers, we see the Glory of God.
When thousands of schools are erected to teach the glorious Gospel and give practical training for living, we see the Glory of God.
When feeding and clothing programs around the world are freely provided, even to our enemies, we see the Glory of God.
When we see marriages and homes restored, we see the Glory of God.
When men and women confess their faith in Christ, we see the Glory of God.
When whole nations are transformed by the power of the Gospel, we see the Glory of God.
When orphan children, unwed mothers, and the homeless are cared for, we see the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ!
One day we shall behold His Glory without any encumbrances or limitations. We shall behold Him! Until then, we rejoice in the hope of the eternal Glory.
The Glory of the Lord is spectacular. We cannot compare our present possession with what the Lord has for us in the future. The future Glory far exceeds any “Glory” of the OT manifestations.
As we enter the “last seconds” of the “last hour” in these “last days”, let us go forth in our lives and ministry without man-made carts to carry the ark of God’s presence. Let us bear the Glory of God in our lives and ministry. Let us lay aside all the “stuff” of our lives and churches that have no meaning or spiritual significance.
Let our lives be more than food and raiment … more than just “doing” the ministry … not only for a heavenly reward, but to make Christ present in our world, our homes, our jobs, our churches, and our ministries. Let the Church be a manifestation of the Glory of God in supernatural and practical ways: making Christ, Who is the Glory of God, visible in our present world. Let the world see our good works and glorify our Father, which is in heaven!
We again are so thankful to the Lord and to you for your love, support, calls, cards, letters, e-mails, and prayers! I am not taking any medications, but still wobble and slur a little. I am seeing a doctor regularly. Daily we are being physically strengthened by His Spirit!
The Lord is again beginning to release us into active ministry. Since February, we have had the privilege to minister in several states as well as here in California. We have received several overseas invitations. We are waiting on the Lord to know what His next steps will be for our lives. We are asking the Lord for His wisdom that we be neither presumptuous nor passive with His grace. He has given us such a peace that “passes understanding”! The Lord is so faithful!
Serving the Lord by His grace,
Reuben & Carmen Sequeira
I Chronicles 16:4