Just a quick comment about seeing the glory of God and the many different ways it can affect us.
First, a couple of weeks ago, Anne Graham Lott spoke about Isaiah’s mystical vision of God (Isaiah 6) and his response to it, which was abject humility. “Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips.”
This week, I read a very different story of a time when God revealed his glory supernaturally:
Now when Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the house. The priests could not enter into the house of the LORD because the glory of the LORD filled the LORD’S house. All the sons of Israel, seeing the fire come down and the glory of the LORD upon the house, bowed down on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave praise to the LORD, saying, “Truly He is good, truly His lovingkindness is everlasting.” (2 Chronicles 7:1-3, NASB)
Here the response is praise, expressing a renewed confidence in God’s goodness.
But in still another passage from this week’s devotional reading, there was this:
Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard a great rumbling sound behind me, “Blessed be the glory of the LORD in His place.” And I heard the sound of the wings of the living beings touching one another and the sound of the wheels beside them, even a great rumbling sound. So the Spirit lifted me up and took me away; and I went embittered in the rage of my spirit, and the hand of the LORD was strong on me. (Ezekiel 3:12-14, NASB)
Ezekiel had already seen a supernatural vision of the glory of God, described in chapter 1 and involving angels (“living beings”) and wheels and lots of rumblings and fire. Here, the Spirit says of this vision, “Blessed be the glory of the LORD in His place” because that vision was a manifestation of the glory of God to Ezekiel.
Look how he responds, though: “I went embittered in the rage of my spirit, and the hand of the LORD was strong on me.” In the next couple of verses Ezekiel begins to realize his calling as a prophet.
What a curious mix of responses: humility (woe is me!), praise and confidence (truly He is good) and now ferocity on behalf of God’s word to His people.
I’m not completely sure what the moral is. Perhaps that when God favors us with one of those transcendent moments in our walk with Him where we see his power and presence clearly, it will affect us in a deeply personal way. It will reflect the fundamental connection God makes with us at that moment, and as such will be different for every person, every time.