♣ I Will Not Give My Glory to Another
Posted by Shade of the Moriah Tree
“My Glory I will not give to another.” – Isaiah 48:11
GOD’S DEPICTION OF Israel as having a forehead of brass (“impudent, not ashamed of sin, nor blushing at it, refusing to receive correction for it, having a whore’s forehead” – John Gill’s commentary on Isaiah) and her inclination to obstinacy and rebellion, reveals humanity at its heart – that we are all naturally (in nature) disposed to defying God. There is nothing within us (in and of ourselves) that desires the ways of God – for how can we, as the apostle reveals in the eighth chapter of Romans: “for the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
But here is the mercy of God, that while it was impossible to improve ourselves unto His standards and to be accepted of Him – let alone please Him – Christ reconciled us to God and justified us freely, in His sight, through His blood: “But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13).
In light of God freely justifying us, “…what [then] becomes of our boasting?” asks Paul? It is annulled.
“For My own sake, for My own sake, I do it.” (Isaiah 48:11). The emphasis is in order we grasp, that for His own sake we were redeemed. We were born into enmity with God, no matter what is taught in modern self-esteem-evangelicalism; that God saw something beautiful in us, that something within us attracted us to Him or that God saved us because He saw some value in us. How could we have been valuable to God when we fell from our original glory? How were any of us useful to God when we were dead in our sins and opposed to His ways? We were vessels deserving nothing but God’s wrath.
Prior to our conversion, we were, as Paul stated in Ephesians 4:18-19, darkened in our understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that was in us, due to the hardness of our hearts. We had become callous and had given ourselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, on account of God’s unconditional election, said: “…in the objects, too, of God’s love there is nothing whatever that can move His heart to love them. Nothing of merit, nothing which could move Him to select them. Hark, how the blood-bought ones all sing before the Throne! They cast their crowns at the feet of Jehovah and unitedly say, “Not unto us, not unto us, but unto Your name be all the glory forever.
There is no divided note in Heaven upon this matter. Not one spirit in glory will dare to say that he deserved to come there. They were strangers once and they were sought by grace. They were black in sin and they were washed in blood. Their hearts were hard and they were softened by the Spirit. They were dead and they were quickened by Divine life. And all the reasons for this gracious work in and upon them are to be found in the breast of God and not at all in them. Simple as this truth seems and lying as it does at the very basement of the Gospel system, yet how often is it forgotten!
Ah, Brothers and Sisters, you are saying, “I would come to Christ if I had a better character. I think that God would love me if there were some good works and some redeeming traits in my character.” No, but hear me, my Brother, God loves not man for anything in man. The saved ones are not saved on account of anything they did—but simply because He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy and He will have compassion on whom He will have compassion. You are in as good a place as any other unregenerate sinner on the face of the earth. Why should not God have mercy upon you? Your merits or your demerits have nothing to do with the matter. If God intends to bless, He looks not to what you are. He finds His motive in the depth of His own loving will and not in you.”
If we have been brought into such a great salvation, by the merits of God alone, how is it that we find occasion to boast in our standing as Christians and in the various gifts God has lavished on us to enrich the body of Christ? “What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7).
I believe one of the greatest gifts any Christian could pray for nowadays is the gift of humility and a sober-minded mindset. “Drench us with humility, Lord” Oswald Chambers once prayed. We hardly hear that in our prayer meetings because the price is too high to slay pride. We prefer to remain in good standing with ourselves and with others; our flesh dares not come into the light of God, but humility is a graceful attribute that liberates us in the light of His glory.
God will not give His glory to another – to a man as well as a foreign ‘deity’. God is jealous of His honour and many of us are too alive unto ourselves for God to trust us with His glory. When we seek nothing but for others to see His glory, then God shall trust us with His secrets. Look through your church history and note the God-given quality in the men God used mightily, men that knew Him and through whom He performed great exploits. Such quality was meekness and humility. God revealed His glory to Moses because he was a DEAD man; he went into the desert full of himself, spent forty years there learning to be a nobody and came out the other end emptied of himself, prepared to be filled with God – fit for the Master’s use.
Life is not as idle ore
But iron dug from central gloom
And heated hot with burning fears,
And dipt in baths of hissing tears,
And batter’d with the shock of doom
To shape and use.
(Words by Lord Alfred Tennyson)
We have many great leaders today who can flaunt their learning, but most of the time that’s all it is. Many people who follow such leaders benefit in their heads, but spiritually they are as cold, if not colder than when they first came to the meeting. You can find just as much intellectual satisfaction and excitement with Shakespeare, if all you want is great learning; it will stir the emotions alright.
What we are in desperate need of today is the fire of God to fall on the sacrifice prepared; there’s much wood (and a lot of that is just hay and stubble) but no fire. We need leaders who have been with God, not just in studying, learning and developing their ‘craft’ of preaching, but rather who have been flat on their face before the living God. Seldom do you here of leaders today who encounter God in such a way.
You can be sure that if such were the case today, you wouldn’t have all these church programs to keep the bored from falling asleep; you wouldn’t have all this professionalism to appeal to the world; you wouldn’t have this fear of preaching the sinfulness of sin that offends a multicultural society, in turn, affecting numerical attendance, membership growth and finances. We’re all born into sin, we’ve all fallen short of the glory of God, despite where we are from geographically; sin is sin no matter what society dictates to the church; demanding it veneers over the truth of what sin really is with something more palatable.
If the glory of God was made manifest in our churches, nobody would want for anything else but God. The fact that God isn’t present in many churches (and we can quote until we’re blue in the face that, “Where two or three are gathered in My name, there I am in the midst”) just goes to show how we have substituted prayer with programs; media in place of meeting with Him; socialising in place of fellowshipping; singing instead of listening to Him through the preaching of the Word, out of which comes true worship.
What would we do if God were to presence Himself in our well organised meetings – the same programs week in, week out? We would see a whole lot less of spiritual pretence and whole lot more of our real selves. Oh, we are a reserved bunch of people until God makes us real with Himself and with others.
The glory of God was the hub of the New Testament Church and no matter how much the modern church attempts to imitate her acts, it will continue to fall flat in failure until we are humbled to the dust in the presence of Almighty God.
Should it not be the preacher’s one aim and desire that a sense of God and His presence is made know to others who listen to the ministry of the Word? It was noted on some occasions that when Robert Murray M’Cheyne entered the pulpit, his face emanated a glory not of this world, so much so that people would start to weep because the sense of God’s presence was so acute. At such a young age, he was broken in spirit as well as in body; he was weak and meek enough for the glory of God to rest on him.
But this is not confined to leaders; it includes everyone who professes Christ. Are we not all ambassadors of Christ and witnesses unto Him? Who is wise to win souls? None other than those, who like the disciples, are perceived by others as having been with Jesus (Acts 4:13). Don’t forget, these men were common and uneducated. This is not to slate all our great Biblical learning today, but how is it we have so much of it – so much so that the world even recognises our competency, while failing to perceive we have been with Jesus? The fault is not so much with them as with us; it is we who have not been with Him. The world has had enough of walking concordances; it has yet again to see living epistles. We have substituted great yearning for God with the pride of learning. If reading theology doesn’t create within you a thirsting for God, beware of the Pharisee within.
To be nothing in our own eyes is the price of God’s glory to rest on us; the price is prides death. How many of us are willing to boast of our weaknesses, like Paul – and that means being content to appear little in other people’s eyes? Until we know that – forget about ‘desiring’ it; that’s neither here or there – we will always be on the watch-out for self’s preservation. We can say that we’re dead to the world and its lusts as much as we want to, but does our own pride deny that? Does our own sense of self-importance reveal otherwise?
What really are our motives for posting Christian literature on public forums? Is it really for His glory or is there some hidden motive to be liked, or to gain popularity? Would we still post for His glory while lacking the response we desire from others and would it deter us if we dropped in followers? Or are we content to faithfully write/speak for the honour of His name, knowing that it will bear fruit in His way and in His time? Are we content to remain obscure while God gets all the glory? Until we are truly there, others will see and honour us instead of Christ; unless we are there, the glory of Christ will not rest upon us and we can be assured that none of our labours will stand the test of God’s fire.
It is a strange way in which the glory of God rests on us; it’s nothing in and of ourselves. We can’t earn it, but in acknowledging our weakness in that we are not as great as we like to think; in remembering that we were rescued from our hell-bent sinning for the sake of His name, and that we continue to persevere only because of His grace – prepares us to behold God’s glory. God invests His glory in those who will return it unto Him with interest and that is the interest of other souls – for we are His inheritance (not that we can add to or detract from God’s glory; on the contrary, it is God’s glory being made known in other people’s lives). John Hyde, missionary to India, said, “The stench of self will frighten souls away.” Is it any wonder why our Father prunes us? Sometimes we are cut back to the bear necessities of our faith so that we bear much fruit and that every branch of our lives is fit for the Masters use.
God wants to and wills to make known His glory, but it is in such a way that humbles humanity to the dust and where no one shall claim it or contain it for one’s self. Anyone who has tasted of this glory is never the same afterwards and knows that flesh dare not; more so – is unable to boast in such ineffable light.
All that were greatly used of God were insignificant in their own eyes. Man’s praise meant very little to them. They always sought for Him to increase in their life while seeking to decrease in self. Such Christians roused themselves from sleep (spiritual dullness) and were serious about God and in turn found God to be serious with them.
It is to be no different for us in our present era of Church history yet to be written.
Posted on March 29, 2013, in ♣ Devotional and tagged 1 Corinthians 4:7, Acts 4:13, ambassadors of Christ, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Christ reconciling us to God, church programs, compasssion of God, darkened in understanding, dead in sin, decreasing in self, devotional, enmity with God, Ephesians 4:18-19, evangelicalism, fallen from the glory of God, fellowshipping, filled with God, gifts of God, God's glory resting on us, God’s glory, grace, greed, hardness of heart, humility, I Will Not Give My Glory to Another, ignorance, impurity, ineffable light, Isaiah 48:11, Israel, John Gill, John Hyde, justified, listening to God, living epistles, Lord Alfred Tennyson, man's praise, Mark Anthony Williams, meekness, mercy of God, merits of God, Moses, multicultural society, obscurity, obstinacy, Oswald Chambers, preaching of the Word, pride, pride of learning, public forums, rebellion, Robert Murray M'Cheyne, Romans 8, self-esteem, self-importance, sense of God, sensuality, serious with God, sinfulness of sin, socialising, spiritual dullness, unconditional election, vessels of wrath, witnesses unto Christ, worship, yearning for God. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.