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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Give glory or not?

1 Samuel 5:4 And they said, “What is the guilt offering that we shall return to him?” They answered, “Five golden tumors and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines, for the same plague was on all of you and on your lords. 5 So you must make images of your tumors and images of your mice that ravage the land, and give glory to the God of Israel. Perhaps he will lighten his hand from off you and your gods and your land.
 
This was when the Israelites had taken the Ark of the Covenant into battle, and lost the battle, and the ark. All wasn't well for the Philistines, however. God sent them various troubles. The theology of the Philistines may not have been correct, but they knew that God was powerful (he had, among other things, removed the head of one of their idols without human help) and that they needed to do something to stop the plague and cancers (?) that he had sent to them. So they did their best to give Him glory.

Jesus had another take on the topic of glory, two in fact, in this passage:
John 5:41 I do not receive glory from people. 42 But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. 43 I have come in my Father's name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. 44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?

This should not be taken as an admonition not to glorify God. Jesus was speaking to bad people. He didn't want their glory. He wants ours. Romans 15:7 says "Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31 has this admonition from Paul: "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." There are several other verses in the New Testament indicating that, whether Christ receives glory from us or not, we should give it, and, in a sense are, ourselves, part of that glory. (2 Corinthians 8:23 As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker for your benefit. And as for our brothers, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ.)
I am reading the Bible through in a year, and was struck by the first two passages above, from the May 9th and May 8th readings (This post got stuck in my drafts for quite a while!). All quotations are from the ESV. (emphasis added)


Thanks for reading!

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