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Vision and the Glory of God

A colorful sunset picture taken over the Gulf representing the glory of God
Sunset and the Glory of God over the Gulf of Mexico

Surrounded by visions of glory

Have you ever taken a child to one of your favorite childhood sites, maybe a favorite museum, only to have them yawn and complain? The child was surrounded by “glory” but saw none of it.

Sadly, many of us live this way every day even though God has designed the world in which we live to be a gloryscope. What does this term mean? Just as a telescope points you to the stars and magnifies them for you to see their illuminating glory, so the earth focuses our eyes on God and magnifies his glory, so it can produce wonder in us. Every beautiful and amazing sight, sound, color, texture, taste, and touch of the created world has gloryscopic intention built into it. Every powerful and mighty thing, animate and inanimate, is gloryscopic by design. No created beauty is an end in itself. No physical wonder exists in isolation. Nothing that is, just is. Everything exists for a grand, vertical purpose. 

Paul David Tripp, AWE, pg. 66

Clear our vision to show us your glory

In this post, I want to stretch my thinking about vision and the glory of God. What captures my attention? What do I see? Are my eyes focused on the glory of God? I invite you to consider your vision as you read.

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

Isaiah 6:1-4 NIV

In this story, the earthly king had just died. King Uzziah had been a strong king, an influential king. Although a good king had passed, the Sovereign Lord was still on His throne. At this moment, God gave Isaiah a clear picture of the One True King. And Isaiah was undone; he recognized how far he was from who God is; his vision was made clear.

Isaiah saw God’s unspeakable majesty and glory. This vision of God was marvelous, too much for Isaiah (and us) to comprehend; it was overwhelming. Sad to say that this was the God of the Israelites, the One who had rescued them repeatedly, the One they had persistently disobeyed. God gave Isaiah a message of destruction, BUT He also gave Him a message of hope – God’s last word is never about destruction. A child would be born … hallelujah!

Lift your eyes and look to the heavens

Later in Isaiah’s writings, we read an awe-inspiring passage about who this God is. Even though it is lengthy, I want to post it here for us to ponder.

You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout,
… “Here is your God!”

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?
Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord,
or instruct the Lord as his counselor?
Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him,
and who taught him the right way?
Who was it that taught him knowledge,
or showed him the path of understanding?

With whom, then, will you compare God?
To what image will you liken him?
Do you not know? Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.

“To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?”
says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one
and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.

Psalm 40, NIV, selected verses

Our myopic vision

We cannot measure God’s nearness, power, or influence just by looking at our circumstances. Our vision is myopic. We have such difficulty even considering the glory of God.

Instead, we need to lift our eyes. The Apostle Paul exhorts us in his letter to the Colossians to set our hearts and minds on things above because our lives are hidden in Christ. Isaiah writes, Lift your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and its inhabitants die like flies. But my salvation will last forever; my righteousness will never fail.

“Vision is the art of seeing things invisible.”

Jonathan Swift

Our hope is rooted in the transcendent God that Isaiah reveals to us. He is our Creator, Redeemer, Savior, and Friend … our All in All! His awesome grandeur inspires us and fills us with the confidence that He truly is in charge of our universe.

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

1 Peter 1:8-9 NIV

Prayer for vision

Do you have 20/20 vision? Let’s pray and ask the Father to give us a vision of His glory … not for a spectacular purpose, although no doubt it would be spectacular, but to increase our reverence and awe of our great God!

God is glorious, and He is in control.
By His grace and love
He has chosen us to be His image bearers,
designed to reflect His glory!

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