“Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking”. Ezekiel 1:28
I have read this verse a hundred times over and wonder if I have ever truly experienced the glory of God.
Ezekiel’s response to the glory of God is to fall on his face. He saw the glory multiple times and fell over each time. Isaiah shouted out, “Woe is me! For I am undone…” (Isaiah 6:5) In Revelation 1:17, John falls to the ground as if dead. Even the people of Israel trembled in fear as they saw the flashes of lightning at the top of the mountain of God. To come face to face with the glory of God is to see a physical manifestation of his holiness, his uniqueness, and his transcendent separation from anything in creation. He is something that you have never seen before and will never see again. In complete irony, when you do see his glory again, it is as if you are seeing it for the first time.
There can only be one reaction: a total unraveling of self for the revelation of who God is, is the revelation of who you’re not!
Here’s a my list of some appropriate responses:
- Reverence and Awe
I have to ask if maybe we think too much of ourselves. There’s a problem with self-esteem. Aside from the fact that all our lives we’ve been told to be yourself and to love yourself, we are told to seek fortune, fame, and beauty.
The problem with this type of self-worth is that comes from pride. Worst of all, it tries to compete with the worthiness of God. It’s like Charles Spurgeon writes, “The moment we glorify ourselves, since there is room for one glory only in the universe, we set ourselves up as rivals to the Most High”.  There is room for fear, shame, guilt and sorrow in the life of a Christian. To bring glory to God is to be brought down low. It is to realize that you are nothing and he is everything.
However, low self-esteem is not the answer. You would just end up with the high self-esteem crowd. While people with high self-esteem have the ability to affirm and puff themselves up, a person with low self-esteem will seek out people to affirm them in unhealthy ways. This too is pride. The answer is finding your worth in giving God the glory. We can never have any worth apart from God because he is the one who created us. He was the one who purchased us at a great price.
The more we live in the presence of God the more we should reflect the glory of God. This is why Moses had to veil his face after talking with God on the mountain. The glory of God was exuding out of him after his time in the presence of God. Furthermore, beholding the glory of God should mean the death of us because our sinful state. The very Cherubim who are sinless creatures know to cover their bodies with their wings, how much more we who have been born into sin? The only way to approach the glory of God is with holiness. As we continue to live in the Spirit we will experience a change in our inmost parts to reflect the glory of God. It’s time we learn to cover ourselves “so that no human being might boast (or glory) in the presence of God” (1 Corinthians 1:29).
If you read Ezekiel 1 carefully, you will realize that what Ezekiel was seeing was Jesus. Jesus is the glory of God! He was the likeness that sat on the throne. Hebrews 1:3-4, “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.”
The fullness of God’s glory was once veiled in the humanity of Christ. In the Mount of Transfiguration, Peter, James and John saw a miniscule unveiling of the glory. This glorious revelation pointed to the deity of Christ. Jesus is God.
This vision of the chariot of God is not just a likeness of the glory of God but also a visualization of the mercy seat of God. The cherubim guard the way to the one who sits on the throne. He is the one who shed His blood and died so that we can make our way back to God. His throne is a throne of holiness, justice and righteousness but also of grace and mercy. The cherubim show us the way into His presence but they do not allow man in his sin to approach the presence of God. The profane must not reach the holiness of God.
Many believe the cherubim keep people away from the presence of God. But in reality, the cherubim guard the way to God. This is why we see them in the book of Revelation (Revelation 4:6-8), the mercy seat on the Ark of the Covenant, the Tabernacle and in many of the decorations in the Temple of Solomon. We also find them at the entrance to the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:24). As Adam and Eve leave the garden, they wear the skins of a slain animal, a symbol of blood sacrifice as atonement for their sins. (The same is seen before the Ark and the Temple.) One day we would return to Eden because of the perfect blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The only way to approach God is through the blood! The cherubim are a sign of the goodness of God. We will not be banished forever.
Pastor David Wilkerson once wrote, “The apostle Paul understood well the purpose and effect of seeing the glory of God. He saw it as power to change the beholder — to revolutionize the life of every follower of Christ. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass [mirror] the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Paul is telling us, “Once you get this revelation of God’s glory — of his love, mercy, grace, long-suffering and readiness to forgive — the Holy Spirit will continually open your eyes to more of these aspects of his nature and character. You’ll have an ever-increasing revelation of God, in the way he wants to be known to you!” 
There can only be one response to the Glory…
“Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness.” Psalms 115:1
- Can you add to my list of appropriate responses to seeing the glory of God?
- Why do you think it’s hard for us to find our self-worth only in God?