God reveals glory to all nations in order that He might receive glory from people through worship.
God introduced himself to Moses when he asked for his name God said "I AM WHO AM". He is always and will always be I AM. He is an omnipresent God. There is no past nor future but is always present as "I AM". He will never give out His glory to anyone else.
God has revealed himself to us through the pages of the Bible. He revealed himself partially and slowly through his prophets and finally through His Son Jesus Christ (Heb.1:1-3). The Bible is not all about our personal lives but far more about God himself. The Bible is basically a story about God. It is a thrilling discovery that every element of scripture - the reports of events and the whole history is about HIS STORY . We are used to hearing that the Bible is a love story - how God's love came after us to rescue us and restore our status as children of God. That is one side of the story. The main point of the Bible is that God is to be loved with heart, soul, mind and strength, perhaps it would be wise to read the entire story from God's point of view . God is not just loving people. He is transforming them to become people who can fully love Him. God is drawing people as worshipers to offer freely to Him their love-inspired glory. God can be loved only when He is known. That is why the story of the Bible is the story of God revealing Himself in order to draw to Himself obedient worship, or glory, from the nations. With God's passionate love at the core, the Bible is truly the story of His glory.
At the very introduction of Christ when he was born a multitude of heavenly host of angels were seen praising God saying "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men" (Lk.2:13-14). Thus we can see both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, God is revealing His glory to the men He created in his own image and likeness and God wants to draw all people to Him so that He can receive worship from them.
Before I go further into my topic I would like to mention that we have stooped down to take more glory to ourselves rather than giving glory to the one who deserves it. I m not pointing my finger to any one in particular or even in general to all Preachers of the gospel or who holds various positions in the ministry organizations (for I fear God). My humble suggestion is to re-examine ourselves when we introduce ourselves or the ministries we are involved in, to be careful not to lift ourselves beyond measure as if to project the success of our ministry is because of our own strength and talents. We are what we are and we have accomplished whatever we did for the kingdom of God only by His grace and grace alone.
He could have used anyone else but He chose us out of His love. If He had seen us even before the creation of the world or before the foundations of the world were laid, and if He saw our shape even before we were formed in our mother's womb, He knew what could be accomplished through us. It is totally His choice. Saul was a reckless and staunch fighter oppressing and killing the Christians but when God decided to choose him, it was a marvelous transformation. Just one vision was enough. Saul whose other name is Paul got the mighty revelations of mysteries from God and he gave us most of the epistles in the New Testament. Through Paul's writings we received very stunning revelations of God Almighty. Yet he was so humble and he confessed that he is the least of the apostles. In spite of the mighty works accomplished by Paul, we never see him elevating himself or trying to take credit for his accomplishments. None of our national or international level leaders can claim to have accomplished to the level of Paul in the evangelical world, but sadly there are instances when we see our leaders trying to take all glory to themselves. Let us try to be amiable instruments in His mighty hands! Let us give all glory to Him. If we try to take all glory now, we may not have anything left to receive from God when He is going to distribute rewards in heaven.
God can be loved only when He is known. That's why the story of the Bible is the story of God revealing Himself in order to draw to Himself obedient worship, or glory from the nations. The word "glory" in scripture refers to the essential worth, beauty and value of people, created things and the Creator Himself. To glorify someone is to recognize their intrinsic worth and beauty and to speak of the feature in a public way. To glorify God is to praise or to speak of Him openly and truthfully. Glory is at the heart of true worship throughout the Scripture.
All nations whom you have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and they shall glorify Your name(Ps.86:9)
We worship God in the Spirit and glory in Christ Jesus. (Phil.3:3).
The idea of "glory" also describes honor that can be given or awarded. When someone is exalted or made great, they are to some extent glorified (in a biblical sense). God is so rich in glory that He bestows extravagant honors upon His human servants without compromising His own majesty in the slightest. Jesus exposed our habit of seeking "glory from one another" and yet failing to seek the glory that is from the one and only God". "How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?" (John 5:44).
God reveals glory to all nations in order that He might receive glory from people through worship. Isaiah calls Israel to "make known His deeds among the peoples" so that the nations are steadily reminded that "His name is exalted" (Isa 12:4).
God wants to be more than globally famous - He yearns to be truly worshiped.
God's glory flows in two directions. The first direction of His glory is toward the world. He shows His glory to people throughout the earth. He reveals who He is and what He has done in order to bring about the second direction of glory - that people might give Him glory in loving worship. God reveals glory to all nations in order that He might receive glory from people through worship.
Psalm 96 shows these two directions of glory. God mandates a declaration of His glory to the nations in verses 2 and 3:
Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day. Tell of His glory among the nations. His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.
What an eloquent portrayal of the evangelization of the world! The Psalmist goes on to tell the purpose for world evangelization by describing the second aspect of God's glory : a response of glory from the nations toward God in verses 7 to 9:
Give to the Lord O families of the peoples ,Give to the Lord glory and strength. Give to the Lord the glory of His name; bring an offering and come into His courts, Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness; Tremble before Him, all the earth.
The heart of mission flows in this amazing economy of glory : God reveals His glory to all nations in order to receive glory from all creation.
People are indeed saved by the global declaration of God's salvation, but the ultimate value of their salvation is not to be seen in what they are saved from, it is what they are saved for that really matters. People are saved to serve God in worship
"Oh sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless His name; proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised ; He is to be feared above all gods." (Ps. 96:1-4)
There is no shortage of worship for God. We read in the scriptures that there are thousands of angels (Seraphs) worshiping Him all the time (24/7) covering their face with two wings, covering their feet with two wings and flying with two wings crying to one another "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!" (Isa 6:2-3).
Since God is supreme, every creature should bow down in subjection. The Scriptures are loud enough about the truth that God is love. God calls people to love Him with all that they are. God is saddened by false worship. When people worship anyone or anything besides Him, they become like it. God has better intentions for people.
What is true worship? Worship takes place when people recognize who God is and offer public acknowledgment and freely approach God, personally offering face-to-face gratitude and day-to-day allegiance. Worship is genuine relational interaction with God. That's why God always welcomes us to worship with a gift. He never needs the worship gifts. But the gift brings the giver. That's why the nations are urged to come bringing a gift, offering God tokens of their finest worth (Ps.96:8) and many others. By their sacrifices and gifts, they offer themselves.
Why is God so desirous of worship? Two reasons : He is delighted by the sincere love that comes to Him in true worship. But there is more: By wooing people into true worship, God is able to fully bestow His love upon them.
Splendor and majesty are before Him , Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. (Ps.96:6). There can be nothing more splendid or majestic for humans than to be elevated and placed in the gorgeous, heart-stopping grandeur of God's regal presence. Worship is the way that people glorify God. When looked at from God's point of view, we can see that worship is also God's way of glorifying people - in all the best sense of bringing people into their highest honor. Worship fulfills God's love. He loved people so vastly that He wills to exalt them to something better than greatness. He wants to bring them into an honored nearness to Him. Stretch your mind and your heart as far as you can, but you will never perceive the extent of what God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Cor. 2:9).
God blessed Abraham to be a blessing. At one point Abraham rescued some of his powerful neighbors from an alliance of marauding nations (Gen.14). After the miraculous victory, Abraham refused to accept the windfall of reward from the king of Sodom. He wanted to prove to the world that he is specifically blessed by God and not by men. Abraham was blessed in order to be a blessing to the nations (Gen.12:1-3). But the purpose goes beyond the blessing of nations. God himself is blessed. Melchizedek openly recognized that Abraham was blessed by God. By God's power, Abraham had been a blessing to his neighbors by rescuing enslaved families and their goods. But the grand result was that God himself would be blessed in praise! Listen to Melchizedek: "Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High , who has delivered your enemies into your hand." (Gen.14:18-20).
(I remember when one African Evangelist (at that time a foreign student at Udaipur University) introduced me in a public crusade as a servant of the Most High God!. What greater introduction can one get to be credited more than a servant of the Most High God).
Abraham made God's name known by his ongoing worship. God made his name great by dramatic redemptive power through His people. The outcome was a multi-national gathering of grateful honor in which God was explicitly worshiped in truth.
The crucial, proving moment of Abraham's life was a worship event (Gen.22). God told Abraham to bring His son Isaac to offer him in an act of worship. It was a test to prove what Abraham and his family would be. Would God find an Abraham an obedient, priestly passion for God (a fearer of God) (Gen.22:12). Would Abraham prove to be zealous to offer the worship God desired? If so, God would find him to have the kind of faith that God wanted multiplied among the nations.
You know the story. At the very moment that Abraham obeyed in worship, God spoke from heaven with a solemn oath, declaring forcefully His global purpose to bless the peoples of the earth through Abraham's family (Gen.22:18).
The key passage in Exodus 9:13-16 in which Moses gives an ultimatum to Pharaoh shows God's purpose "Let my people go, that they may serve Me". The purpose was clearly stated every time Moses declared it. Take care to hear the entire cry of salvation: "Let my people go, that they may worship Me". (Ex 8:1,20; 9:1,13; 10:3). Pharaoh well understood the entire demand of Moses that the people be released to worship. Pharaoh probably thought that the appeal for a worship vacation was a ploy to disguise plans for escape. Perhaps many of the Hebrews made the same mistake. How many of them may have thought that the plans to worship God in the wilderness were but a ruse to dupe the authorities? No wonder many of them remained fixated on matters of comfort, diet, safety and entertainment. They were slow to comprehend that in their escape, God had a purpose for Himself in the sight of the nations. They had turned salvation inside-out: they seriously thought that their rescue was the predominate concern of God. Instead, God was orchestrating a powerful plan to draw the attention of the nations to Himself.
God was singling Himself out from all the gods of earth. He was making an "everlasting name" for Himself at the Exodus (Isa 63:11-14) and (Neh. 9:9-10). He wanted everyone in Egypt and beyond to know that there was absolutely no god like the only living God. He wanted the world to watch a mob of slaves marching in procession to worship Him. God established his reputation as one greater and absolutely different (truly holy, not just holier) than every other deity ever dreamed up by man- an exquisite, almighty, resplendent God.
The conquest of Canaan should be seen in the light of God winning to Himself a single, holy people of worship. To that people, and by their witness, He will draw every other people to revere and know Him. God was demolishing systems of false worship in order to preserve the singular devotion of His people and the holiness of His name. Joshua and Moses both voiced the God-given rationale for the violence of the conquests because it was an annihilation of false worship. God had mandated the destruction so that Israel would never "mention the name of their gods, or serve them, or bow down to them" (Josh 23:7). God's objective was not that Israel would be the only people that worshiped Him. His point was to insure that He was the only God that they worshiped.
God had distinguished His name far above any other. Any kind of idolatry would, in effect, profane (that is, bring down as common) God's name, the very name God had singled out and sounded forth to the world. The point of the invasion was not that Israel deserved someone else's homeland. God told Israel clearly that they weren't special or favored because of their intrinsic righteousness or their great nobility (Deut. 7:6-7). Israel was told repeatedly that God would destroy them just as swiftly if they turned away from His worship to other gods. For all the special love God had promised the descendants of Abraham, God was resolute in working for His glory. God was not averse to taking a delay and dealing with another generation. The issue at every juncture was the worship of the people to God and their testimony to His glory.
One instance makes this constant purpose of God clear: the rebellion at Kadesh-Barnea. Israel had followed God through a divinely opened way, and stood on the threshold of fulfilling God's purposes. Spies were sent to check out the land and the people. Ten of the spies spooked the entire people, touching off a hysterical rebellion for self-preservation (Num.13:17-14:10). God was ready to destroy the entire people and start over with Moses, making out of him another people "greater and mightier" than the Hebrews. The point is not that the people had done something so bad that God had become fatally angry. God simply required for His purposes a nation who would at least believe in Him.
Moses actually argued with God, bringing up, as he had in a previous instance (Ex 32:1-14) that the nations were watching. They had heard something of God's name which could be falsified by what God was about to do "Now if You slay this people as one man, then the nations who have heard of Your fame (name) will say, "Because the Lord could not bring this people into the land He had promised. Moses challenges God, telling Him that the nations will conclude that the Hebrew God is weak - all beginnings, but no finish (Num. 14:15-16).
Then Moses asks God to magnify Himself according to how God Himself had summarized His name: "The Lord is slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression. God pardoned Israel according to the prayer of Moses and declared "But indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord!. (Num.14:17-21). To fulfill this purpose requires an obedient, worshiping, witnessing people.
The purpose of building the Temple was to establish His name there for His dwelling. It will be a place of revelation as worshipers continually exalt His character and voice the stories and songs about His working. God desired a place of encounter, of relationship of dwelling. According to Solomon's dedication, the house of the Lord is to be a place where God would see, hear and answer His people. But the house was not just for Israel. Solomon makes special mention of "the peoples". He knew that God's purpose for the temple was to welcome all nations to worship. Solomon knew the story up to that point. God had made Himself vastly famous. People of other nations would seek to know the God of Israel personally. Solomon prays for the foreigner in (1 Kg. 8:41-43).
Solomon did not pray for a few of the individuals to come, but for many from every one of the peoples. Solomon prayed that the nations would meet God as they came to the house to pray and to worship. He envisioned all peoples joining Israel in the same kind of humble, joyous, worshipful walk with God that Israel enjoyed - "the fear of the Lord".
God's plan was simple : God would make His name great and then Israel could make His name known. He has always purposed to single out His name from all other gods, and then to welcome the nations to worship Him personally in the light of that revealed name through the witness of the people of Israel.
Shout joyfully to God, all the earth. Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious. Say to God, "How awesome are your works!" Because of the greatness of your power your enemies will give feigned obedience to you. All the earth will worship you. And will sing praises to you; they will sing praises to your name (Ps.66:1-4).
All the kings of the earth will give thanks to you, O Lord, when they have heard the words of your mouth. And they will sing of the ways of the Lord. For great is the glory of the Lord. (Ps.138:4-5).
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the water cover the sea (Hab.2:14).
For from the rising of the sun, even to its setting, my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to my name, and a grain offering that is pure, for my name will be great among the nations (Mal.1:11).
Christ is the crescendo of the story of God's glory. He will have bought and brought people from every tribe and tongue to honor the Father. Jesus summed up His ministry in terms of bringing global glory to His Father:
"I glorified You on earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. I manifested Your name to the men You gave Me out of the world" (Jn.17:4,6).
At the end of history, we will marvel at how abundantly God's love has been fulfilled. His love will have triumphed by winning passionate devotion from all peoples.
(Reference Steve C. Hawthorne's "The Story of His Glory).