Life is glory and glory is life. Without glory, life isn’t really worth living. Imagine life without anything beautiful or meaningful.
God is glory. Everything about him radiates his glory. His glory is both visible and invisible. His light is glory but so is his love. He shares this glory with us. But because of sin we are glory chasers and glory thieves. We live in an endless cycle of lost and found glory. A cycle of sin, idolatry and addiction.
The book of Exodus records this cycle. Ever since Adam and Eve sinned God went to work to restore humanity and to restore life. He brought Abraham out of Ur and shared his glory (blessing) with him and his family. In turn, Abraham was to share this glory with the nations.
Genesis 12:3. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Abraham’s family, however, ended up as slaves in Egypt, and as God brought them out of this slavery he lead them by his glory.
Exodus 13:21. And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.
Once they crossed through the Red Sea, God led them into the wilderness and gave them his law to set them apart as holy before him. You’ve probably seen the movie:
Or this one.
But holiness will prove to be elusive. The pattern or cycle that commences from Exodus to Numbers is one of Law being given, then sinning, then more Law, then more sinning, and so on and so on (we will look at an example of this tomorrow).
You see the Law could never bring an end to sinning because it could never produce enough glory to change our hearts. And because God knew this, in his grace, he dwelt among the Israelites in his glory. Notice how Exodus ends:
Exodus 40:34. Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
The problem in Exodus is that God’s visible glory is veiled. It is veiled in a tent and it is veiled in the pillar of smoke. But also, God’s invisible glory, his love, faithfulness, goodness, and grace are veiled. Yes they are revealed in many ways, especially in the sacrifices that the Israelites could make to atone for sins. These sacrifices displayed the glorious goodness of God. But even these animal sacrifices were a veil, a shadow of the greater glory to come, and an incomplete covering that could never defeat evil as God had promised in Genesis 3:15.
It will take the glorious life of Christ to do that. To live is Christ. And his life is unveiled glory.