Waves on the sea

As the Waters Cover the Sea

Can a person separate water from the sea?

When I think of the sea, I picture a vast body of water with waves crashing as they approach the shore. I cannot imagine separating a sea from water. But when it comes to God’s glory filling the earth, my mind typically separates the two realities of God’s glory and our earthly experience.

I might glimpse God’s glory when I look out on a spectacular landscape in nature or watch the stars come out as night falls, but not in my day-to-day world. Where is His glory in a busy office space, in a shopping center, or on a city street?

In the Book of Numbers, God says that both His existence and the fact that His glory fills the earth are fixed, certain, and unchanging truth.

“As surely as I live . . .  the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth” (Numbers 14:21).

The twelve Israelite spies had just returned from exploring the promised land. There they had found a lush landscape with abundant produce guarded by a fierce people who looked to them like giants. Ten of the twelve spies forgot about the God who had sent them. They spread a bad report among the tribes of Israel so that they rebelled against God in their fear. This was only a year after God had miraculously delivered the Israelites from Egypt and revealed His glory to them at Mount Sinai. Here God reminded them that His glory—the same glory that had recently delivered them—already filled the earth, but their unbelief prevented an entire generation from entering into His promised land.

The Hebrew word used in these verses for God’s glory is “kavod,” which means “weightiness,” “splendor,” or “abundance.” Have you ever experienced a taste of this heavy “weight” of God’s glory during a time of worship at church? Or sensed His glory drawing closer as you pray alone in your room?

The prophets Isaiah and Habakkuk recognized the need for us to be made more aware of God’s glory. Isaiah looked forward to a day when God’s kingdom would bring peace on earth. His vision of the knowledge of God filling the earth stands at the end of a messianic prophecy; it describes a descendent of David who would come to restore justice and righteousness for all nations.

“They will neither harm nor destroy on all My holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9).

In contrast, Habakkuk calls humanity to recognize the presence of God’s glory in the midst of a world where evil is growing and seems to be winning. Writing at a time when the people of Judah were determined to live their own lives without God, Habakkuk saw the coming judgment in the form of an evil army: “Because he is as greedy as the grave and like death is never satisfied, he gathers to himself all the nations and takes captive all the peoples” (Habakkuk 2:5b).

Yet the strivings of all evil armies will eventually come to nothing because, “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14).

The Jewish people expected Isaiah and Habakkuk’s prophesies to be fulfilled at the time of the coming of the Messiah, who would be a descendent of David.

When Jesus was born, the angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14). Jesus’ disciple John described that glory as something that could be seen and touched: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

This glory multiplied bread and fish to feed thousands; this glory touched and healed lepers; it mourned with those who were grieving. Finally, this glory overturned the power of death.

As Christ followers, we are called to show this very glory to the world: “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

God’s glory already fills this earth. We cannot separate these two realities any more than we can separate water from the sea. Let’s pray for our eyes to be open to see that glory and show it to our communities through acts of love, compassion, and generosity.

By Wendy Halloun, Creative Communications Officer MENA, Biblica.

1 comment

  1. Moses Mvula says:

    Thank you for the word of God, I am encouraged.

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