2 Chronicles 5:13-14 The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang:
“He is good;
his love endures for ever.”
Then the temple of the Lord was filled with a cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God.
This might sound like a story exaggerated for effect, but I have heard of similar things happening even in modern times. We have so little grasp of just what “the glory of the Lord” really is. It’s a term that flows glibly off our lips or our fingers, but without any real understanding of what we’re talking or writing about. In this particular incident, some people have cynically posited that Solomon had planted smoke bombs in the temple to create this effect, but such people are denying the power of God. The Star Wars franchise makes a great deal of “the force,” but it’s small potatoes compared to the power of God. God is omnipresent because He’s infinite, meaning that everything finite, including us, exists within Him. However, when He so chooses, He can and does manifest Himself in a specific location. That can take many forms, and one of them is described here. I think another way to describe His glory would be His essence, the distillation of who He is. Given that we are mere created beings, it’s hardly surprising that the priests couldn’t “stand to serve” in the presence of such a manifestation. It is significant that the singers and trumpeters were in perfect unity here. It is a fascinating study, both in the Bible and outside of it, how God delights in unity in His people. The example that comes to mind most immediately is Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out. We tend to be very fractious, so when we are in unity because of our love for and obedience to God, He shows up. If we want God to manifest Himself, we need to get things right with our brothers and sisters.
I have experienced tastes of this, and they make me hungry for more, particularly when my flesh won’t place limits on how much I can take in. I have been prone on the floor in worship, and the weight of God’s presence was so great I could hardly breathe. I have been in worship with a few brothers and the intensity of the joy was so great that I had to ask God to take it down a notch, if He had anything further for me to do with this body. I frequently pray that things would happen “for Your glory,” but often I’m not so clear on exactly what that might mean. The Bible is filled with references to glory, but the word seems to have many shades of meaning. I don’t think I’m to stop using the word, but I need to be careful to let God define it as He pleases.
Father, thank You for this Word. You have me speaking on “Lord of Glory” tomorrow, but several of our key members won’t be here. I think the reason I was so disappointed when I found that out was that I was limiting my definition of glory. Help me be so yielded to You that You are free to manifest Your glory however You please, whenever and wherever it will have the most effect in advancing Your kingdom, in individual lives and in society as a whole, not just here but throughout the earth. Thank You. Hallelujah!