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The Glory Cloud

Exodus 40:33-38


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No man can see God with human eyes and live, but His presence was enveloped in this cloud which descended, and it was something the people could look to and follow.  Astonishing indeed!  Beneath the cloud is the Holy of Holies and the mercy seat, and the glory of God filled that place.


The glory of God is an interesting study in the Bible.  Mentioned nearly 400 times, but none more interesting than here in our text, I think.  This was the shekinah glory of God, which led the children of Israel across the Red Sea, and thru the wilderness.


Romans 9:4
Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;

God mentions several identifying factors w/ His people, and one of them is ‘the glory.’


When did the glory come?

v. 34        ‘Then’

What happened just before this?  Look at the last 5 words of v. 33...

‘So Moses finished the work.’

        It was when Jesus Christ was finally on display in the Tabernacle.  When thru obedience the work is done.  And so the glory comes upon you and I as well when we are obedient to display God in our lives!  Some Christians just display the radiance and attributes of God on their faces, in their walk, and especially in their talk.


So, it’s when we display Jesus and when we obey Jesus.  Look back at vv. 17-32 and Moses is setting up the final tabernacle, and 7 times it says ‘as the Lord commanded Moses.’


Absolute obedience, not just partial obedience, is absolutely necessary.  How often do people come for counsel and they aren’t there for advice really, but to tell me what they have already decided to do.  This is contrary to the way the Bible teaches we do things.


Partial obedience is disobedience.

Ill.—a man promises his wife he’ll be faithful to her 364 days each year, but on one day each year he’ll visit another woman.  He claims he is mostly faithful, but what is he really?  Unfaithful!


But it’s not hard around here to find good, faithful people who obey the Lord and display the Lord, and thus they have a glory about them.  Look around the church and these people stand out.  Not talking about those who may ‘try’ to stand out, but those with whom it just happens naturally, or should I say, supernaturally.


When does the glory come?  When we obey and display the Lord.


Where does the glory come?

v. 34        On the tent in the OT, but in the NT it came on Jesus.  In the OT it came upon the ‘picture’, in the NT upon the ‘person.’


1.     On Jesus.

3 times Moses had experiences with the glory of God.

·       In the cleft of the rock he saw the afterglow, the hinder parts, as God passed by.  It must’ve made him hungry for more.

·       On the mountain as he received commandments from God, and his face shone as a result.

·       Now upon the tabernacle, in a veiled form, and he must have wanted more having experienced more before...

·       A few hundred years later in Mt. 17 Moses was there upon the Mt. of Transfiguration w/ Jesus, along w/ Elijah.  This time he’s seeing that glory not on Christ the picture but on Christ the person!


It won’t be long, Moses, and you’ll be in the presence of that glory for all eternity.  The same goes for you and me, and we should be longing for that day.  We’ll be more hungry if we catch a glimpse of it now.

John 1:14
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

We can see it only w/ spiritual eyes, but have you seen it?

Hebrews 1:3
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

On Jesus...


2.     On the church.

Ephesians 3:21
Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

God wants His glory to be manifested thru the church!

Ill.—other organizations usually glorify a human leader, but the church, when done right, glorifies the Lord!


Everything in God’s creation was made by Him and for Him.  Any air you breathe, food you eat, sights you take in, are only because He shared them with you.  But there’s one thing He won’t share...His glory!


Let’s be careful to give God the glory in all things.  If we lift up someone, let it be Jesus!  I want a ministry that doesn’t have to be pumped up and revved up, but where it’s obvious that God did it, and not me.


Let’s take this seriously for another reason:  because it’s possible for the glory to depart.

        God doesn’t need GBC...we need HIM!  We shouldn’t take Him for granted.


He can move the glory cloud right up the road if He wants.


Ill.—OT priest Eli had wicked sons and he didn’t restrain them, but rather just swept things under the rug and continued the hum drum ministry as a maintainer, a caretaker.  The prophet Samuel prophecied a coming judgment so severe that those who hear about it...their ears would tingle.  Shortly thereafter they went to war w/ the Philistines who not only killed Eli’s sons, but they confiscated the ark of the covenant.  And when Eli heard this he fell backward and broke his neck and died...and when his now widowed daughter in law heard these things she went into labor and delivered a son whom she named Ichabod = the glory has departed.


When this church moves from evangelism to formalism God will write Ichabod over the door...and we may not even know it!

When this church moves from being Biblical to being liberal God will write Ichabod over the door...and we’ll likely not know it.  We might even have bigger crowds and more exciting programs than ever, masking the fact that God isn’t in it!


When we replace cooperation and compassion w/ disputing and personal agendas, God may just decide to move His membership!  Don’t think it can’t happen here!


Where does the glory come?  On Jesus, on the church...


3.     On the Christian.

Colossians 1:27
... Christ in you, the hope of glory:

The same God who can write Ichabod over a church can write it over a single heart.  Not talking about losing your salvation, but your testimony, your influence, your effectiveness...and your glow!


Why does the glory come?

1.     To show us that He alone is our salvation. 

The glory cloud rests on the mercy seat.  The sinner doesn’t get the glory for being saved, but the Savior.


2.     To show us that He alone is our protection.

Ill.—what stood between Israel and the Egyptians?  This cloud!  It was light to the good guys and darkness to the bad guys!  The world can’t touch God’s people who abide in the glory.  Anything that comes into our lives has to be filtered thru the glory of God’s presence before it is allowed to affect us...and if God allows it, then it is for good!  When they needed light they got it, and when they needed shade, the same!


3.     To show us that He alone is our direction.

For decades this glory cloud was their personal guide.  When it moved they moved, when it stopped they stopped.

Ill.—a personal tour guide is a valuable thing.  They always charge more for that, but it’s worth it.

        We may not know what tomorrow may hold, but we know Who holds’s our personal tour guide who holds our hand!


“My Lord knows the way thru the wilderness...all I have to do is follow.”


We get into trouble when we decide our way is best.  We must trust that God is capable of leading us in the right way.


But if you follow God, no matter how dark or dim the pathway may seem...remember that He’s been there before, and He knows where He’s going.


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