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Written by Tim Keller, from his book: Walking with God through Pain and Suffering

“The glory of God means what can be called his infinite beyondness. He is not a “tame” God, a God at hand. He is not someone you can always figure out, or expect to figure out. This is a God beyond our comprehension, and it is one of the aspects of the biblical God that modern people dislike the most. We are always saying, “I can’t believe in a God who would do this” or “I can’t believe in a God who would judge people.” One of the things this may mean is that we don’t want a glorious God, one beyond our comprehension.

The glory of God also means his supreme importance. The Hebrew word for “glory” is kabod, which means “weight”―literally God’s weightiness. Fortunately, we have an English word that has the same lexical range and that functions in the same way―it is the word matter. Matter means “as opposed to the immaterial, something solid, something substantial,” but it can also mean “importance.” And therefore, when the Bible says that God is glorious, it means he should matter, and does matter, more than anything else or anyone else. And if anything matters to you more than God, you are not acknowledging his glory. You are giving glory to something else.

When J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy was published in the 1950s, a woman name Rhoda Beare wrote Tolkien and asked him about the chapter in which the Ring of Power is destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom. When the ring is melted, the Dark Lord’s entire power collapses and melts away with it. She found it inexplicable that this unassailable, overwhelming power would be wiped out by the erasure of such a little object. Tolkien replied that at the heart of the plot was the Dark Lord’s effort to magnify and maximize his power by placing so much of it in the ring. He wrote: “The Ring of Sauron is only one of the various mythical treatments of the placing of one’s life, or power, in some external object, which is thus exposed to capture or destruction with disastrous results to oneself.”

Tolkien means something like this: It is one thing to love somebody and get a lot of joy out of the relationship. But if that person breaks up with you and you want to kill yourself, it means you have given that person too much glory, too much weight in your life. You may have said in your heart, “If that person loves me, then I know I am somebody.” But if that person then takes the relationship away, you collapse and melt down because you have ascribed more glory and honour to him or her than to God. If anything matters more to you than God, you are placing yourself and your heart into something external. Only if you make God matter the most―which means only if you glorify him and give him the glory―will you have a safe life”.

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” Psalm 19:1. In all things, let us give God the glory and honour due to his name. Have a great week!


Chris Eke