Glory to God Alone

I am in trouble. I have bitten off more than I can chew. I am in water over my head. I have out-kicked my punt coverage. My mouth is writing checks my brain cannot cash.

What’s all the fuss, you ask.

For those of you who do not know, if the Lord is willing, my plan is to preach the glory of God throughout 2008. I made this decision a few months ago, thinking I had more than enough inspiration at my disposal to preach all year. At the time I thought preaching on this subject was a good move. A few months later, however, I am not so sure it is something I should do. Or should I say, I am not so sure it is something I am capable of doing.

And what is my dilemma? My dilemma is the more I study the glory of God the less I understand the glory of God. Or, to put it another way, my brain is incapable of processing everything the Bible says about God’s glory.

The glory of God is a voluminous subject. In a very practical sense, God’s glory is humanly incomprehensible. And, whatever is humanly incomprehensible is usually, ten times out of ten, humanly incommunicable.

Preaching is already an arduous task. What makes preaching for me more laborious is speaking on a subject beyond my level of comprehension. Now some of you know why I stick to the simple subjects. Anything beyond salvation through Jesus Christ is out of my league, way out of my league.

Yes, I know the Lord will help me. It is His job to equip me to preach His word. The problem I am encountering has nothing to do with God, however, but with me. The hard drive of my brain is so small I am not sure there is anymore room for ram space.

My understanding of God is weak, very weak. And what makes that statement so ironic is that I earnestly believe I know and understand more about God than I have ever known or understood before. Perhaps the more we think we know about God, the less we realize we really do know about God.

Does the preceding statement even make sense?

To put it bluntly, I am overwhelmed by the task of preaching the glory of God in 2008. What was an enthusiastic interest two months ago is now a heavy burden. I am all over the Bible. The glory of God is noted on every page. Let me give you an example. It is a small, yet profound, example.

Complete this sentence, “The glory of God is…”

If you were to study the word glory, this is a small tidbit of what you would discover. The actual word glory means to describe anything that is heavy, such as a man (1 Samuel 4:18) or a rock (Isaiah 32:2), but it can also be used figuratively to describe blindness (eyes that are “heavy”; Genesis 48:10), or unbelief (a heavy or hardened heart; Exodus 9:7), or wealth (“heavy” with silver and gold; Genesis 13:2). I also know there is a related meaning, “important” (i.e., throwing ones weight around). A derived meaning is “to treat as important, to honor” Get this, the word for “liver” in the Hebrew language is a related noun to the word glory, for the liver is the heaviest organ and therefore thought to be the most important, or at least at the center of human life. [Source: Recalling the Hope of Glory: Biblical Worship from the Garden to the New Creation, Allen P. Ross, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Publications, 2006), pp. 46-47]. And this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding ONLY the word glory, much less how word glory applies to God!

So why print all the fuss about God’s glory? Why all the explanation about not comprehending God’s glory? Why not just change topics and move on to something more manageable, more palatable?

I will save my answers to those questions for tomorrow’s blog.


5 Responses to “Glory to God Alone”

  1. 1 Mandi
    December 17, 2007 at 2:44 pm

    I know you are aware of this, but you have a flock who dilligently pray for you daily that you would “bring it on” so that we may become more empowered with God’s word to reach others.
    I love this quote: “God places the heaviest burden on those who can carry its weight”. You are the man for the job and I know you will knock it out of the park. I’ll be praying specifically about this for you.

  2. 2 Jim
    December 17, 2007 at 5:51 pm

    Nearly 50 years ago I graduated from a military school in Chattanooga founded and run by a strong Chriatian family. The motto of the school was “Man’s chief end is to Glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” I have seen you live this and am sure you are fully capable ( with God’s help) of leading us down this path next year.

  3. 3 Anonymous
    December 17, 2007 at 5:52 pm

    AMEN Mandi!!
    I totally agree with her.
    You will be in our prayers too!!!
    We Love You Pastor Ryan!!

  4. 4 VickieJerkins
    December 17, 2007 at 7:19 pm

    This may be somewhat out of context, but the thought is significant.

    Jesus says in Mark 13:11 – “And when they bring you to trail and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.”

    I understand preparing beforehand, but how many times have you changed a sermon at the last moment to speak the words that God is pressing upon you at that time? I know this was the case on October 14, which turned out to be a blessing for many people.

    We all trust in you and keep you always in our prayers … and like Mandi says, we will be specific on this prayer for you.


  5. 5 Gay
    December 18, 2007 at 11:21 am

    The Glory of God is everywhere and in everything. There is nothing that we see or do that doesn’t reveal His glory. We get up, we breathe, we see, we hear, etc. and it is all about His glory. You could preach from now until you retire and never reveal all about His Glory but I know you will give us all you can. We will never understand all about His Glory until we see Him. Can’t wait!! Bring it on!!! Praying for you, Gay

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