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The Glory of God: For This We Were Made, Part 1

Let My People Think / Ravi Zacharias
The Truth Network Radio
September 5, 2020 1:00 am

The Glory of God: For This We Were Made, Part 1

Let My People Think / Ravi Zacharias

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September 5, 2020 1:00 am

What does the glory of God mean in a society that is filled with darkness? How can we better understand the bright light of the glory of God? Join RZIM's Founder ,the late Ravi Zacharias this week on Let My People Think, as he talks about what the glory of God means.

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You can find out more about Robbie Zacharias and the team at So if you really want to know what the glory of God intends, it is what He intends in your life and mine. And if you don't understand His glory, you don't understand how fearfully and wonderfully we are really made. We are made to reflect that essential splendor, that essential splendor of God's substantiveness and God's luminosity. We need to be bright lights in a dark world. It only takes a glance at the news and social media to recognize the pain, hurt and darkness that is in our world today. But as Christians, we have hope in the bright light of the glory of God.

Welcome back to Let My People Think. This week, RZIM's founder, the late Robbie Zacharias, looks at how we can better understand the glory of God and what the glory of God means in a society that is filled with darkness. Here's Robbie with part one of this message titled The Glory of God for This We Were Made.

Talking about the glory of God is very hard in a society as dark as this. Two days ago, I was in Washington speaking for my good friend Kirk Cameron in Revive Us 2. There were other fine speakers there like Ben Carson and Johnny Erickson-Tada and a few others. But the one sentence that really almost made it impossible for me to speak was given by a wonderful lady called Jennifer Rothschild. She was sitting to my right. Her husband had ushered her in, but she became blind from when she was 15, completely blind. And she gave one line that made me nearly lose it. I couldn't imagine what it meant for her to say that. She said, when you wake up every day in the dark. And when she said that, that's all I needed to hear to understand the plight of a person who opens their eyes, but not only don't see anything.

All they see is darkness, a grim, unyielding darkness. And how she lived like that, just imagine I've had a few eye issues over the last couple of years with the dry eye syndrome and so on. And sometimes I wake up in the morning and I don't know whether I'm going to have that shooting pain all day or whether it will stay. And if I do have it, it stays about three or four in the afternoon.

And that eye just keeps watering all the time. And it's very, very discomforting. But that slight discomfort makes such a mark in your life to make you worry about just the next morning.

Imagine knowing that no matter how long you live in this earth, you're going to see darkness and nothing more. That was a moving, moving moment. But then she went on to say something like this. She said, but I console myself with the fact that this is only temporary. I'm in this world for a short journey. In eternity, I will see as brightly as possible, especially in the presence of the bright, very bright and luminous Son of God. This is a short journey. But in this short journey, I want to talk to you a little bit about how we put the bright light of the glory of God for which we were made. You see, if you talk about the glory of God, it is not just that you're talking about something transcendent and distant and essential and defining, but an understanding that essential nature of that luminosity of God and the weightedness of God, meaning there's nothing hollow about God.

There's something substantive. That's what we get from the Hebrew kavod. Kavod literally means weight.

And that's why C.S. Lewis takes off on punning in the title, the weight of glory. He takes the Hebrew word kavod and so when the glory departed, it was ikavod or what we would say in the anglicized pronunciation ikavod, that the substance has gone from the people. But that luminosity is what we often think about. And that comes from the Greek doxa, the brightness, the brilliance. And when you take a precious jewel, oftentimes the jeweler will not just put it down on a glass pane and show it to you. He will take out a box with a black velvet background or a dark blue background and put that diamond on top of that background and then shine the light on it. So the radiance coming from outside and the background that is dark from behind, the luminosity and every facet of this diamond shines brilliantly. And so I want to talk to you a little bit about this luminosity of God. What does it mean? Why does Isaiah cover his eyes?

Why does God say to Moses, you cannot see my face and still live and tell him to get behind a rock and you will see the after effects of my presence, which is what it literally means, not so much my back, but as I have passed through and have been there, you will know that I have been there. What kind of a background are we living in? Many years ago, Neil Postman wrote a book in the mid 1980s, Amusing Ourselves to Death. And in that book, he began with this introduction. What George Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Aldous Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book because there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared that the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy and the centrifugal bumble puppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny fail to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distraction. In 1984, it was said, people are controlled by inflicting pain.

In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate would ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.

And Postman goes on to say that his book is about the possibility that Huxley and not Orwell was right. That the pleasure syndrome would take over and create a kind of a darkness in the pursuit of exhilaration and ecstasy. We would actually become hollow and trivial and empty people till the most sacred things of life, sexuality and life itself have been trivialized. And so the entertainment is a combination of killing and perversion. That's what entertains us now.

The substance of the real has gone and the hollowness of the trivial has become real. That's what we are battling in our time. But that's why the younger ones are struggling even to want to live. Because by the time they are 12 and 13 and 14, they have felt and tasted and seen that which was only reserved for mature years. They have now tasted it, seen it, experienced it, and they end up saying, I have nothing left to look forward to. And when you have nothing left to look forward to, you want to make an exit and leave a hollow existence. Not just the young. Some of the loneliest people I've met are those who have experienced it most or have been able to afford it the most.

It's like being surrounded by all the wealth in the world and saying, I'm bored. The glory of God has a lot to say about this. In the book of Ezekiel, we have a remarkable story.

And I would like to just read a few verses to you. Ezekiel was a 30 year old man in captivity. For him, the glory had gone.

Why had it gone? Because they thought Jerusalem would never be destroyed. Jerusalem is that sacred city. When you take even those who once lived in Jerusalem and were evicted from there, you come back with them to Jerusalem and they're walking down that cobblestone. They will look at you and tell you, there is no expression that I can give to you that fully explains what it means for me to walk in Jerusalem again. That city that was intended to be the city of peace and a place that would symbolize the eternal city that has now become a city of warfare and constant contention. So Jerusalem is gone. He is now in captivity.

He's a 30 year old young man. God pours into him physically and emotionally what his calling was going to be like. If you just read the first 10 chapters, you will see exactly what that means. The physical pain, the loss of his wife, all of these tragedies that were taking place and having the dreams that they would be dragged away and taken to a place where they did not want to go. But then he comes to chapter 10 and I want you to hear this.

It's very important that you hear carefully what it is he's saying. I looked and I saw the likeness of a throne of sapphire above the expanse that was over the heads of the cherubim. The Lord said to the man clothed in linen, go in among the wheels beneath the cherubim.

Fill your hands with burning coals from among the cherubim and scatter them over the city. And as I watched, he went in. Now the cherubim was standing on the south side of the temple when the man went in and the cloud filled the inner court. Then the glory of the Lord rose above the cherubim and moved to the threshold of the temple. The cloud filled the temple and the court was full of the radiance of the glory of the Lord. The sound of the wings of the cherubim could be heard as far away as the outer court, like the voice of almighty God when he speaks.

That's the line I want you to take note of. God is moving away from his people. He's departing from them. Almost like in the New Testament, Jesus said, you know, henceforth you shall see my face no more until you shall learn to say, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. It is amazing to me that even when despair comes, God always puts a comma there to say until. He's never really abandoning his people. I'm moving away from you. Goes to the threshold.

He pauses. He doesn't really want to leave, but they've betrayed him again and again and again. Repeatedly now over a thousand years of repeated betrayal. Isaiah talked about it. Daniel talks about it. Ezekiel talks about it.

Jeremiah talks about it. And now as this departure is taking place, he pauses and then he departs from the eastern gate. And if you are into prophecy, you will see how fascinating the rest of it is.

But when you move towards the end of the book in chapter 43, it says this. Then the man brought me to the great gate facing these. This was where they had last seen him begin to depart. And I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters and the land was radiant with his glory. If you notice what happened there, Ezekiel 43, you go to Exodus 33.

Similar things happen. Moses in the wilderness and he sees a bush burning and the bush is not being extinguished. And he walks towards the bush and the voice of God comes from the bush to speak to him. Moses, Moses.

33, when he says, look, I don't want to go. Sarah mentioned that this morning. I don't want to go without the assurance that you're going to go with me. And I want you to show me your glory. It was a very audacious prayer from Moses. God says, all right, you're going to see my glory, but you're not going to see my face.

You will see the after effects of my presence. And God speaks to him there. You come to the New Testament, you have these three disciples going right to the top of the mountain and they are not sure what they're going to see. It comes immediately after Jesus says, you know, some of them still alive are going to see the kingdom of God coming in glory.

People say, what did he mean? Well, the very next verse begins by telling us that he took three of them up to the Mount of Transfiguration. And then he takes the three of them up to the Mount of Transfiguration and Thomas and Sanj traveled with me. They will remember when we were in Israel later the year, last year, a year before I told them, I want you to see this place. I know many of you have been there, but that to me was the most beautiful spot I'd ever wanted to be in.

Margie was with me years ago when we went. You go up that Mount of Transfiguration. It's so Edenic, so restful, so quiet. And your mind begins to wander about what had gone on out there.

The rest of the disciples are asleep at the bottom of the mountain there. And then far into the distance, the other followers, these three boys are brought up to the front, Peter, James and John. And when they come up to the front, the Bible says the body of Jesus began to glow with the whitest white that the human eye could see. Just imagine that.

The whitest white that the human eye could see, but the eye could not contain it. They fall prostrate before. The fascinating thing to me is the two men for whom God was the undertaker, Moses and Elijah, God buried them. Elijah just took off on chariots of fire. God buried Moses. They sort of unnatural departures from this world.

He brings them back onto the mount. I would have thought Peter and all would say, well, I don't know what Moses looked like that. Boy, what a thrill to see Elijah, that great prophet. No, they are blinded with the transfigured body of Jesus.

They were seeing the kingdom as had not been vouchsafed to any other eye. We had Colonel James Dutton here one year. Many of you remember, he was one of the pilots for the space missions and he landed the plane back safely when they returned. He took pictures right from the spaceship and he was listening to one of my sermons when in space, who is God?

So he took that CD, put it in a frame along with a flag from India and a flag from the United States framed it came with one other astronaut to our office to present it to us. And James Dutton said to me, he said, you know, out there, thousands of miles away, and you're looking at this tiny speck we call earth and home. He said the grandeur was unexplainable, the incredible vastness of the universe that we live in.

And we live in this tiny little speck we call earth. He said, I was so overwhelmed that I would look out of that spaceship and say, how majestic is your name, oh Lord. That's why the astronaut in 1968 on Christmas Eve could go nowhere else except to the scriptures. And they went around the dark side of the moon and saw earth rise over the horizon in that brilliant combination of blue and white garlanded by the glistening light of the sun against the black void of space. The only thing that came to their mind was in the beginning, God. When we God was big enough to capture this all inspiring reality, the glory of God. And when the glory of God departed, what happened?

Ichabod was writ large. Eli was an old man and unfortunately he'd messed up with his boys and two boys were killed in the battle. And the messenger comes and says, I got bad news for you.

Your two boys have been killed. But then they said the arc of the covenant has been taken from our midst, which signified the presence of God. And his daughter-in-law was about to give birth. And his daughter-in-law said, I'm going to call my son Ichabod because the glory of God had departed. No more substance, no more light, no more presence. These three realities is what glory actually signifies. And you hear the voice of God where he is present. Where the glory of God dwells, there the voice of God is heard. That's why in Ezekiel 43, seven here, his voice was like the sound of many waters.

Now what I want to talk to you about is after the transfiguration experience, when they go back, Peter talks about it as an apologist. He says, we are not following cunningly devised fables, but we were eyewitnesses to his majesty. We are not following cunningly devised fables, but we were eyewitnesses to his majesty as the light shining in a dark place.

And you would do well to pay heed to it. And then he says this, but now we have the word of the prophets made more certain. More dramatically certain than just the voice of God and a display of glory is the word of God that carries the narrative of what he intends for you and me. So if you really want to know what the glory of God intends, it is what he intends in your life and mine. And if you don't understand his glory, you don't understand how fearfully and wonderfully we are really made. We are made to reflect that essential splendor, that essential splendor of God's substantiveness and God's luminosity. We need to be bright lights in a dark world. Now why does the glory depart?

I will race through this very quickly. The glory departs, number one, because there was no internalization of the truth. Truth is never intended to be a mere externality. Truth is intended to be internalized. It has to be that which comes from within you, not just that which comes from outside you.

That's really what happens at conversion. When you are newly born, when you and I have that new birth and the presence of God comes and lives within us, the divine imperative takes over. Yea, nay, yea, nay, that voice that comes from within. And when that voice gets garbled, it is the word to which you go to find the clarity once again how he intended us to live. In this dark world today, we go anywhere but here to find out what God's will is, of how we should live. Hence the darkness. We are as confused a culture as I have ever seen in 45 years of ministry. There are no answers out there.

In fact, there are only questions after questions after questions. And when you see a person from whose eyes you see the brightness of God's presence and from whose words you hear the substantiveness of what life is all about, you understand why knowing Christ brings that brilliant light in your eye. As we were listening to Jack and Shawna last night, he saw something in her eyes that he had never seen anywhere else. He saw that beauty, saw that brilliance. Why in heaven's name are you looking so happy?

What makes you shine like this? You know, there are two great soccer players in our time amongst many others. One is Lionel Messi from Argentina and the other is Cristiano Ronaldo from Portugal.

And they're always at each other as to who's number one and who's number two. And Ronaldo was being interviewed by the media and he made the comment that he believed God had sent him into the world so that people could learn how to play soccer and show how soccer ought to be played. So when he finished that statement, another interview went to Lionel Messi and said, what do you think of Ronaldo's statement that God sent him into the world in order to teach people how to play soccer?

Messi said, I honestly tell you I don't remember sending him. We have this extraordinary opinion of how great we are. And athletes, I suppose it goes with that kind of ability to be braggarts as well. Very few people brag as much as an athlete does. Of course, when you can pitch a no hitter, you feel pretty important. When you can hit a grand slam, you feel you've really made it big. Millions have watched you do that. But then the body begins to get frail. And you no longer can throw like that.

You no longer can hit like that. And then you wonder where's the glory? Wherein lies the glory.

The people I have seen who have that glory most are those who have really lived with the internal imperatives of how God wants you to live. I'll tell you the truth. And I'm not making this up.

Many a time I wish to myself, I could say I'm done. I've paid my dues 45 years, millions of miles. I can tell you what every aircraft looks like, feels like. And who does the best service and who doesn't do very good service?

Who makes the worst tea? I can tell you all of that stuff. There's only one thing that keeps me going. And that is the firm belief that more than ever, this gospel is the only shining light against the dark background of a confused and messed up world. We have to end today's program there. But if you would like to purchase a complete copy of this message, call us at 1-800-448-6766.

And be sure to ask for the title, The Glory of God, For This We Were Made. You can also order online at or in Canada that website is There you will find numerous resources to aid you in your search for truth, including past broadcasts, articles, and a wide selection of books from Ravi and other RZIM speakers. It's also a great way to keep up on the schedules of the global RZIM team, upcoming events, and see the latest ministry initiatives. Hi friends, my name is Carson Whitehauer and I'm excited to share about RZIM Connect with you.

RZIM Connect is the online home for the global RZIM family. When new members join, they repeatedly say they are excited to meet like-minded people, enjoy great conversations, and grow in their faith. But as one regular member recently shared with a new member, I think you'll find Connect offers you more than you could have ever asked for. For instance, RZIM Connect is the only way that anyone from anywhere in the world can ask nearly all of the global RZIM speaking team their hardest and most heartfelt questions about Christianity and evangelism. We have over 30 members of our team committed to answering your questions for a week at a time throughout the year.

And you can ask them questions from your home, at work, while you're on the subway. We're bringing our team to you wherever you are through RZIM Connect. And did you know that it is completely free? You've given so much to RZIM over the years.

Building this community is our gift to you. Signing up is easy and should take less than a minute. Go to today, sign up, and introduce yourself.

That's We'll see you soon. Suffering. God's silence. The existence of truth. Those are just a few of the topics covered in RZIM's Just Thinking magazine. Editor, Danielle Durant. I'm often encouraged by letters we receive regarding Just Thinking.

You never know what one sentence can do in the life of an individual. We've gotten a number of letters from those who are outside of Christianity, but they found something intriguing in Just Thinking and said, I want to read more. Sign up for email delivery of Just Thinking at RZIM has a global team of speakers with offices around the world. And training men and women to defend the power and coherence of the gospel of Jesus Christ is a fundamental part of the mission of RZIM. Our hope is to empower you to engage in earnest conversations with those who have honest questions about the Christian faith. For more information about our ministry or to learn how you can partner with us, be sure to visit our website. That web address again is or for those in Canada. Let My People Think is a listener-supported radio ministry and is furnished by RZIM in Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-10 12:35:54 / 2024-03-10 12:45:40 / 10

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