Glorifying God: Caring About His Glory
The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.
– Westminster Shorter Catechism
A humble confession exalts God.
– Thomas Watson, from A Body of Divinity
Spiderman is about to die. The Green Goblin closes in for a final stroke when he himself is struck with a piece of debris and a loud declaration from a crowd of angry onlookers that “you mess with Spidey, you mess with New York. You mess with one of us, you mess with all of us.”
Samuel is about to die. The elders have gathered and have noted that Samuel’s proposed successors, his own sons, are not qualified for the task of judging God’s people. And they were right – Samuel had chosen them because he knew he would not be around forever, but they were corrupt. The elders had thought of a “better” plan, they wanted a king like all of the other nations. Samuel was distressed. Wasn’t the LORD their king? He prays and the LORD comforts Samuel – “they have not rejected you, they have rejected me.” Samuel’s frustration and sadness because of the offense given to God by the elders’ foolish request demonstrated that he cared about God’s glory, that He loved God, and that when the people rejected God, he felt rejection also!
Jesus is about to die. “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you.” Salvation was very near. The cross and the resurrection were around the corner and the glory of Christ – accomplishing the work the Father had given Him to do – was about to be put on display. But He is praying that He might be glorified so that He might glorify the Father, that the Father’s glory would be made known. He cares not only about Himself, but about doing the Father’s will, bringing glory to the Father. He cares about the Father’s glory. When He is glorified, the Father is glorified. And when the Father is glorified, so is the Son.
When the name of God, when the name of Jesus Christ, is thrown around loosely, when the Gospel we believe is mocked publicly, is your love for God such that you have a sense that your own name, that your own faith is also being thrown around loosely and mocked? Do you have a sense that when people “mess with God, they mess with His people” and when they “mess with His people” they ought to be concerned that they are “messing with God?”
This is the relationship we are to have with the Father. We ought to care about His glory. He is our Father. And such a kind-hearted, tender, righteous, compassionate, generous, gracious, just, wise, holy, powerful, humble, good Father! He binds us up, He gives us life, He forgives our sins. And His glory is important to Him. He has made it our end that we glorify Him, that we see and enjoy and delight in His glory. We ought to care how such a Father is treated. We ought to be ready to defend Him even though He does not need us to defend Him. We ought to be ready to stick up for His Name, even though His Name is above all other Names and doesn’t need our affirmation to continue to hold that position. And yet the absence of His need for us to do this does not negate the fact that it is right for us to do this, that this is part of what it means to glorify Him, for as Watson says, “God’s glory is dear to Him.” And so as His children, may His glory be dear to us.
Each of us, in his or her time, will die. May we die as those who have cared about the glory of God, so that we might rejoice all the more when we see that glory in its fullness.