Feb 26 2015

“Show Me Your Glory”

e_CES0556In the Book of Exodus there is an interesting exchange between Moses and God recorded in chapter 33.  Moses seems to be pretty frustrated and asks God a series of questions.  It’s obvious that Moses needed some reassurance from God and eventually asked God to show him His glory (v. 18).  God agrees to do so but tells Moses that he will only be allowed to see His back side, not His face.  God placed Moses in the cleft of a rock and covered him with His hand until He had passed by.  God then removed His hand and showed him His back.

_DSC6935There is a very fascinating passage in John Muir’s journals where he takes Moses to task for requesting to see God’s glory.  Muir writes: “Perhaps I do not understand the request of Moses, ‘Show me your glory,’ but if he were here I would like to take him to one of my Twenty-Hill Hollow observatories, and after allowing him time to drink the glories of flower, mountain, and sky I would ask him how they compared with those of the Valley of the Nile and of Mount Pisgah, and then I would inquire how he had the conscience to ask for more glory when such oceans and atmospheres were about him.  King David was a better observer: ‘The whole earth is full of thy glory.’”

I’m not about to fault Moses for asking to see God’s glory but I see Muir’s point and feel it is valid one.  There are times when we feel the need for God to reveal Himself and our hope is that this revelation will take the form of something spectacular.  Like Moses we may even ask for more than we can handle.  I understand the desire to see God’s glory but what Muir has admirably pointed out to us is the fact that God’s glory is always on display all around us.

_DSC1246God’s glory is revealed numerous ways and one of the most accessible places we may experience this glory is in nature.  In nature the Creator’s glory is on full display.  In another passage from John Muir’s journals he says “No wilderness in the world is so desolate as to be without divine ministers.  God’s love covers all the earth as the sky covers it, and also fills it in every pore.  And this love has voices heard by all who have ears to hear.”  For those with eyes to see God’s glory can be seen each and every day.  In nature itself one can experience God’s love wherever he or she happens to be.  King David was right; “the whole earth is full of God’s glory.”

Many of us miss seeing God’s glory because we’re waiting for that spectacular display such as Moses experienced in the cleft of the rock.  God rarely makes Himself known this way.  If this type revelation is the only kind that will satisfy us we will likely be disappointed.  I encourage you to open your eyes wide enough to see God’s glory in His Creation.  If you will, I think you will discover that it is quite satisfactory.


(I took the top image at Cedar Breaks National Monument, the middle image at Great Basin National Park, and the bottom image at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.)

Sep 13 2009

Look Deeper

top of slot canyon 2Looks can be deceiving.  You’ve no doubt heard that before but it helps to be reminded of this truth from time to time.  I have had numerous occasions when my  first impression about someone or something proved to be totally wrong.  It happens to everyone, which is all the more reason to be more careful about rushing to judgment.

This point was pressed home to me when visiting the slot canyons in Arizona.  If you were to drive by this area you would not think that there was anything special there.  In fact, if you got out of your car and walked around the area where they exist you would still not find anything that would likely catch your eye. (Above is a photograph of Lower Antelope canyon from the surface.)  Lower Antelope Canyon 421If, however, you take the time to go down into the canyon (fortunately, there are steps) you will discover a magical world.  Wind, rain and floods have sculpted a fascinating world that when lit by the sun above becomes jaw-dropping beautiful.  The picture to the right illustrates the beauty that lies beneath the surface.

The slot canyons remind me that if we are not careful we will miss the beauty that is to be found around us.  This is especially true when it comes to the people we encounter in our lives.  If we only look on the outside and fail to go deeper we will often miss some amazing beauty. 

 In a delightful story from the Old Testament Samuel goes to the house of Jesse looking for Israel’s next king.  He looks first to the eldest son but God indicates that he is not the chosen one.  He does this with all the other brothers until he comes to David, the youngest, and discovers that he is the one to be anointed king of Israel.  It was here, in Jesse’s house, that God told Samuel, “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

If God does not focus on “outward appearance,” then why do we?  We would be far better off  by going deeper and looking into the hearts of others.  There is where we will find the true beauty.