Seeing His Glory, Finding Life

[Often I use this space to reflect on some portion of daily Bible reading from the M’Cheyne Bible reading plan. Personally, I try to follow half the plan, reading two chapters a day, or the whole Bible in two years. This gives me more space for personal reflection on what I’m reading, leaving less pressure to keep up with the plan. If you would like to join me, and use these articles to augment the reading, here are some helpful links: M’Cheyne Plan | D. A. Carson’s “For the Love of God” books, which track and comment briefly on each day’s reading: Volume 1 | Volume 2]

“. . . but the righteous will live by his faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4) How do you hear that? Do you hear “get busy working harder at believing”?

The context tells us that we should hear it differently - the context speaks of pride. Self-sufficiency is not righteous. The righteous will live - receive all that would satisfy and be pleasing to our souls - by faith, by humble dependence. Why is this faith right?

Skip ahead to another famous verse, 2:12-14:

12 “Woe to him who builds a town with blood and founds a city on iniquity! 13 Behold, is it not from the Lord of hosts that peoples labor merely for fire, and nations weary themselves for nothing? 14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”

The proud try to gain life by their own means. But God will bring futility over all that they will “gain”. The result: they will work like crazy, just to make a fire. On the other hand, God is filling the whole world with his glory. God hates it when we look for life outside of Him, in the created things rather than Him, the Creator, because it is only in the comprehension of his glory - his perfections, his goodness, his justice, his beauty, his power - that we find what would truly please our souls. Comprehend his glory, and find joy that transcends all circumstance (see the last famous passage, in chapt. 3).

But there is something here that should free you, and enlarge your faith. Note the certainty of v. 14: God will fill the earth with His glory. It is in the perfection of His benevolent, generous nature to see that His glory is perceived. He doesn’t need us to see His glory, but in His complete happiness with His own perfections, He can’t but display His glory. As the sun, in all its power and fire, must shine and make light, so God must communicate His glory over all His creation.

The point is this: it does not finally fall to you to see His glory. He is always displaying it. Look at Bethlehem, and the manger; there is God, displaying to you His glory. Don’t see it? Ask Him. With your Bible open, ask Him to show you, to shine the rays of His glory into the darker places of your heart. Motivated by the same joy in Himself that moved Him to Christmas, He will do it!