I will not yield my glory to another.” (Isaiah 48:11b) Mark this. God is
speaking through His prophet Isaiah. He is categorical. Nobody has a part in
His glory. Remember also that He does not mince words.
King Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, at the time Daniel was exiled there, was walking on the rooftop of his royal palace. Beating his chest proudly, he boasted. “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty.” (Daniel 4:30) King Nebuchadnezzar unknowingly by such a statement committed two very serious errors. Firstly, he attributed to himself the title of God in using the first person singular, assuming to be a ‘mighty power.’ There is no power that can compare with the power of God. He is in a class all by Himself. Secondly, He ascribed to himself all the glory for his accomplishments. By so doing, he deliberately dismissed God from the equation, putting himself first – a common human trait for those who want to usurp God’s authority and glory.
In other words, he was questioning God’s role in his kingdom. He thought---and wrongly at that---that he was the author of all these achievements. He clearly forgot that Jehovah is the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords. God is the supreme leader, the chief architect, the Almighty, the El Shaddai, the I Am that I Am.
King Nebuchadnezzar claimed everything before his eyes as his doing, his handiwork. We often fall into this mistake when, like this king, we make unwarranted self-congratulatory claims. All praise should go to the Giver of life for sustaining us and empowering us. He can bring all of our efforts to naught. Jesus, the Creator of the world declared; “Without me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5b)
“The words were still on his lips when a voice came from heaven, ‘This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you. You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle. Seven times [years] will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone He wishes.” (Daniel 4:31-32) King Nebuchadnezzar had to learn the hard way how to give credit to the One to whom credit is due --- the Most High God --- for His marvellous deeds in our lives.
Uniquely, God’s glory is sometimes difficult to define. It has to be experienced to be really understood. Yet there are instances when it is palpable and visible everywhere He is present. It is not Him per se, it is His presence because no one can see His face and live. (Exodus 33:20) His glory is visible when He takes charge of a situation like for instance when He parted the Red Sea and the Children of Israel crossed on dry ground. There He manifested His glory.
As the elite Egyptian army adamantly gave chase even, He made their pursuit of the Children of Israel an ordeal. When the wheels on their chariots began to give way, they knew that God’s hand was in this. “During the last watch of the night the LORD looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw them into confusion. He made the wheels of their chariots come off so that they had difficulty driving. And the Egyptians said, ‘Let’s get away from the Israelites! The Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.’ (Exodus 14:24-25) Glory, honour, power and might were ascribed to Him and not to Moses who led the Children of Israel.
The rich fool
Our Lord Jesus told a parable about the rich fool who was happy with the yield of his crops. He failed to recognise the hand of God as the source; instead he indulged in self-praise. “What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grains and my goods. And I will say to myself, ‘You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” (Luke 12: 17-20) Who has given us the power to create wealth but God? Who should we give credit to therefore for all our accomplishments?
Herod’s instant death.
King Herod claimed to be God publicly as he was preparing to deliver a public address to the people. The meeting was convened to resolve a conflict between himself and the people of Tyre and Sidon. Seated on his throne, he was bold to utter these words conceitedly: “This is the voice of a god, not of a man.’ “Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.” (Acts 12:22-23) For failing to give honour and glory to the One who is Almighty and not acknowledge His power over the deeds of men, God struck him dead.
These instances cited above are vivid examples of God’s attributes which cannot be taken away from Him. He alone deserves all the honour, glory and praise. As we acknowledge Him daily, as we give Him thanks for His accomplishments in our lives, He will continue to bless us and moreover cover us with His mighty right hand.
While Jesus, the Messiah, lived on this earth, He mirrored God’s glory wherever He trod, everywhere He went and in all of His accomplishments. He recognised His Father as His Source – daily He tapped for strength in His presence by giving thanks. All glory belongs to the LORD!.
“Ascribe to the LORD, O mighty ones, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to His name; worship the LORD in the splendour of His holiness.” (Psalm 29:1-2)