The Lord's Prayer, Part 3To God Be the Glory
Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss explains a common temptation.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We may be trying to share the glory of God. You ever try to do that? Maybe not intentionally, but taking credit for something that really belongs to God. Somebody sees you in a restaurant with your kids, and it’s one of those rare times when your kids are just model kids; they’re perfectly behaved. Someone comes up and says, “You have such great kids. I’m so impressed.”
Well, you can handle that graciously, and I assume you would. But in your heart, do you take any credit for that? "Yes, we sure have been doing a good job with these kids." Of course, the last three days they’ve been killing each other. Are you quick to give God glory for what He’s doing in your kids’ lives?
Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for November 23.
Pride is utterly destructive, and it can also be very subtle. The most respectable-looking person may be racked with it. What exactly is pride? Let’s look more closely as part of Nancy’s series, The Lord’s Prayer, Part 3.
Nancy: As we’ve said over and over again on this series on the Lord’s Prayer, if nothing else, this prayer reminds us that our prayers and our lives should be God-centered rather than man-centered. As we come to this last sentence, the epilogue, the conclusion, the doxology, the benediction of the Lord’s Prayer, we see that in spades.
“For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.” (Matt. 6:13) At any given point in our lives, we are either living that way, or we’re living as if those things belong to us. Is it really “Yours is the kingdom” or am I living as if “mine is the kingdom”?
The issue there is, who is the master? Who gets control? Am I trying to do this on my own—live the Christian life, be a mom, serve the Lord, do the things God has called me to do? What am I depending on? Who am I depending on? What is the source of authority and power for my life? “Yours the power” or “mine the power”?
Then we come to that phrase, “yours is the glory.” “Yours is the glory” or “mine is the glory”?
- Which way am I living?
- What is driving me?
- What is my motive?
- Why am I doing this?
- Do I want Him to have the glory, or do I want glory for myself?
I want us to spend some time today just examining that word glory. As with so many of these concepts, we’re just skimming over the surface and not plumbing the depths by any means. But the word glory is a very important word throughout the Scripture. I want us to just get a little bit more of a look at what that means.
The primary Old Testament word in the Hebrew language that is translated glory means “heavy or weighty.” It’s often used to suggest a person who is impressive or worthy. They have weight. Not just size we’re talking about there, but they’re an impressive person; they’re a weighty person.
There’s another word in the Old Testament that is translated glory sometimes in the English translations. It’s a word that means “beauty; splendor.” It speaks of majesty, someone of high rank or distinction, someone who has honor.
As you think about kings in those days, particularly in scriptural days, kings were considered weighty or impressive. They were surrounded with royal splendor. They were treated with reverence, respect. They were magnificent.
In the Old Testament, the glory of God—when that term is applied to God—is linked to the revelation of who God is, to the disclosure, the unveiling of God. God is in heaven. He is spirit, and we cannot fully see His glory. But at times it’s as if He parts the curtains of heaven and gives us just a glimpse of His glory.
We know that if we saw more than that, the sight would kill us. His glory is so weighty, so impressive, so heavy. His beauty, His majesty, His splendor—it’s so resplendent that we can’t look upon it in full view. But He gives us glimpses of His glory. And when He does, what He shows us is who He is, His character, His acts, what He’s like.
When Moses prays in Exodus 33:18, “Show me your glory,” what does God say to him? “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘the LORD.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.”
"You want to see My glory, Moses? Here’s My glory. It’s My goodness. It’s My name. It’s My grace. It’s My mercy." That is the glory, the resplendence of God. It’s the unveiling of who God is.
The glory of God in Scripture is also linked to God’s active presence among His people—God who is alive, God who is at work, God who is moving among His people, God who is showing Himself to His people. That’s where we have the concept in the Old Testament of the Shekinah glory, the glory of God as was seen by the Children of Israel in the pillar of cloud to lead them in the daytime, the pillar of fire to lead them at night. God was there. Those were symbolic of the presence of God among His people.
The Children of Israel saw the glory of God when they saw God’s activity in the world. God manifests Himself by means of what He does, His activity. That’s how He shows us what He’s like and who He is. As we see God’s activity, we see His glory.
The New Testament concept of glory, which is not all that different, has to do with receiving honor and praise from those who have a high opinion of you. The word in the Greek language that is translated glory is the word from which we get our word “doxology.” If someone has a high opinion of someone, they praise them. They give honor and praise because they have a high, exalted opinion of that person.
So to give God glory, to “ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name” as Psalm 29:2 says that we should, is to recognize His weight. It’s to recognize who He is. It’s to recognize His presence. And it’s to praise and worship Him for who He has revealed Himself to be.
"Lord, You have said this is what You are like. So we worship You for that. We praise You for that. There is no one else like You. We give You glory for that. We give You the glory due to Your name."
Scripture tells us that nature gives God glory. “The heavens declare the glory of God.” (Ps. 19:1) What does that mean? It means that they reveal creative deeds and power and acts of God. They show us what God has done and what God is like. As you look up into the heavens at night, at the stars, as you look into the heavens during the day at the sun, you see the acts of God, the deeds of God, the splendor of God, the glory of God manifest in His creation.
Not only does nature give God glory, but the angels give God glory. Remember at the birth of Christ the angels spoke to the shepherds gathered on the field that night taking care of their sheep. They said, “Glory to God in the highest” (Luke 2:14). They came to deliver that message to earth. "Glory to God!"
Now, why was God being glorified in His acts and His deeds? What had He done? He had sent His Son, the Savior of the world, to earth. The angels recognized that that was an incredible, awesome, impressive, wonderful thing God had done. They gave God glory for His acts.
Speaking of Jesus coming to this earth, why did He come to this earth? He came to save the world. He came to die for our sins. Why did He come to do all that? To give glory to God. And at the end of His life, Jesus could say to His Father, “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do” (John 17:4 NKJV).
How did Jesus glorify God? He glorified God by revealing, manifesting the deeds, the acts of God, the salvation of God, the redemption of God. We see in Christ the glory of God. We have beheld His glory. God, who was so distanced, whose glory was so veiled in the Old Testament—we could only see snatches of it. We have seen “the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,” Paul tells the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 4:6.
Jesus reveals God’s glory by revealing God’s character, God’s attributes. He is God with flesh on. He is God at work in a human body, reconciling the world to Himself. That’s how Jesus revealed the glory of God.
The Scripture says, “Give the Lord the glory due to His name.” Nature does it. Angels do it. Jesus did it while He was here on earth. The purpose of all created things in this world, the purpose of your life, the purpose of mine, is to give Him the glory due to His name. That’s the end of all things, “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Phil. 2:10-11).
Why? For what purpose? For what end? To the glory of God the Father. Yours is the kingdom, the power, and Yours is the glory.
So what does it mean for us to give God the glory due to His name? Well, it’s really just expanding on the things we’ve just listed here. It means to have a high opinion of Him, to think right thoughts about God.
I want to say that most of us today, and all of us in varying degrees, have thoughts of God that are so puny, so limited, so finite, so unworthy of God. So many of us have shaped God into our own image. We’ve determined what God is like based on what we’ve seen of others who claim to know Him. So many women shape their view of God based on what they’ve experienced from other men.
God is not like anything we’ve ever experienced or anyone we’ve ever known. We need to go to the Word of God and shape our view and our opinion of God based on what He has revealed to be true of Himself. That’s why you need to be in the Word, not just listening to a program like Revive Our Hearts, not just listening to your pastor tell you what God is like.
You need to be in the Word of God for yourself, seeing Him, beholding Him, pondering Him, meditating on Him. As you read through the Scripture say, “God, show me Your glory. Show me who You are. Show me what You are like so that I can have an opinion of You that is worthy of You.”
In this flesh with these limited, finite minds, we will never have the high view of God that one day we will have when we see Him face to face, when we see Him in all of His glory, when we don’t have the limitations of these physical bodies and we can be with Him in His glory. But insofar as it’s possible, we want to have a high view of God.
And then to give Him the glory due to His name is to recognize His glorious presence. It’s to praise Him for the qualities that His acts reveal. It’s to recognize where God is at work, where He is moving, what He is doing, and to praise Him for what His acts reveal.
Praise glorifies God. We recognize what He’s doing and we say, “God is great. God is merciful. Look at how God salvaged that marriage. What a merciful, gracious God He is!” You look at what He has done. You praise what that tells you about what God is like.
Psalm 50:23 says, “Whoever offers praise glorifies Me” (NKJV). To offer praise to God is to glorify Him. It’s to make a big deal about Him. We could never make as big a deal about Him as He deserves. But don’t you want to spend your life making as much of God as you possibly can and letting others know how wonderful you believe He is?
That leads me to say that if we’re not giving glory to God, we may be stealing glory from God. How do we steal the glory that belongs to God? Scripture says, “Give him the glory due to his name.” How would we steal the glory that belongs to Him? Here’s one thing that comes to my mind—if we keep silent about what God has done. When God is prompting us to speak up, to speak to the Lord in praise, to tell others the mighty acts of God, if we don’t speak, if we are silent about the praise of God, are we stealing glory from God?
The Lord convicted me this past week. I had a conversation with some friends. We were talking about something and it was a situation where God was moving, God was at work. But instead of telling them that part of the story, what I told them was some things that were going wrong. I just picked up on the negative points.
As I thought about that later, the Lord brought it to my mind over the next day or so. I thought first of all it was negative. I didn’t need to say the negative part. It was critical and that’s not the kind of woman I want to be. But here’s what really bothered me. I was stealing glory from God.
God deserved for those friends to know how good He was and what He was doing and for me to give a good report of God in that situation. I wasn’t giving a negative report about God, but I just didn’t say the good things. When we’re silent, when we don’t speak the praise of God, we may be stealing His glory.
Have you ever been in a small group, maybe a sharing time or a Bible study group or a church service where the mike is opened or you go around the group and say, “We just want to share how God has been at work in our lives and what He’s been doing”? There are some in the group who will be quick to speak, and the same ones in many cases.
I’ve taught groups of women for years, and I know there are some who, by their personality, they’re just more outgoing; they’re more comfortable speaking up in a group. God made us different. There’s nothing wrong with that.
But then there are some who never speak. You just wonder sometimes, “Is God doing anything in your life?” There are some times when I know God is doing something, where they really are grateful for what God is doing. They may be telling God about it, but they’re more shy, they’re more reserved, and they may not be comfortable speaking up among others to say how good God is.
Make sure that you don’t steal the glory of God, that you don’t steal the glory that is due to His name. You may not be outgoing and that’s okay, but you can speak the glory of God. You can tell people what He has done. It may be in your secular workplace that there are opportunities to express what God has done, who He is. You say, “I don’t want them to think I’m weird.” Don’t steal the glory that is due to His name. If God is putting it on your heart to speak up, don’t steal the glory.
Here’s another aspect of giving God glory, and that’s giving Him the credit He deserves for what He has done. If we don’t do that, we may be trying to share the glory of God. You ever try to do that? Maybe not intentionally, but taking credit for something that really belongs to God.
Somebody sees you in a restaurant with your kids, and it’s one of those rare times when your kids are just model kids; they’re perfectly behaved. Someone comes up and says, “You have such great kids. I’m so impressed.”
Well, you can handle that graciously, and I assume you would. But in your heart, do you take any credit for that? "Yes, we sure have been doing a good job with these kids." Of course, the last three days they’ve been killing each other. Are you quick to give God glory for what He’s doing in your kids’ lives, or is there any part of you that wants to share the credit?
This is something I struggle with. When you’re in a public ministry position, you get a lot of people saying, “That was wonderful. That blessed me. Thank you so much.” It’s appropriate to share with those God uses in our lives how much we appreciate how they have ministered to us. But when you’re the person that’s receiving that, there is a real temptation and a great danger that we would, in some way, want to share the credit, the glory that belongs to God.
Am I in any sense wanting to draw attention to myself or to share the glory that belongs to Him?
God says, “I am the LORD, that is my name; and My glory I will not give to another” (Isa. 42:8 NKJV). We’re not to seek recognition for ourselves. Not to us, oh Lord, but to Your name be glory. So as we pray the petitions and the requests of the Lord’s Prayer, why are we praying for these things?
Why are we praying for the restoration of a marriage? For the return of the prodigal? For health? For a job? For funding for our family needs or for our ministry needs? Why do we pray for safety in travel? Why do we pray for victory over sin? Is it for His glory or ours? So He can get the credit or so somebody can think we pulled off a great deal?
Our motive for praying and our motive for bringing our requests before Him is that His glory might be put on display. So when we pray we ask God for these things, not for our own comfort, our own blessing, our own ease, but for the advancement of His kingdom, for His glory, for the fame of His name.
Is that why you want God to heal your broken marriage? Or do you just want life to be easier for you? Or do you want it for His glory? “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” (Rom. 11:36) It’s all for Him. All the glory belongs to Him.
Then we are to reflect His glory. We give Him glory as we reflect His glory. As the moon reflects the glory and the light of the sun, it’s Jesus’ acts on earth that brought His Father glory, that showed us what God is like. And God lives in us.
So as His qualities are seen in our lives, as His qualities and deeds are displayed through us, He is glorified in us. As we display His ways, His beauty, His grace, His deeds, Christ in us working through us, then we become reflectors of His glory. Our goal is to make Him known to others around us. That’s the mission of Revive Our Hearts, that God would be glorified in the lives of Christian women, that our lives would reflect to the world the beauty, the wonder, the glory of who God is.
So I think it’s important that we ask ourselves regularly the question: what is my life revealing to others about God? The way I respond to pressure, the way I handle this situation, the way I talk to my colleagues at work, the way I talk about my ex-mate, the way I talk to my children, the way I use my time, my priorities—what is my life reflecting to the world about God?
Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be right back with more on God's glory and our response to it. That message is part of the series, The Lord’s Prayer, Part 3.
I hope you had a meaningful holiday yesterday. The Thanksgiving holiday is such a good reminder that we need times to reflect on what God has done and say “thank You.”
We’d like to give you a chance to share what God’s been doing. How has He worked in your life in 2012? What prayers did He answer? How did He convict you or encourage you? Did you take Nancy’s challenge to spend some time each day in the Bible in 2012?
As you look back over this year, what’s your story? Would you share it with us? Here are a few ways:
Visit ReviveOurHearts.com and look for the instructions for emailing your story.
Or visit Revive Our Hearts and look for instructions for uploading a video.
Or call our listener comment line and record your story. That’s 269-697-6123.
As you prepare for a new year, remember that we’d like to send you the 2013 Revive Our Hearts wall calendar. The theme is “A Heart at Rest.” We’ll send your calendar when you donate any amount to support the ministry. Just visit ReviveOurHearts.com, or call 1-800-569-5959.
Come back on Monday when we'll consider this mysterious truth: God is forever. Now Nancy's back to wrap up on God's glory and our worship.
Nancy: “We know that one day there will be an unmasked demonstration of the bright and flaming splendor of God,” as one commentator says it. Now we see through a glass darkly. We can’t see the fullness of His glory. We couldn’t bear the sight.
But one day there will be that full revelation, unveiling of who God is. It’s a vision that was glimpsed by few people in the Scripture. Isaiah—“I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up . . . And above him stood the seraphim” (Isa. 6:1-2). And what did they say to one another? “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isa. 6:3).
Then we get to the last book of the Bible, Revelation chapter 4, where John is given a vision again of heaven. Again, God is seated on a throne. The living creatures, the elders and the angels are still there, saying day and night without ceasing, “Holy, holy, holy” (v. 8).
Then the Scripture says whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who is seated on the throne, the one who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who is seated on the throne. They worship Him who lives forever and ever.
They cast their crowns before the throne saying,
Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created. (Rev. 4:11)
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing . . .To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever. (Rev. 5:12-13)
Oh God, Yours is the glory forever. Until that day when we see that unmasked display of His glory, God gives us the privilege of being light bearers, containers of the glory of Christ within us. That’s why Paul prays “to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Eph. 3:21).
Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.
All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.Offers available only during the broadcast of the radio series.